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Here’s to hoping everyone finds love and joy this Christmas

Deb reminisces about Christmas traditions past and present
The hunt for the best Christmas light displays in Smithers is an annual tradition for Deb’s family. (Deb Meissner photo)

Somewhere around a week before Christmas, my family has always piled in the car — dogs, kids and even dad — turned on Christmas tunes on the radio and head out to pick up hot chocolate and cruise the neighbourhoods to find our favourite Christmas light displays.

Those were such fun and crazy times. The kids would debate, argue, and then agree on the favourites for the night and we would say the display won the “Griswald Award” (from the Christmas Vacation movie).

We laughed, sang along to the holiday tunes and drove around Smithers and sometimes Telkwa in our quest. Rob and I look back with many fond memories of those times with our kids.

This year we loaded up the two dogs and ourselves Sunday night (Dec 18) and made the trip to pick up hot chocolate and cruise. We drove around in -26 degree weather for two hours laughing, admiring the beautifully decorated homes, debating our favourites, the colour combinations that appeal to each of us, and finally narrowed it down to a neighbourhood in which all the homes seemed to have something up.

They had at least all made an effort and some must have been a lot of work, but man they were pretty.

I won’t tell you our favourite house, but I’ll give you a hint and suggest you go out to do the same and enjoy all the hard work people have put into decorating their homes. If you head up toward the Silverking subdivision area, you won’t be disappointed.

As a bonus, around the 8th street area, there were many live deer wandering around the neighbourhood, which made the night even more magical.

I enjoy the traditions of the holidays, always have. As a child, I remember opening one gift on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas morning undoing our stockings first.

We always had an orange and peanuts, wild coloured underwear, a lifesaver book, and small toys such as a slinky.

I do absolutely remember being the recipient of a piece of coal once or twice. We would laugh and watch each other, and then we would have breakfast before presents.

With our kids, we did much the same. We had a gate at the top of our stairs where the kids’ bedrooms were, and we hung bells all over the gate, so if they moved it we knew. As they gathered at the top of the stairs, they would bang that gate and laugh and yell “can we come down?” We would laugh like crazy.

As they became teens, the tables turned and we went upstairs and banged the gate until they got up.

It wasn’t just the traditions that brought me joy, it was the quality time with those we love the most that warm my heart. Our kids now have traditions with their families which I know brings them joy too.

Whatever you do for the holidays, the many different and beautiful traditions of the diverse cultures we have in the valley, I hope they bring you love and joy.

If you are new here, welcome. I hope you find happiness, are welcomed to your new home and urge you to engage in exploring our beautiful valley, join in with groups, and find love and happiness in this beautiful place we all call home.

The hunt for the best Christmas light displays in Smithers is an annual tradition for Deb’s family. (Deb Meissner photo)
The hunt for the best Christmas light displays in Smithers is an annual tradition for Deb’s family. (Deb Meissner photo)