A Good Home, Bowmanville, Christmas, Christmas Decorations, Christmas in Canada, Christmas Villages

Welcome to Bennyville, the Christmas Village

Happy Thanksgiving to my American family and friends! Here in Canada, we’re roughly halfway between our Thanksgiving (early October) and Christmas.

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Christmas is still more than 4 weeks away, but don’t tell that to my friends at BOAA.

Blog Photo - BOAA bldg side shot

Christmas decorations are already on display in this grand building in Bowmanville’s heritage district, east of Toronto.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village red house and track

Blog Photo - BOAA Chrsitmas village and bus on road through village

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas Village City Hall lit up

You can’t help smiling when you enter this educational and recreational centre.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas Tree

People are friendly. BOAA also holds many fun events and a surprising number of them involve costumes and decorations!

Blog Photo - BOAA Halloween 2-shot

How many associations can say their executive director (the wonderful, witty Angie Darlison, right) was a taco one year and a chicken the next? Not too many, I’d bet. Angie ensures that a sense of humour is alive and well at BOAA.

BOAA is big on celebrating the seasons and occasions, and its volunteers are some of the best decorators of all.

In November, the Christmas trees go up. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas Hallway

BOAA stands for the Bowmanville Older Adult Association. It’s run by professional staff and avid member-volunteers.  Its members are very active people 55 years and older. They’re usually on their way to or from classes and activities held at the centre.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village gazebo

But when the Christmas village is set out on huge tables in the building’s original front hall, many linger for a while, smiling.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village admirer

It’s been at least 8 years since “Bennyville” became a BOAA tradition. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village church

“Benny Young is a member of the BOAA and the entire village is his,” says Angie. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village and road

“When Benny moved to Bowmanville from Nova Scotia he offered to set it up each year at the BOAA for our members and guests to enjoy. He works days and days setting up the village.” 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village buildings and people

Angie says some members bring their family and friends to see it. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village santa on roof

“It’s amazing to be in the office, listening to the folks enjoying the village. They look for the bank, the lawyer, the town hall … and of course the older adult centre.   

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village train and water tank

“The addition of the train a few years ago took some getting used to but we’ve grown to love its sound now too.”

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village carriage and horse

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village buildings and truck

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village at one end

As for me, I am one of those lingering as long as possible. I feel like a small child every time I stop to look. I always think they fit perfectly with the grand old family mansion that became the home of BOAA.Blog Photo - BOAA Historical Bldg

Blog Photo - BOAA Chrsitmas tree 2

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p.s. BOAA is holding a book-signing next Tuesday for Myrtle the Purple Turtle and me. I’m very much looking forward to it! 

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A Good Home, Amaryllis in Bloom, Canadian Families, Canadian life, Christmas, Flowers

Time for Something Cheerful

Friends:

As you may know by now, I love sharing cheerful posts, especially in challenging times. So here’s one, with pictures provided by the wonderful Hamlin Grange.

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First, you may recall that I save our Amaryllis bulbs each year, hoping to get them blooming again at Christmas. Amaryllis are a Christmas tradition in this part of the world.

Blog Photo - Amaryllis Blooms CU1

The trick is to cut the flower stem off after blooming, and allow the plant to keep growing in its container. Take it outside in the spring, and only stop watering in late summer. Then I shake the soil off the roots, and store the bulbs in a big paper bag in the cold cellar.  

But – once again — I forgot all about them. Till late June. And discovered they were growing — in a peculiar colour.

Husband and I planted the alien creatures right away in a big ugly container …

Blog Photo - White Amaryllis 2 - July 2017

Blog Photo - White Amaryllis 4 - July 2017

… and hoped that beautiful changes would take place. 

Blog Photo - Amaryllis Blooms 4 - July 2017

Blog Photo - Amaryllis Blooms 3 - July 2016

And here is the outcome: Christmas in July.

Blog Photo - Amaryllis Blooms 3 - July 2017

Blog Photo - Amaryllis Blooms 2 - July 2016

Whoever said “better late than never” was not thinking of this, I’m sure. But after the 3 weeks just past, these flowers are such a cheerful sight, we wanted to share them with you.

Take care of yourselves, all of you. Thanks also for your kind wishes. I’m not back to form yet, but speaking more clearly today, moving around a little and taking no risks. The new cast is providing more support, the sun is shining, and my family and friends have been wonderfully kind. I’m thankful for every blessing.

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Photos by Hamlin Grange.

ps: Some photos are mistakenly labelled 2016. Pls. ignore.

A Good Home, Books, Children's Books, Christmas, Young Adult Books

Giftish Books/Bookish Gifts

I chose these books because there’s an attractive freshness to them. They’re also mainly Canadian.

Jim’s Star, by Paul Nicholas Mason. A collection of stories with a Christmas theme, this small book is an affordable Christmas gift or stocking stuffer. Set in places such as small-town Ontario, Canada and Zimbabwe, these stories are charmingly written. Great for reading alone or to an audience.

Awakening in the Northwest Territories, by Alastair Henry. A man with a restless spirit, a failed marriage, and a yearning for meaning, finds himself working with the Dene people of Canada’s north. A refreshingly frank and personal book about Alastair’s awakening to other ways of living.

Blog Photo Awakening

Alone: A Winter in the Woods by Felicity Sidnell-Reid and illustrator Jirina Marton.  I love this book. Adults and adolescents will find the story harrowing, gripping and a great read. A 13-year old boy finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness during a brutal winter and makes friends with an Indigenous boy his own age. A story of survival, set in 1797,  it’s a compelling and beautifully written book, by Sidnell-Reid with images by Marton who won the Governor General’s Award for Illustration in 2009.

Blog Photo Alone

Oldenglen, by Robin Mason and Michael Mason. Yes, Canada’s exceptionally creative Mason family has been prolific this year.  Robin, a lawyer and father of three, wrote this book with his father, 91-year old Michael. An adventure-filled story for young people, this absorbing novel is the first of a 3-part fantasy series. Oldenglen is set in the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A.

Blog Photo Oldenglen

A Journey Just Begun, by the Sisterhood of St. John The Divine. If you’ve read my book A Good Home, or my feature story in Arabella Magazine, you’ll know that this unusual Anglican Sisterhood is a very special order: women of various backgrounds – interesting, creative, well-educated – who have dedicated their lives to God and the service of others.  A Journey Just Begun tells their story in text and photos – from building and running a prominent rehabilitation hospital, to offering many activities, including monastic hospitality to individuals and groups. Author Jane Christmas and Sister Constance Joanna Gefvert, the first nun from this order to become a priest, are the editors and lead writers.

Blog Photo A Journey Just Begun

A Family Christmas, A Good Home, Christmas, Christmas in Canada

A PERFECTLY IMPERFECT CHRISTMAS

Tiny Perfect Christmas Tree

The tree’s too small and tends to fall

The angel’s tattered most of all

The lights don’t work, the garlands drop

But in this home it’s Christmas.

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Photo by H. Grange

The Christmas gifts aren’t quite wrapped yet

The puppy peed, the floor got wet

(That smell we sniffed was a sure bet)

But in this home, it’s Christmas.

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Blog Photo - Winter Garden

The snow outside is fluffy and bright

The turkey’s cooked and it’s done right

The baked ham glistens in candlelight

And in this home, it’s Christmas.

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Blog Photo - Christmas Table

This house has seen a hundred years

Of laughter, hopes and even tears

Of festive times and warmth and grace

And joy and peace at Christmas.

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We wish you warmth, we wish you love

Peace landing gently as a dove

We wish you rest, we wish you joy

In your good home, this Christmas.

Selfie Ornament
Ornament Selfie

Poem Written by Cynthia Reyes, December 2013.

All photos by Hamlin Grange.