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Mayor and alderman share their Christmas traditions

By: Matt Durnan and Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Dec 26, 2013 06:00 am

Airdrie City council members look back on how they have celebrated Christmas with their friends and family throughout the years.
Airdrie City council members look back on how they have celebrated Christmas with their friends and family throughout the years.
FILE PHOTO/Rocky View Publishing

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Peter Brown:

“I’ve done the southern trips and the ski trips in the mountains, but I think my favourite tradition is just being in the company of family and friends.

I always make sure to get out in the community while I’m taking my dog for a walk, making sure to say hi to everyone.

My family opens our gifts on Christmas morning, then we go over to Centre Street Church to serve lunch for people.

Family is really priority one for me, I don’t even mind it when my mother-in-law comes to visit around the holidays.”

Candice Kolson:

“Our big tradition from when I was a little kid is we always make perogies and cabbage rolls just before Christmas.

We’re not Ukrainian but we always get together and make perogies. Of course we do new pajamas on Christmas Eve and the kids get to open a gift, which is something I have carried on with my kids. About a week before Christmas, we drive around town and check out everybody’s Christmas lights while drinking hot chocolate.

We did get the Elf on the Shelf this year, who came to stay with us, and it just made it magical.”

Allan Hunter:

“We always reach out in many ways to those less fortunate than us.

We do it in a variety of ways like the Salvation Army, we always ring the bells for them, but then there are spontaneous things that always come up and never cease to amaze me.

Last year, just prior to Christmas we heard of a family who had lost their father and we were able to help them out in their time of need.

The spirit of Christmas is about giving and helping others, we understand there is heartache but we want to help.

The feeling we get as a family being able to take some of our abundance and share with someone less fortunate is heartwarming and wonderful.”

Kelly Hegg:

“As a teen, it was always a tradition to go skating on the Bowness Lagoon on Christmas Eve and then go to church.

As I grew up and started a family of my own, we’ve developed some of our own traditions.

We always open a gift on Christmas Eve and it’s usually pajamas.

Our family is really big on stocking stuffers because we like to travel at Christmas at least every other year, so it’s easier to travel with the smaller and more personal gifts.

When we’re home though, I always barbecue a turkey no matter the weather, and maybe even crack out a cigar while I’m doing it.

For me the process is just as good, if not better than actually eating. the turkey dinner”

Ron Chapman:

“I always spend Christmas with my immediate family, my kids and my grandkids.

We always find a way to make it work so that all of us can be together, and this year we’ll actually be celebrating our Christmas on New Year’s Eve.

Stocking stuffers are a tradition that’s carried on from when I was a kid when we’d always get a comic book wrapped around a few mandarin oranges.

In my house now though, I take great pride in cooking dinner. I love cooking a big meal, and my only stipulation is that I don’t have to clean up afterwards.

I grade my entire meal on my gravy, I make it all from scratch, nothing out of a package, and if the gravy doesn’t turn out, I don’t consider the meal a success, but so far I haven’t had any complaints.”

Fred Burley:

“Every year for the last 30 years we’ve ordered Chinese food on Christmas Eve and for the last five years, my family and I have been volunteering at the Town and Country Centre and helping serve their Christmas dinner on Christmas Day.

After we do that we always go to the movie theatre and see a few movies.

On Boxing Day, we all drive out to Canmore for our big family get-together and I’m always the guy in charge of desserts.

This year, I made 65 dozen cookies and 11 different varieties. Every year, I change up the types of cookies I make; we’ll bring my wife’s favourite and mine and then mix in some different recipes.

It’s really nice to get out of town for a bit and just kick back and relax for a few days, we have family game nights while we’re there where we all take turns poking fun at each other, it’s a lot of fun.”

Darrell Belyk:

“My children and grandchildren all come over to our house on Christmas Eve and spend the night at our place so we all wake up and spend Christmas Day together.

On Boxing Day, we go in to my parents’ house and we always leave our tree up through until Ukrainian Christmas (Jan. 7) because I am Ukrainian.

We try our best to do the traditional Ukrainian dinner with perogies, but we don’t make them from scratch, we just do the store bought ones.

My wife does most of the cooking, I’m more responsible for the eating part of the meal.

When I was growing up we used to hang stockings but we never filled them with gifts.

My wife brought in the tradition of filling stockings for the kids so they would all have something to open and to look at while we were waking up on Christmas morning.”


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