Kamloops Christmas House saved by neighbours and friends - InfoNews

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Kamloops Christmas House saved by neighbours and friends

Bernie Crawford (left) helped Louise Edwards (right) with her epic christmas decorations this year at 607 Pine St. The candy cane tree can be seen between the two.
December 25, 2016 - 9:30 AM

KAMLOOPS - The Christmas House on 6 Avenue and Pine Street in Kamloops wasn’t going to be quite the same this year until some neighbours stepped in to help out.

Louise Edwards has been decorating the heritage house at 607 Pine St. for nearly 40 years, but this year it wasn’t going to be the same as she has been under the weather, and her husband Ron is fighting brain cancer.

“This year, it was like a nightmare, like ‘how do I get all this done?’” she says. “This is all coming down the pike yet the world is still happening.”

However, when her neighbours heard about her situation they decided to step in and help with everything from wreaths to the candy cane tree.

“I said to Bernie, my neighbour, I said what the hell am I going to do?” Edwards says. “And she said, ‘We’re on, we’re in, what do you need?’”

Bernie Crawford says she and her sister Mary Ann Dauk have spent hundreds of hours helping build wreaths and set up decorations.

“We wanted to give back a little bit and help out," Crawford says.

The sisters, both now retired aren’t the only ones who chipped into help. Two of Crawford’s sisters-in-law helped out putting together decorations like Christmas wreaths and lighting a tree.

Some of the christmas wreaths built by Bernie Crawford's sister-in-law at 607 Pine St.
Some of the christmas wreaths built by Bernie Crawford's sister-in-law at 607 Pine St.

It’s not just Crawford’s family though; another nearby neighbour has helped out this year as well. Robert Baxter works at the New Life Mission and has been over to the Edwards' house repeatedly, setting up six trees.

Justin Schweitz is a weekend driver for the Kamloops Food Bank where Edwards volunteers five days a week. He offered to help after spotting a Santa decoration in Edwards' car at the food bank.

“He happened to be loading boxes for me,” she says. “And he said ‘Oh the Santa would look so good at the place on 6th and Pine. It’s a gorgeous place and it’s decorated every year,’ and I didn’t say nothing.”

After he told her a bit more about how great the decorations were, she let him know it was her house.

“He goes ‘Well, it’s right on the corner of sixth, oh you know that place, everyone knows that place,’” she says. “And I goes ‘Yeah, yeah probably do. I live there.’

“The look on his face,” she says. “And he says ‘Can I help you then?’”

The candy cane tree has provided an after school treat to neighbourhood children for over 30 years on the porch of 607 Pine St.
The candy cane tree has provided an after school treat to neighbourhood children for over 30 years on the porch of 607 Pine St.

Schweiz was astudent at the nearby Lloyd George Elementary more than a decade ago and regularly came by to visit Edwards’s candy cane tree, a Christmas tree on her front porch covered in decorations and candy canes free for kids to grab. Edwards gave him a fitting job.

“So I said well you know what’s happening this year? You’re doing the tree,” she says. “And he said I’d love to, I’d love to.”

Edwards says she goes through hundreds of candy canes each year.

As a registered clinical councillor who worked with emergency services and in cell blocks, she puts effort into how the Christmas lights look, to try to evoke feelings and hope.

“There has to be a feel to it, it’s not just slapping lights up,” she says.

The lights at night at 607 Pine St.
The lights at night at 607 Pine St.

She says emergency service people and police officers have stopped by and spoken to her, talking about about how the lights help brighten their day and that speaks to her as much as anything. She’s also had feedback from people at the nearby seniors home Ponderosa Lodge, with staff saying seniors look forward to the lights and are concerned if they aren’t up in time.

Edwards is glad the community appreciates the effort, especially with the time and effort she puts in.

“I think if you add the take down and then repairing and then putting them back up again, you’re looking at eight months of the year,” she says. “People think that I’m funded. Nobody funds my decorations, nobody funds my hydro and sure as hell, if I have to hire someone, no one pays that bill.”

This year though, a bit of help went a long way.

"I have a fabulous neighbourhood," Edwards says.

In addition to the lights, decorations at 607 Pine St. includes a large model village underneath hedges and on the porch.
In addition to the lights, decorations at 607 Pine St. includes a large model village underneath hedges and on the porch.

— This story was changed at 7:40 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016 to correct Lousie Edwards current status as a registered clinical councillor, Justin Schweitz's employment and include Robert Baxter. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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