For 15 years, the Driftwood Mall has invited community members to decorate Christmas trees which are displayed in the mall concourse and auctioned off to support YANA Comox Valley.
Local businesses, families, and individuals get creative with these uniquely themed trees that celebrate the spirit of community giving. Auction winners take home a decorated tree, complete with gifts, and the proceeds help local families who need to travel for the medical care of a child under 19 or pregnant mother.
This Driftwood Mall tradition is a much anticipated holiday event.
“We’re always excited to see which businesses participate and how the trees look.” Says shopper, Katie Faith. “For the last couple of years we have bid on a tree and donated it to a local family, we love that we’re supporting YANA at the same time. It’s a great way to give twice”
The Comox Valley airport is sponsoring a tree for the second year in a row. Last year’s tree, aptly named ‘the Gift of Flight’ garnered a winning bid of $2,500. Driftwood Mall businesses are big supporters of this event, London Drugs, Quality Foods, and the Driftwood Lotto Center will be decorating again this year.
Among the annual favourites is a tree donated by the Chalifoux/Buschomb family, with hand painted gourds that celebrate a unique theme each year. Home Depot uses the colour orange to create its seasonal tree which this year comes with an electric hearth and stockings to hang on it. A weekend getaway at the Kingfisher that incudes a hydropath visit and some stocking stuffers from the spa is a must see!
“Mackenzie Gartside always does a rainbow themed tree with amazing gifts,” says Faith, adding, “But there’s an ‘Elf on the Shelf’ tree from the Comox Valley Business Network that I’ll be bidding on this year.”
With over 25 trees to view and bid on, it’s a great place for families to stop and have some fun deciding on their favourite.
“This is such a neat event to attend,” says YANA President, Judy Cryer. “We are so grateful to the Driftwood Mall and all the wonderful businesses and individuals who donate these beautiful trees every year. We’re thrilled to be the beneficiary of such generosity.”
Viewing and bidding starts Saturday, November 21st and goes until Saturday, December 5th at 9pm. Winners take home their amazing trees on Sunday, December 6th.
In 1997 Sandra Williams, founder of YANA, approached Mark Dalziel of Comox Valley Pawnbrokers about donating a piece of jewellery to help raise money to assist Comox Valley families who needed to travel for the medical care of a child. He didn’t hesitate and 18 years later Dalziel, a.k.a. Mark the Gold Guy, is still ‘bringing the bling’ to YANA.
As a teenager Dalziel grew up next door to the Williams family. When their daughter, Roberta, became ill and spent months in Vancouver for treatment, he saw first hand what that can mean for a family. “The most important thing for a child in that situation is having their parents by their side,” he says, “That is what home means to them.”
For almost 20 years YANA has welcomed the holiday season by making and selling Christmas Crackers. Each cracker is lovingly handcrafted by volunteers and filled with fun prizes. 50 crackers have special prizes, including one with a grand prize. This year Dalziel has donated a diamond ring appraised at $4,545 as the grand prize for this holiday tradition.
Christmas crackers go on sale Thursday, November 19th for $3 each and can be purchased at the YANA office at 495 Fitzgerald and at the following locations:
– Driftwood Mall Christmas Tree Display, Courtenay
– Driftwood Dental, Cliffe Ave., Courtenay
– BCAA, Cliffe Ave., Courtenay
– First Insurance, 8th Street, Courtenay
– Edible Island, 6th Street, Courtenay
– F.D. Interiors, 5th Street, Courtenay
– Blush Salon, 5th Street, Courtenay
– Driftwood Dental, Cliffe Ave., Courtenay
– Coastal Community Credit Union (all branches), 4th Street, Ryan Rd., Comox Ave.
– Harbourview Dental, Comox Ave., Comox
– Comox Recreation Centre, Noel Ave., Comox
– Arizona Gift Gallery, Comox Mall
– 40 Knots Winery, Anderton Rd., Comox
– Seeds Market, Dunsmuir at 3rd Street, Cumberland
– First Credit Union, Dun smuir Rd., Cumberland
– Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, Comox Valley, 3607 Small Road
– Charles Dickens Christmas Craft Faire at the Florence Filberg Centre Nov 13-15
– Christmas at the Filberg Heritage Lodge & Park Craft Fair Nov 28 only
These Comox Valley favourites sell out long before Christmas, so don’t miss out!
Please note that day time cracker crafting drop-in sessions are wrapped up for this year. We are nearly done making 5,000 Christmas crackers thanks to a great community response. Scheduled evening sessions are full and will proceed as planned. Thank you to everyone who is helping with this annual tradition.
Although most of us may not be thinking of the holidays just yet, You Are Not Alone (YANA) is gearing up for its annual Christmas fundraiser and they need the community’s help.
YANA’s Christmas cracker campaign raises funds to help Comox Valley families who must travel for the medical care of a child under 19 or an expecting mother.
The popular crackers will go on sale mid-November, but YANA needs volunteers to help make the 5,000 crackers starting Oct. 13.
“We have been making Christmas crackers for almost 20 years now,” says YANA president, Judy Cryer. “We are so fortunate that we have so many volunteers who come out to lend a hand.”
“It’s a really fun time to be in the YANA office,” adds coordinator Lesley Hunter. “Everybody has a good time and you meet new people; it’s very festive.”
While most of the crackers feature the traditional coloured hat, quote and toy, 50 of them will include special prizes and one will include the grand prize, a diamond ring, donated by Mark the Gold Guy at Comox Valley Pawnbrokers, with an appraised value of $4,545! The crackers will be sold at various businesses, and at the YANA office starting in November.
Volunteers can drop-in from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during October and into early November, depending on need. Cracker-making sessions take place at the YANA office at 495 Fitzgerald Ave. in Courtenay.
This is a volunteer opportunity best suited for adults and seniors.
Hunter is looking forward to the next few weeks of crafting and notes the crackers are “a Christmas tradition” in the Valley, and she looks forward to meeting new volunteers who want to keep this tradition of compassion alive.