Christmas Presence

Because sometimes, the greatest gift we can give (or receive) has nothing to do with stuff.

April Cooper

In my home town we did something called adopt a family for Christmas. I was hoping to try to get it started in Tumbler Ridge but fell short of time, so I and some others who would like to remain anonymous decided we would choose one family and proceed.

Adopt a family for Christmas entails supplying presents for all members of the family a tree and full Christmas dinner and snacks. We have purchased presents for all children and with some help from some local businesses a pretty nice present was donated for the parents also.

We had a budget to do this and because we received a little help from our friends we will also be able to supply this family New Year’s dinner.

I would like to try and make this a Christmas tradition in Tumbler Ridge next year, where families struggling would submit their name and get adopted for Christmas. This  combined with the angel tree and the food bank should really help make Christmas happen for all.

Merry Christmas and all the best in 2016 from the Coopers and friends.


Steve and Farrah McGraw

Hi. This is a little story of what my wife and I did last Christmas.

We were heading to Alaska for the holidays and had to fly out from Prince George. After we had dinner the night before we had to fly out we were driving back to the hotel and seen a homeless elderly lady standing in the cold. It was about -20 or so and we felt bad so went by Tim Hortons to get her a hot tea and warm sandwich, but by time we got back to where we had seen her, she was already gone.

We drove around for 30 minutes trying to find her and never did that night, we felt bad. BUT when we came back from Alaska guess who we saw! It was her again, and this time closer to Tim Hortons. We ripped by there quick got here a full meal and she was so happy and almost cried when we brought it to her, she said ‘God bless you’ and we were finally happy we made that happen.

We find that if you do a good deed one day it will return to you again another day. Might do that again this Xmas just in Grande Prairie this time.

Happy holidays!


Deanna Cazes

I was already five when my newborn brother came home from hospital. Seeing him asleep, swaddled in a blanket first thought was that he was disappointingly small and not at all the ‘playmate’ I had been promised.

Becoming a playmate certainly did not happen when he was around four or five  either as we shared the backseat on family holiday road trips. Bored into arguing and punching like most siblings, we experienced the Long Arm of Dad blindly reaching backward, madly flailing around hoping to hit someone.  In our case, I was always “old enough to know better”, which just proved that brothers are a bother.

I readily admit there were good brother-sister years and we enjoyed many happy family times, but until we moved from Victoria to Prince Rupert just before Christmas one year, my brother and I moved in different circles, given our age.

It was the Prince Rupert housing shortage that made all the difference in our relationship. At the time we moved there, the only accommodation available was a two-bedroom suite in the Elizabeth Apartments. I had just turned 16. My brother was now 11.  We would be required to share a bedroom, very personal space. What a disaster, I thought!  As things turned out, it was the saving grace for me. Entering grade ten midway through the year in the new school, I did not find one single friendship  that entire year. That was when my little brother, Brian, with whom I thought I had nothing in common, became my lifesaver and my best friend.

On weekends when our folks went out, we would get into our jammies and settle cozily in our beds with a bowl of popcorn between us.  No arguing no punching, just happily chatting and  munching and sharing our thoughts and reading our books. I found that he had viewpoints worth listening to and a great sense of humour. The next year I did find friends, but that wonderful brother-sister relationship continues to be strong to this day.

When I left home for university I was unprepared for the immensity and anonymity of UBC.  The campus was like a city and had a student population of 15,000; the same size as Prince Rupert! The adjustment to an independent life in dorms and on campus was much harder than I expected it to be. I missed home.

Back in Prince Rupert that year, Brian got a job delivering the Prince Rupert Daily News door to door as well as delivering the Star Weekly magazine on Saturdays. That year the Star Weekly was offering a trip to Vancouver as the grand prize for the carrier who got the most new subscribers.  Brian won the trip! His extra motivation to enter the contest was to see me. What an honour. What an incredible gesture of love.

He was booked into the Vancouver Hotel for a weekend of events with winners from other towns and cities around British Columbia. I shall never forget how good it felt that year, far away from home, to have my brother come and see me. I have a photo of us walking together which was snapped by the photographer who used to photograph passersby on Granville Street.

I look back in gratitude, thanking God for loving supportive parents and for my dear brother Brian with whom I shared a room as a teenager and who was and continues to be a blessing.


Chantal Bowerman

There is a secret Santa in town who wishes to remain anonymous. She has opened her heart and her wallet to buy toys for families in need. There are so many families that we know that are struggling but are too proud to come forward for help.

These are the families she wanted to help. She has adopted ten kids and a family in need. They will not know where the gifts came from as I will be delivering them to their door closer to Christmas. The thought of putting a smile on these children’s faces this Christmas warms her heart and she is teaching her kids to give back instead of receive.

We are all struggling one way or another. This is a community that comes together and cares for one another. It’s sad to see the pain and worry in people’s eyes these days. So proud to be a part of a community that cares….

It’s that time of year again…. Time to trim the tree, hang lights and decorations and the realization that there are only six weeks left until Christmas starts to sink in. Sheer panic ensues trying to make sure parents, grandparents, friends and children all have that perfect gift under the tree. However, this year is going to be different for so many families in TR. This town and the families in it have come upon hard times over the last year and a half, and the stress on our community shows.

In the eight years I’ve had the privilege in calling TR home, I have been humbled by the sense of community. Always smiling, caring, helping friends, neighbors and strangers alike. We come together and stand together and make this community a home to be proud of. However, with all the stress and struggles wearing on our friends, neighbors and families those smiles have faded. Faces now worn with worry and despair flood this community we call home. It’s a sad reality for our little town and the families that struggle within it.

So as we worry and stress about Christmas and the amount under our trees, remember this. Your children, friends and family will not remember what was opened or how much money it cost ten years from now, but they will remember the time spent. Take time to decorate crafts with your children, make gifts, bake, share a meal with someone you love, smile at passersby, knock on a neighbors door to sing carols with your children. These are the moments they cherish in the long run, not what’s under the tree. We are all struggling, some more than others. So let’s do like TR does, and come together this holiday season. We are all having tough times, let’s get through them together and continue to strengthen this  community. Remember, a smile and kind words go a long way.

Wishing everyone a safe and stress free holiday season. Happy holidays TR.

I myself have received a blessing from an anonymous donor. Being a giver and not a taker it’s hard for us to ask for or accept help. However, struggling with layoffs and financial difficulties we were unable to enroll our youngest daughter in preschool and she loves preschool. She is going to kindergarten next year and all her friends were going to three-day-a-week preschool. She was so excited when the first day of school came around for her sisters who attend TRSS and TRES.

Unfortunately I had to tell her she wasn’t going to school. She was so sad and it broke my heart disappointing her. However the finances just weren’t there. When I informed the school that her spot could be given to another child on the wait list, that she wouldn’t be attending because we couldn’t afford it. I was brought to tears when she said anonymous donors came forward to pay for Tiana’s preschool tuition. I was unaware of who stepped forward and was unable to thank them for the amazing gift they gave my daughter.

Today as I think about their generosity it brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart. To whomever you are, please know from the bottom of my heart how much we appreciate what you have done for our family. Our daughter has enjoyed spending time with her friends, learning and playing. She loves school so much. Words cannot describe how thankful we are for this amazing blessing.

The Bowerman family.


Nick Ostashek

Many of our Tumbler Ridge senior citizens, me included, quite often sit around the coffee shop tables discussing important world, government and local, matters. Quite often these discussions lead to answers to all the things we find are not done correctly. Politicians, town employees, etc. are usually found to be doing a poor job. We, of course, get everything right. Today, in the spirit of the season,

I would like to make the following complimentary comment about a couple of local employees, who go above and beyond what is expected of them. Our local garbage truck employees, one male and the other female, who take the time, after emptying garbage bins set out by seniors, take them up the driveway and set them at the comer of the home so that they do not get blown away in the wind. Thank you for your service. Merry Christmas.