Here at New Life, many people are far away from their home and families. It’s no accident to land here for the holidays. Many people who return here proclaim that this is their second home, and that the friends they have connected with here are like family. On any given day, when people are leaving New Life and giving a farewell speech, there is a common teary eyed comment. “I’ve never felt so at home.” What does that statement mean exactly? Feeling ‘at home’ invites a sense of belonging. Acceptance. Familiarity. Being welcomed. At peace. Comfort. At ease. Who doesn’t want to feel this way? So how can we make it feel even more like home for the holidays? Allow me to make a list, and check it twice. Definitely going to find out whose been naughty, and whose been nice.

Currently, we have turned the dining hall into Santa’s workshop. There are busy little elves running around making decorations. Snippets of bows and ribbons galore litter the recycling bins. Did I mention the card making workshop? What better way to show our gratitude for each other than with a hand-made card. Speaking of hand-made, imagine gifts coming come straight from the heart. Items such as leaf art, drawings, songs and poems are popping up. You know the stress of being broke over the holidays, and possibly disappointing people with minimal gifts? Problem solved!

On Christmas Eve we are showcasing some of New Life’s talents. No talent? No problem! What a better place to make a complete fool of yoursELF. Boy do we have a night of fun in store. There will be the pitch perfect singers. There will be the pitchless. There will be the rock band guitarists; there will be the one strand left hanging ukulele. There will be dancing like no one’s watching and the stand up comedians will be slapsticky. The booze may not be flowing, but the candles will sure be a-glowing!

Hang-over free Christmas morning there will be a gift/card exchange. A great chance to get all warm and fuzzy in our warm and fuzzy pyjamas. There will probably be a roaring fire in the dining hall fire place. Believe it or not, it IS cold here in the mornings. There may very well be someone prancing around in a reindeer outfit – I’m pretty sure I saw a pair of antlers sticking out of someone’s bag on the way home from the town shopping trip. There is no way of predicting just how many big bear hugs will be freely given. Random hug alert! Christmas night will be the grand finale banquet. Suffer free, harm free tofurkey. Kidding! Though we do have quite the vegetarian menu on hand. The community is coming together to make a festive meal fit for kings and queens alike. There will be vegan chocolate balls and sticky rice pudding. Cakes and cookies, and ooey gooey lasagne oh my!

Have we missed anything? How could we make next Christmas feel more like a home away from home? We warmly welcome your ideas, your feedback, and hey better yet – please join us next year! You know what they say – the more the merrier!!! Ho Ho Ho. Happy Holidays from all at New Life.

by Marisha Schaefer

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