By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
Sunny South News asked local municipal councillors and local town staff for a few comments on Christmas, the holiday season and the New Year. The following are a few comments and thoughts on the season.
Town of Coaldale Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kalen Hastings said the holiday season is a wonderful time in Coaldale.
“It provides us with the opportunity to take a step back from our day to day schedules and enjoy time with family, friends and neighbours. My wish for this season for all our residents is health and happiness, as we end 2016 and begin a New Year,” he said.
Hastings jokingly said his personal resolution for the New Year is to get buff and watch the Seattle Seahawks win another Super Bowl.
Town of Coaldale Coun. Bill Chapman said he and his wife Deb are grateful for the opportunities to share their time and energies in the community where the couple lives, works and plays.
“Looking ahead into 2017, it will be a very busy year with a couple of major resolutions. We will be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1. It is also a municipal election year. In October, I am looking forward to asking for your blessing in service to our community,” Chapman said.
“From our home to yours, Deb and I would like to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and the best for the season,” he added.
Jack Van Rijn, a Town of Coaldale councillor, said he would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy New Year.
“What a great year we have had here in Coaldale. This past year has been a year of many accomplishments, considering the economic times we find ourselves in. I would also like to extend a big thank you to our town staff for the hard work they put in throughout the year. We are very fortunate to call ourselves a team,” said Van Rijn.
“So, as we celebrate this holiday season, I hope we will continue to spend time with family and friends. Let us take this time to reflect and count our blessings. The greatest gift we could exchange this season is to serve one another. May I ask you all to remember your neighbours at this time of year, especially the elderly and those who live alone,” Van Rijn added.
Van Rijn also wanted to send out his best wishes to those sick at home or in the hospital this Christmas.
“I wish you a speedy recovery. To all who are spending Christmas away from home this year, but who may be reading this message by means of an online subscription to our local paper, I would like to extend Christmas greetings from our home town — Coaldale,” he noted.
“From my family, we wish your family all the love and blessings of the season. We look forward with anticipation to another great year in 2017 for the community we call home — Coaldale,” added Van Rijn.
Coaldale Coun. Jacen Abrey said at this time of year it makes him reflect on the value of family.
“May you have the joy and happiness of spending the Christmas season with family and friends. From my family to yours have a safe holiday season,” Abrey said.
Town of Picture Butte Coun. Teresa Feist and her husband David said they would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a safe holiday to all.
“Here’s wishing 2017 — to see inspiration for all to achieve those dreams and goals and to make us stronger individuals to help deal with every situation in our lives and to be grateful for what we do have, as each day comes in the the New Year,” Feist said.
Picture Butte Coun. Joe Watson said years ago his son’s teacher asked the kids to bring to school any Christmas traditions that their family held.
“We filled two pages. My wife begins planning our Christmas season events; it seems like, in September. Everything from house decorations to special meals to church services are all mapped out. She does everything she can to make Christmas special for everyone. I just tag along and enjoy. No doubt about it Christmas is a unique time of year for all who observe it. I always try to remember the people and animals who are not as fortunate as I am and try to help in my own little way,” Watson explained.
Watson added his New Year’s resolution is the same every year.
“Smile and say hello to everyone you meet. You never know, you might just make someone’s day and it costs nothing. Merry Christmas from my house to your house,” said Watson.
Picture Butte Mayor Wendy Jones explained Christmas with her family has always been a special time of the year filled with traditions.
“We are blessed to have many family, friends and neighbours who gather with us throughout the season to share in those holiday traditions. In unpacking the Christmas decorations, I came across a poem my mother put in her gift baskets every year, along with her much-loved Friendship Cake,” Jones said, adding the recipe included greetings, smiles, giggles and silliness, love, handshakes and a warm bowl of fun memories from Christmases past.
“Every year at this time we gather — neighbours, friends and family — to partake in the traditions, memories and goodness that comes from the compassion of this holiday season. May we stockpile the memories and good feelings, so we can spread that generosity of spirit throughout the year,” Jones added.
As Lethbridge County residents celebrate this holiday season, Jones said her wish for each resident is to have a joyous time and safe travels to wherever holiday plans take residents of Picture Butte and abroad.
“Let us use this time of the season to reflect on the many blessings in our lives and share those blessings with others. The greatest gift we can exchange is to be of service to our neighbours, friends and family. Please remember those in our community who could use a helping hand during the holiday season, especially our senior citizens and those living alone,” she noted.
This year has passed quickly and again residents are at Father Time’s doorway to greet the New Year, Jones added.
“The past year was filled with community spirit and we all have vivid memories of times with family, friends and neighbours — our treasured family traditions. We have had an event-filled year for the Town of Picture Butte and its residents and we all look forward to another year of building on our already strong, viable community,” Jones said.
Sunny South News would also like to take this time to wish readers the very best this holiday season.
May Santa be good to you and may you be able to bring hapiness to all during the holidays. May 2017 be the best year yet for all Lethbridge County residents, southern Albertans and those abroad.