The Christmas Haven is again opening its doors on Christmas Eve this Saturday to anyone who wants to come by, so no one has to be alone that night.
The doors open into the lobby of the Arts Centre Theatre in downtown Maple Ridge at 6 p.m. and the festivities go until 9 p.m. – but don’t wait until then if you want some of the traditional Christmas dinner with all the fixings.
The last sitting for the dinner is at 7:30 p.m. with entertainment following after.
“We’re ready to go and ready for the event and all the new guests and returning guests – just having a fun evening for sure,” said Alyson Cuthbertson, chair of the haven committee.
The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries is providing the turkey dinner with all the fixings, and there will be live entertainment, children’s activities and a visit by Santa.
Last year, 290 people showed up at the event. About the same number is expected this year.
Christmas Haven started in 1998 by volunteers who wanted to help people with little or no support in the community.
It’s that committee of volunteers that make the event happen year after year, said Cuthbertson.
“It is the reason for its continued success. It’s really key and it’s such a fun-loving group.”
This year, there should be lots of home-made knitted tuques, scarves, and sweaters. The committee contacted seniors around Maple Ridge who then got their knitting needles working and created homemade, wool clothing for both adults and kids.
“We’re just in awe right now. It was just really nice,” said Cuthbertson.
“Having the seniors involved, that was really great.”
Cuthbertson said there are about 10 new volunteers this year but the main focus remains on creating an evening for people from all backgrounds to be together.