Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge – Dec 8, 2017

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Christmas chaos has hit the House of Hodge, which means Tez and I are in our glory. When it comes to Christmas it is difficult to decide which one is more wired or stoked about the annual festive affair. This time of year brings the child in both of us to the forefront.

I absolutely love Christmas and every aspect of it. I suppose with treatment it would be curable; however I am no hurry to seek that sort of assistance. Like other ‘Yulies’ I am content being drenched in Christmas cheer, joyful gatherings of friends and families, non-ending Christmas movies, Christmas carols 24/7, the smell of homemade cookies and treats, and a house stuffed full of lights, tinsels, baubles and bells.

If I had my way Christmas would last at least six weeks. In fact, usually at the Hodge House that’s how long the decorations remain in place.

Due to my recent holiday at KGH this year is the latest we’ve got around to decorating. We have been known to start decorating November 12.

My yuletide addiction goes back as far as my memory, which I chalk up to my parents who also fully embraced the Christmas season. Mom loved life year round and Dad, who was generally a non-nonsense, non-emotional man (except when it came to civic duties) always seem to come alive during the holidays. I think part of my love for Christmas was that I could drop my guard around Dad during the festive season.

As a child Christmas dinner meant a flood of family and friends, and often strangers at our table. Traditionally Dad would find someone who had nowhere to be for Christmas and bring them home for dinner. It is a tradition I have tried to maintain over the years.

While nothing is confirmed Tez and I are already planning our feast. Mother in law Otti will visit from Vancouver as will our forever friend Yves. We are likewise hoping to have Granddaughter Chelsea, boyfriend Sydney and great grandchildren Arya and Stanley at the table. If eight-year old granddaughter Taylor and Daddy Caleb are in town then our house will be gleefully full.

Looks like the planned tiny turkey is now going to be a big one. Good thing we will have help devouring it though since I have yet to figure out how to successfully puree a turkey sandwich. My new titanium jaw and lack of teeth has eliminated chowing down a drumstick. This Christmas I will likely be confined to dressing and mashed potatoes – but I will be thrilled with that – and the grand company.

Regardless, our home will once again soon look like a miniature version of the North Pole as Tez and I decorate every nook and cranny in the house. It gives us tremendous pleasure and the joy it provides for visiting children and adults is a bonus. Our four male kittens quite like it as well – groan.

As I write this I am buried in a monumental myriad of boxes and storage bins stuffed with Christmas decorations waiting allocation. So far only one kitten is dangling from the tree.

Tez and I are gleefully astounded at the amount of Christmas decor we have individually and collectively horded during our lifetime. We have vowed we will not give in and purchase any more trivial yuletide goodies this year – so the question is who will falter first?

Of course another part of our festive fun is taking in the various events around town. Our favourite of which takes place this weekend. Once again Willow Park Church is playing host to their annual Living Nativity event. Scrooge and the Saviour written and directed by David Robinson and Search Light Theatre from the U.K headline the event.

This year, the fun family event takes place on Friday, Dec. 8 with shows at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 pm, Saturday, Dec. 9 at 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 pm and finally on Sunday, Dec. 10 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 pm.
Living Nativity is a four-part interactive event including:

The Bethlehem Petting Zoo. This brilliant idea allows family members to get up close and interact with animals such as goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens. The kids love this!

The Town of Bethlehem. My favourite part, experience the sights and sounds of Bethlehem in the days of Christ. You never know what may happen!
The Great Hall. Walk through magical scenes of Christmas past and enjoy some home-baked cookies and hot drinks. A wonderful way to wrap up a wonderful night.

Best of all the event is free, compliments of the fine folks at Willow Park Church. Willow Park is located at 439 Hwy 33 W. in Rutland.

Tell them an elf named Charlie sent you.

For more visit the website http://www.willowparkchurch.com/living-nativity/

***

A final reminder for readers to submit names of special folks in their life to the Charlie’s Christmas Angels List.

Angels are simply folks who have gone above and beyond to assist or help others. I invite you to send me your list of caring folks who have made a difference in your life or even just one day. Return the kindness by surprising them with a public thank you in the Angel list.

Take a few minutes and email me your names and reasons to charliehodge333@gmail.com

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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