Planning Christmas gifts part II

Planning Christmas gifts part II

HodgePodge, By Charlie Hodge

I admit to a past life of addiction and still carry a few to this day. Thankfully my present day major obsessions tend to be less harmful physically, mentally and spiritually than in my younger years.

For instance my young adult love for cocaine has now been replaced with an almost obsessive compulsive need to wallow in Christmas mode. A fixation with everything frosty, festive, family, friendship and fun.

I’ve always loved the festive season yet the past 20 years or so my enthusiasm for Christmas and anything connected to it has soared back to sure childhood – or better.

I am crazy about the joyful season.

As a child I loved Christmas because of how it brought our family together; more than any other time of the year. I tenderly remember the festive seasons involving a dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Atkinson’s in Penticton on Christmas Eve, followed by our own Christmas dinner the next day at home.

My father turned into a much gentler beast around Christmas and became a surprisingly gracious host – often bringing home at least one stray for Christmas dinner. It was common practice at the Hodge house to have a total stranger sitting at our dining room table for turkey dinner. It’s a tradition I maintained for many years.

It was one of those strangers Dad brought home one Christmas Day that eventually turned my world on its head with a passion for the arts – especially music and live theatre shows.

Old Steve, a grizzled, gnarled, orphanage-raised, 13-year Skid Row resident survivor, trapper, turned Anglican Church Camp caretaker, insisted on taking me to a live presentation of The Messiah.

Old Steve and I remained lifelong pals until his demise. I still try and see the Messiah somewhere every Christmas.

One of the pleasures of writing this column is the platform it avails me to inform readers of neat events or ideas to help enhance their Christmas holidays.

Last week I shared some Okanagan artist’s gift ideas and shows and here are a few more for your consideration…


The very talented and delightful Teena Gowdy is releasing a CD of original Christmas songs tagged Delight, which will be available at two events within the next two weeks. On Saturday, Nov. 27 Gowdy will be at the enjoyable Touch of Christmas Fair at The New Life Centre from 9-4 p.m. The fair is hosted by Hands in Service – a local non-profit organization.

On Dec. 5 Gowdy is hosting a benefit concert for Hands in Service raising awareness and funds for the group. I’m confidently anticipating Gowdy will sing a few of her original festive tunes. Regardless, Gowdy will be selling her new release Delight, her first Christmas album This is Christmas, as well as her children’s CD OK to Say.

For more info contact Teena at:


Here’s a gem. My friend (and huge friend to the Okanagan music scene) Brad Krauza is playing his own solo acoustic set at 97 Street Pub on Dec. 3. This is a rare chance to catch Brad in a lead role all evening. Maybe convince him to play a an original or three.

On Dec. 4 Krauza will shift over to the Cornerstone Grill at the Best Western playing with the always entertaining band Linus. Great fun and worth the jaunt outside folks.

Hearty congrats to Krauza on the anniversary of GO Gonzo Okanagan Online – the brainchild and heart and soul of Krauza. Gonzo is a marvelous online magazine dealing with mainly Okanagan arts and people in an interesting, thought provoking, online magazine genre. Krauza has loaded Gonzo with talented writers and contributors and has a bang up production crew. Make sure and check it out at


The Cornerstone is serious about providing great tunes this season with the pretty voice and pretty face of Kinga on Dec. 18. Take in Kinga Live! A Jazzy Christmas.


Robby Schaefer has a new collection of original recordings. Anything New Under the Sun. I really like Robby’s stuff and know you will too.  Check out his site at or listen on SoundCloud.


Due to COVID-19, the Living Nativity at Willow Park Church will not be held in its outdoor format or magnitude, however there will be a special evening worthy to partake in.

Attend online or in person (439 Hwy.33 ) for the Living Nativity: Worship the King! service. In-Person Service Times:

  • Friday, Dec. 17 – 5:30 pm, 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 18 – 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm, 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, Dec. 19 – 10:30 am, 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm, 7:30 pm

This service is perfect for all ages, so bring your kids! You will need to register to reserve your seat for in-person services.


If shaking it up a bit is more to your liking than my buddy Rann Berry and Random Act will be happy to help you. The boys are playing at the Blue Gator on Dec. 17 and 18 complete with an eight-piece horn section. (Good luck on that tiny stage). That should rock the house good.


Papa Thom/The Elderly Brothers love to play house concerts and you don’t need a big house cause they do intimate real well. More than 200 cover songs and numerous excellent originals, Papa Thom is the ultimate sing-along show. Great person great music. Call 250-870-8891 or 


Jimmy LeGuilloux is alive and kicking with the Hip Replacements and that awesome group will be performing a concert Dec. 4 at the Performing Arts Theatre in Vernon. (I shouldn’t mention that – but hey – it’s Jimmy and it’s the Hip Replacements so…) For a tiny bit more see

Until next week. Be good, Santa is watching.

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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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