The smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies wafted from the kitchen, making mouths water. Hand-made Christmas cards were opened with delight by family receiving them. There was no turkey or pumpkin pie – instead, there was a cookie-decorating station for one family, a banana split station for others. That’s what Christmas in July looks like at Matthew’s House!
When the pandemic robbed families of the opportunity to gather last December, staff did their best to make that time special. But they were already thinking ahead to what could be done when it was possible to have families gather together again.
“We knew that we wanted to do something that would be special,” says manager, Leila Thiessen. “When the opportunity arrived, we started brainstorming and came up with this creative mix of Christmas and summer.”
Having Christmas 7 months later than usual made it all the more special for families. Being able to be together with their children after a year of mostly virtual or through-the-window visits made this gathering so special. Alexander, Austin, and Jadacey loved it too.
Jadacey’s mom, Kelly, said that it had been so hard for her not to be with Jadacey at Christmas last year, so celebrating in summer was a welcome event.
“I loved having a July Christmas. It was very special for all of us and one to remember and talk about in the years to come.” – Kelly, Jadacey’s mom
Seeing families together and celebrating was special for staff at Matthew’s House too.
“We just wanted to try and recapture some of what’s been missed in this past year,” Leila says. “It was just so awesome to see families together again.”