Herald Homes. December 9, 2016 By Debra Wells Hopey
Grandmothers — they’re known for keeping a first-rate home, making great food and being there when you need some TLC. A stereotype? Perhaps. But one that speaks to the experience of many? Definitely.
A local group of grandmothers (and grand ‘others’) have banded together to offer some care to those far away. The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign is a grassroots organization that supports the Stephen Lewis Foundation, raising funds and awareness to support African grandmothers who have become the caregivers of millions of children orphaned by AIDS.
The local chapter of this group is hosting its annual Fall River Christmas House Tour on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., when the public is invited to view three lovely homes and a quaint country church, all beautifully decorated for Christmas. Tickets are $15, children under 12 are free and all money raised is donated to the campaign to support African grandmothers.
The perfect way to ring in the true spirit of the season, you can begin the tour by visiting an historic little country church, all done up for the holidays. Browse through local crafts for sale, have some free hot cider and cookies and listen to Sean Andrews, a professionally trained theatre performer, as he “sings you into the season.”
Christmases of a simpler time
Once the private chapel of the Laurie family (of Laurie Park fame), Saint Margaret’s Anglican Church at 5639 Hwy #2 in Oakfield also has a rich tradition of serving the local community. This little church just celebrated its 150 birthday, making it older than Canada itself. It’s beautifully decorated for the holidays, and with its quaint entry porch and dark wood interior, rustic lighting features and the scents and sounds of the season, visitors will be taken back to the Christmases of a simpler time.
Whimsical winter wonderland
Nearby is 340 Oakfield Park Road and the houses at 16 and 17 Meadowvale Lane that invite you in to view their versions of a whimsical winter wonderland.
“The three houses and the church are all very close to each other this year, yet all are all quite different,” says Gloria Barter, one of the Grandmothers and an organizer of the home tour.
“Everyone has gone all out, which is so heartwarming. The homeowners do all the decorating themselves so they will be there to answer questions, explain some of the history behind the ornaments and techniques behind the decorating,” says Barter.
“One house has over 60 elves placed in all sorts of interesting places, doing all sorts of things — from baking up some cookies to hanging from the tree.”
Another home has a tree decorated with only Christmas Beanie Bears, and Barter’s house has more than 60 nutcrackers, as well as an Icelandic tree full of Yule Lads, naughty little gnomes from the Icelandic tradition where children place a shoe in their bedroom window for the 13 evenings before Christmas — if the child has been good the Yule Lad leaves a sweet gift or small toy. If they have been not so good? They receive a rotten potato!
Then there are the Newfoundland mummers — such a humourous way to catch the holiday spirit. With numerous Christmas trees, greenery and the personal touches of each particular home, this is a tour that will really get your Christmas engine revving — as well as pull at your holiday heartstrings, as the funds raised go to sub-Saharan African countries, provide grandmothers with things such as food, housing grants, school fees for their grandchildren and grief counselling.
“Almost 15 million children under the age of 18 have been orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. In the middle of all this devastation, it is the grandmothers who have become the unsung heroes,” says Barter. Tickets are available at the venue on the days of the event as well as at the Vegatorium at 2900 Hwy #2, Wellington Bakery and Around the Corner Shop at 4320 Hwy #2, Baxter’s Knitting Studio 5901 Hwy #2, and at It’s Sew Time! in the Elmsdale Business Park.