Tigz Designs will once again host its annual “Santa for Seniors Christmas Tree” program this year, where 90 residents at the Swan Valley Lodge are expected to receive a holiday gift bag through the initiative.
“A lot of residents don’t have family, or family doesn’t come by. That’s why we started it, because there’s so many people there who are lonely,” said Lori Cameron, who co-owns Tigz Designs alongside her husband Bill.
The program was launched in 2017, and the idea is to have community members come into the store and pick a tag — which has a resident’s first name written on it — off the tree displayed at the window front. Picking a tag means donating a gift bag — which is valued at either $15, $20 or $25 — to the resident.
“We put that much worth of product in the bag. Basically, the customer buys the gift-bag items,” said Cameron.
The majority of gift bags contain small gifts, such as a stuffed animal, and a variety of sweets — soft chocolate, candy canes and hot chocolate.
However, Cameron noted that a resident’s dietary restrictions dictate what goes in their bag.
“Some can’t have sugar, some can’t have dairy. There’s all sorts of things. But they all love teddy bears. Most of them love chocolate,” she said.
This year, Cameron said that the tree will go up a week after Remembrance Day.
“It’s something that we love doing every year,” she said.
She praised the community for the generosity that they have displayed through the program over the years.
“The community has been awesome. We’ve had people come in the door with a teddy bear to offer,” she said. “We’ve had people bring Christmas ornaments. One lady brought blankets one year for their laps. It’s heartwarming some of the things that people have done.”
Her favourite part about the initiative, she said, is spreading the holiday cheer.
“They get Christmas. The folks are getting Christmas,” she said.
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