Christmas in the Valley (by Carol Patterson)
If you’d rather fight snowballs than crowds and not have to shoehorn your car into a crowded parking lot, Christmas in the Columbia valley may be your reward for being a good girl or boy this year.
Snow in the valley frosts evergreen forests and cabin roofs; holiday lights twinkle from light posts and shop windows. Sunset comes earlier but there is plenty of time to head outdoors for a walk, ski or skate. The slower pace of the valley lets you slip into the Christmas spirit without stress and make new holiday memories with family.
If you need something to tuck into a Christmas stocking head to valley stores offering artisan crafts such as Bavin Glassworks, the Artym Gallery, or Fairmont’s Galeria II gift shop. If you want edibles for gift giving check out Konig Meat and Sausage Company where they make many of the products for sale or make the journey to Spillimacheen’s Beeland for sauces, salsas, and honey from bees that buzz over Jubilee Mountain.
You can also look for help from Santa who makes his first appearance in the valley in November at the Santa Claus day parade. He might also be spotted on the back of the CP Holiday Train the evening of December 13 when Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Band stop for a Christmas concert.
Stretch your holiday dollars by taking advantage of special packages such as the Ski Stay Soak packages in the Village of Radium Hot Springs. Copper Point Resort offers marshmallow roasting, a Christmas light tour, and Breakfast with the Snow Princess for their Christmas guests
If you are staying in a hotel room or don’t want to cook Christmas dinner several valley establishments can take care of the food and clean-up. Fairmont Hot Springs Resort offers Christmas Day brunch and dinner buffets, and a Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade. Panorama Resort Executive Chef Daniel Goldsmith offers a three-course Christmas Day feast but book early.
Decorate your home away from home and buy a fresh Christmas tree at Invermere’s Home Hardware or Sobeys but for more adventure fetch your own tree. Back in the day the Columbia Valley was home to Christmas tree farms. The farms are gone now but you can still get your own ‘wild’ tree if you have a permit and go to areas where harvesting is permitted.
Regardless of what you do or where you lay your head while in the valley, Santa is sure to know you’ve been nice and deliver a wonderful Christmas holiday for you!