Though for most people, the majority of holiday planning commences after Remembrance Day, a few time-honoured traditions start a little early, by necessity.
Baking Christmas cakes in October to begin the biweekly cycle of drowning them in brandy; getting an early start on holiday shopping to avoid the mall hordes; and ordering the yearly assortment of vibrant poinsettias that will grace tables and mantels alike throughout the season.
And as with the best parts of the holiday season, there’s a way to give back to the community while checking off your to-do list.
The Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary is taking orders for their “Poinsettias 4 Patients” flower arrangements from now until next Friday (Nov. 14), raising funds to purchase a state-of-the-art electric stretcher for VGH’s emergency department.
“(Island Health) has a budget for buying equipment,” says Auxiliary secretary, Margot Hogg. “They look at all the requests from all the departments and they figure out what they can afford. Then they send us a wish list.”
This year the goal is to raise $12,000. “The important thing about this stretcher is it’s electric,” Hogg says. “You can change the position of the patient just by pushing a button, and it just makes it a lot easier for the staff in a lot of ways, as well as being much more comfortable for the patient.”
This year’s goal was influenced by the drive to help as many people as possible, she says. “(VGH) is the trauma centre for the whole Island, and most of us will end up in the emergency room at some point, so we thought this was something that could serve a lot of people.”
Coinciding with the last day of planter orders, the Auxiliary’s annual “Christmas Chaos” sale happens next Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the VGH lecture hall, room S263, just opposite Tim Hortons.
There will be a “new and nearly new” table, silent auction items, quilted creations, home baking, BeadforLife jewelry, local wool products and photography.
The poinsettias can be ordered online at vgha.ca, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the VGH gift shop until Nov. 14. Free delivery available for bulk business orders. For more information on the Auxiliary group, call 250-598-3385.