Jesse Roper remembers gripping a knotted rope, galloping off a cliff and flinging himself into Matheson Lake.
Every Christmas morning started with a cold swim for the rock’n’roller, who grew up near the lake and biked there on brisk Christmas mornings as a child – he still returns today.
“Matheson Lake every morning to wake myself up. I would try to get my buddies to go, but they didn’t used to go,” he said, laughing. “I rode out there … to a cliff on the far side of the lake. You jump off the rock, reach up a couple knots and it sends you flying out.”
The guitarist, who played Rock the Shores this past summer, says the holidays are a special time for him. The long-time Metchosin resident is even writing an unconventional Christmas song as he looks forward to his traditional dip in the lake.
“Getting a little bit of exercise always creates an appetite and Christmas is about family and eating and this is what it is for me; I like to eat a lot,” he said. “And it’s more spreading love around than presents. Christmas is better than birthdays that way, because it is about everyone (rather) than one person.”
Colwood resident Trudine Wilson, a lifelong Girl Guides leader who has a number of different traditions for the holidays, looks forward to Boxing Day because of a tradition started by her uncle, Win Brown, more than two decades ago.
“He would give me a huge box, and there would be a (wrapped) carrot, an onion, a sweet potato and in the middle was my present,” she said. “My uncle has passed, but my aunty keeps doing it. Now that I’m married, there is a parcel for my husband in there too.”
She never knew what she was going to unwrap, from turnips to potatoes, and appreciates the tradition her uncle asked her aunt Daisy to continue, in the event he wasn’t there.
“He thought it was the greatest thing to see me open it,” Wilson said. “People actually stayed late until I got my box and laughed when I got a carrot and onion, it is a very good part of our family tradition.”
Leading up to Dec. 25, she spends her days doing what she does all year round, raising money for the Girl Guides – she also helps the Langford Legion Ladies Auxiliary.
A year-long push for funds starts with up to eight Girl Guides per shift doing gift wrapping at West Shore Town Centre. Funds raised there help the group pay rent and cover the cost of field trips the rest of the year.
Community is near and dear to the heart of Langford resident Jaime Adams as well. The Bank of Montreal financial advisor sits on the board for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation, but also has a Christmas tradition she hopes will become entrenched in her family.
Adams learned about the Christmas Spirit Community Dinner from a friend who volunteers there. The meal program serves approximately 800 people on Christmas Day and Adams signed up for a 4 to 8 p.m. shift, hoping it will be the first of many for her and her family.
“We are trying to make it an annual event, going down to Glad Tidings Church serving Christmas dinner there for (the) homeless and less fortunate,” she said.
“I’m hoping (our daughters) will be willing to do it as a family. They’re not quite old enough, but in the next coming years we are hoping to do it for the kids to see. It’s eye-opening and makes us realize any problems we have are not really problems at all.”