Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton holds up a glass Christmas pickle ornament

Getting into a pickle a good thing in Colwood at Christmas

West Shore residents share their unique Christmas traditions

Christmas comes in all shapes and sizes.

Some celebrate, some don’t, but some families have their own unique traditions and that take the traditional family dinner and turn it on its head. In the case of the family of Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton, they turn it on its pickle.

“There is actually a glass pickle decoration and the deal is you hide it in the tree, and the person who finds it in the tree, gets a special gift,” she said. “It’s a hide and go seek kind of deal come Christmas morning. (Whomever) finds the pickle, gets the pickle prize.”

Hamilton said it was a version of the more well known Elf on the Shelf, and has been participating with her children as long as she can remember. She said it wasn’t just about the spoils that came with the winner.

“The kids enjoyed that growing up and it wasn’t about the gift, it was the challenge of finding the pickle,” she said. “I will keep (the tradition) up and pass it along, buying pickles for (future generations) so they can start their own pickle traditions.”

West Shore resident Bill McIlroy said his family started off giving each other gifts, but said their came a point when they didn’t need anything anymore. They eventually moved on to a $10 secret Santa gift exchange, but even that didn’t last long.

“A few years ago, our grandchildren decided that they had enough as well, so we started “adopting” a penguin or polar bear, by making a donation to the World Wildlife Fund,” he said.

“My grandchildren are vegan, so about three years ago, we made a donation through World Vision to donate five fruit trees to a family in Africa. We will do something like this again this year.”

Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop spent many a Christmas’ working dispatch. These days she is no longer on dispatch and her children are grown up, so the Metchosin resident doesn’t decorate or worry about Christmas at home.

Instead she participates in new holiday activities at the fire hall replacing a handful of holiday activities that no longer work.

“This year we are going to bring everyone to the fire hall with a breakfast with Santa for free,” Dunlop said. “He will be there with crafts for the kids and they can still get a candy cane.”

Another activity this year will see the team decorating 25 trucks for a Christmas light parade through Metchosin.

Former View Royal mayor Graham Hill doesn’t have any new traditions, but reminisced on those from years past. At one point he said his church choir would receive a list of shut-ins that were homebound due to chronic or short-term illnesses. With the addresses in hand, they would map out a route and see them all for a song.

“I like to sing and we used to go to different houses of shut-ins… and the church choir would celebrate and give them a carol just for them,” he said. “(We) would wish them the season’s blessings and go home and listen to the Messiah being played. It was our pleasure, an uplift.”

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