The Civic Theatre’s Jason Asbell plays Santa during a past holiday event. Photo: Submitted

The Civic Theatre’s Jason Asbell plays Santa during a past holiday event. Photo: Submitted

Celebrate the holidays at The Civic Theatre

Eleanor Stacey writes about the theatre’s holiday event Dec. 18

by Eleanor Stacey

As we approach the holiday season, at The Civic, we are busy. I have to admit that usually this time of year feels a little overwhelming, with our AGM, big new releases, the end of the school year and many events and deadlines all happening at the same time. But given just how little we were able to do in person last year, I’m more excited than usual about the stuff on our calendar in the next couple of weeks.

One of my favourite Civic Theatre events is Home for the Holidays. When we designed this event back in 2014, I thought about the magic of the holiday season when I was a kid — the familiarity of songs about Santa and snow, the seasonal films that only showed up in Christmas specials on TV, the magical visits to the mall to meet Santa, and the wonder of just how he got all those presents to all those kids around the world in just one night.

The name “Home for the Holidays Celebration of Family and Friends” channeled later years too, when Nelson grads who had gone off to university and other worldly experiences after high school would come home (and still do!) for the winter break. I remember the anticipation of seeing friends who were back from other places and learning what new things we’d all experienced, while sharing the familiar comfort of being home. It was also always so wonderful to be with our families for a while, and a welcome break to have the luxury of home-cooked meals and familiarity of the usual sounds in our parents’ houses while we were visiting.

This year, being home for the holidays with family and friends has a deep and renewed resonance. Being able to gather together and be with the people we care about for the holiday season feels like a new and precious luxury this year, and something not to take for granted or to experience lightly. It’s a hard time for many people too, who have felt losses this year or who remember loved ones who have been gone longer. Poet Edith Sitwell once wrote, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” This is what The Civic’s Home for the Holidays seeks to be — an event inviting us all to enjoy the holiday season together.

While our online version of our holiday gathering in 2020 was a fantastic event given pandemic restrictions, we are so pleased to finally be able to welcome our community back to The Civic Theatre’s annual Home for the Holidays Winter Celebration of Family and Friends on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m., sponsored generously by Spilker McNally Tucker. Join us in person for a free family film, prizes, a live-streamed cartoon drawing lesson for kids with animator Nathan Affolter (bring your sketchbooks and a pencil!), and a visit from Santa Claus and another very special guest (you’ll have to come to find out!). Guests who bring a donation (cash or in kind) for the Nelson Community Food Centre will receive a free mini popcorn.

After all, this is the time for comfort, good food and warmth, friends, family, and a time for home. Join us to celebrate the season together.

Eleanor Stacey is the executive director of Nelson Civic Theatre Society, which runs The Civic Theatre and Reo’s Video.