You can watch 'It’s a Wonderful Life' for free at the Nelson Civic Theatre on December 14.

COLUMN: Take the time to spend time together

Anne DeGrace writes warmly about being fuzzily home for the holidays.

This year, my kids have decided on an “experiential” Christmas. In part, this is because my far-flung adult children will all be together in Nelson for the first time in a long time; it makes sense to want to capitalize on spending time with one another.

The sentiment is lovely: let’s make the focus on doing things together. We’ll take turns deciding: go for a cross-country-ski, bake some nice things to give away — or catch a movie.

In a season of high expectations, it’s all so wonderfully achievable. The Civic Theatre is making it even easier with its Home for the Holidays program, in the theme of warm and fuzzy — a theme after my own heart, all year ’round.

“There are never too many opportunities to come together to celebrate and enjoy family and friends and a feeling of community,” executive director Eleanor Stacey told me.

“The winter holiday season is a great time to remind us all that we feed, support, and fuel each other through our friendship, love, and charity towards one another.”

Sounds warm and fuzzy for sure—but what makes it easy?

Well, for one thing, there’s a warm, fuzzy, and free afternoon event for the whole community to enjoy.

On Sunday, December 14 at 1 p.m. join us for the beautiful film adaptation of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs followed by presentations, games, prizes, and a visit by Santa Claus.

The afternoon closes with the screening of the timeless holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart.

Feel free to come and go throughout the afternoon.

It gets even fuzzier. Bring a non-perishable food item for the Nelson Food Cupboard and exchange it for a free mini-popcorn!

There’s more in this winter celebration of family and friends. Babes in Arms begins December 17, the first of a monthly series aimed at making it easier for parents with young children to see movies at the Civic.

The content will be for grown ups — avoiding scary or violent films, of course — “but the lights will be up a little, the sound down a bit, and stroller parking everywhere we can muster. And if your baby cries, no worries,” Eleanor explained.

Those adult children who’ve gone all experiential on me were once the reason I didn’t go to the movies for a number of years. I’d have loved this! The first Babes in Arms will screen St. Vincent on Wednesday, December 17 at 2 p.m.

Also on December 17 catch the latest film from Freeride entertainment, On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter (motorcycling at its edgiest) at 8 p.m.

Then, catch an early première of The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies at 10 p.m. (this much anticipated film will continue to play until December 31).

So great to have something for the screamers, the footpeg-scrapers, and the Smaug-battlers — all on the same day!

There’s more: On December 31 the Civic will host its first ever All-Ages Family New Year’s Pajama Party.

Wear your favourite fluffy slippers and come out for an evening of family films, entertaining interludes, and a noisy countdown to midnight. Then, take those sleepy young-uns—already conveniently in their pajamas—home to bed.

Can you tell that some of the Civic’s key players have small children?

My family’s experiential Christmas is really just a 21st century name for an old-fashioned but never out-of-fashion phenomenon, taking the time to spend time together. In this world of distances — from kilometers to computer games and other distractions — it’s more important than ever.

So find your loved ones, your buddies, your co-workers or whatever your cohort and go gently, warmly, and fuzzily into that snowy night.

— Anne DeGrace is a past president of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society. For the full Home for the Holidays schedule go to

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