On Friday, December 15, 2023, NIȽ TU,O celebrated the holiday season by hosting a party for children and their caregivers.

(Shown above, children being handed gifts by NIȽ TU,O elves)

NIȽ TU,O parties are often unforgettable affairs, loaded with food and gifts, that provide the opportunity to join together and strengthen bonds through laughter and celebration. This year’s Christmas event was no different, bringing children in continuing NIȽ TU,O care, their families, caregiver families, families accessing services, and adolescents accessing services together with NIȽ TU,O staff to partake in dinner, gifts, games, and merriment.

(Shown above, some of the gift baskets presented to families in attendance)

In preparation for the Christmas party, dozens of team members collaborated to plan the event which included renting the space, organizing the menu and food distribution, collecting gifts, making gift baskets, and planning activities to ensure a memorable time for all 80 people in attendance. Ultimately, NIȽ TU,O managed to transform the Tsawout gym into a Christmas-themed wonderland complete with inflatable Christmas decorations and a beautiful tree. 

Once the guests arrived, they had the opportunity to participate in any number of festive activities, from decorating sugar cookies and making ornaments to taking photos in a Christmas-themed photo booth, complete with holiday costumes and props. All the while, a youth filled the hall with music, impressively singing a range of traditional and obscure holiday songs.

(Shown above, NIȽ TU,O staff serving the Christmas feast) 

Dinner – a sumptuous turkey meal prepared by Auntie Rose and served by NIȽ TU,O staff – was no less festive from beginning to end. To start, someone from each table had to sing a Christmas carol to allow their table to go up to the buffet and serve themselves. Then, once the meal was served, Santa, his elves, and the Grinch himself appeared to pass out gifts for every single child in care. By the end, all were sent home with plenty of delicious leftovers and warm holiday memories.

(Shown above, NIȽ TU,O Santa and his elves, preparing to hand out gifts)

The Christmas party is a much anticipated yearly event for children and families to connect, celebrate, and enjoy the spirit of the season. 

(Shown above, community members creating arts & crafts with NIȽ TU,O staff)

This year, the entire NIȽ TU,O office worked together to create and distribute over 70 Christmas Hampers. Each hamper was stocked full of holiday food and goodies, including a turkey, ham, vegetables, chocolates, a 2024 wall calendar, day planners for all youth ages 10 and over, and full stockings for each child in the home. The NIȽ TU,O team delivered hampers to all seven communities on December 20th, 2023, just in time to plan a delicious Christmas dinner.

The annual Christmas party is usually the biggest gathering of the year, but it certainly is not the only one – NIȽ TU,O also hosts regular caregiver dinners, where food and child care are provided for attendees and a guest speaker is also present to provide information and support on topics on caregiving. Other past topics have included traditional food, land-based teachings, and traditional plant and medicine knowledge.

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