It doesn’t take a genius or a psychic reading to realize that Christmas will be scaled back this year, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
Although the holly jolly holiday season of gatherings is limited, St. Albert Kinsmen have found a way to embrace the spirit of Christmas while winning money for charity.
The long-time service organization, known for hosting the Rainmaker Rodeo, invites entries for the inaugural light-up St. Albert Festive Spirit competition. Kinsmen invite any city homeowner or street decorator to submit photos of their outdoor Christmas lights and ornamentation.
“It doesn’t matter who has the biggest house or the most lights. We are looking for creativity and originality, not who spent the most money. It’s who is most creative in giving joy to their neighbours,” said Ian Stephens of the Kinsmen banquet and RV park management committee.
Photo entries are being accepted until Friday, Dec. 18. Judging will occur from Dec. 14 to 18. Winners will be announced prior to Christmas Day.
“This has been going on for a whole year and we’ve been wrestling for things to do for the community. We wanted to support the community in any way we could and we looked for different options,” Stephens said.
“We wanted to come up with something people could enjoy individually or in a cohort and at the same time bring a little bit of joy to the community. We also wanted to remind people that although we may be socially isolated, we are still a community.”
To heighten the competitive spirit, the Kinsmen are offering four prizes. The first-prize winner of the Most Festive Street receives $1,000 and the second prize is $750. These two sums will be donated entirely to the charity of the entrant’s choice.
In the Most Festive Home competition, the first prize is $500 and the second is $250. These two awards are to be split 50/50 between the resident and their charity of choice.
“St. Albert has always been very generous. But because some people have lost their job or their income has dropped, we thought decorating your house and giving the money to a charity of choice would be a different way of making a charitable contribution.”
There are contest rules – for instance, St. Albert Festive Spirit is limited to the city. And to maintain a level playing field, no commercial or professional displays are accepted. However, there are no restrictions on what one can enter.
“We want everybody to join in. You don’t have to win. It can be very satisfying doing something for you and your neighbours. This is an opportunity for people to come up with innovative ideas and spark new ideas."
Competition information is available on the St. Albert Kinsmen Facebook page. Entry submissions can be made to [email protected].