Every year Amanda and Jesse’s home comes alive with the Christmas spirit as they host an annual Christmas party, bringing together a joyous blend of friends and family. Three years ago the holidays become even more cause for celebration when their first daughter was born on Christmas Day. This year Amanda and Jesse transformed their garage into a Winter Wonderland, complete with dance floor, stage, and of course, Santa Claus.
Alison, Chris, and their kids moved into their newly built home just a couple of months ago; a new space where they are able spend more time together as a family. Although there will most certainly be many Christmases celebrated in this home - with stockings hanging by the fireplace, homemade advent calendars filled with chocolates and little toys, and perhaps the same Yoda ornament with a broken ear - this year their family will be enjoying the very first Christmas morning in their new home.
This Christmas we will have our family over. We are excited to share our home with them and to have space to be together.
On Christmas Eve the kids each open presents from each other. Chris reads "T'was the Night Before Christmas". Then we get set up for Santa and the reindeer. We put out milk and cookies as well as carrots.
Each day we get a different Christmas task to do. Sometimes it is for us, like writing letters to Santa, and sometimes it is for others, like making a food bank donation. Today we're making gingerbread houses.
After opening presents we take Stella for a Christmas day walk.
Our last home was sectioned off. In this new house we can all be together. Christmas is our first big family event here.
The oldest ornament on the tree is a ‘stained glass’ angel that I made in fourth grade.
Every year we do an activity with Grandma Heel. This year we made the Christmas crackers we will use on Christmas day. Each of us made up jokes or riddles that went inside the cracker.
Grandma Sharpe made each of the kids their own advent calendar. Each day we hide a special something inside the pockets.
The best part about Christmas is spending time as a family; no work, just enjoying time.
Long before I took photos at Welcome Parlour and met Ian, the owner, I had enjoyed the ice cream there many times with my wife and two kids. What I didn’t realize, was just how much history exists in the shop. The space itself was once a local bank at a time when men would wear top hats and one-dollar bills existed (look closely at the original wood floors and you can see where people would line up at the tills). Nearly every detail is a reclaimed material or antique, set against a backdrop of a carefully selected photograph showing Lower Lonsdale from yesteryear. I could go on about the one table that used to be a sewing machine, or the gorgeous Italian coffee maker that adorns the counter, but I welcome you to check it out yourself and enjoy a scoop of handmade ice cream (it’s delicious).
Whenever I do a Housestories shoot I am photographing the present - the high-chair next to the wooden table, the art on the fridge, the little commonplace details that make up a home - but in the back of my head I know that there is time in the future when all of these things represent a beautiful distant memory.
Someday Angela and Stuart will see their two children, Asher and Vivian, grow up and become wonderful people, with their own beautiful families, their own careers, their own amazing lives; but there will always be that place in time when Asher would join them in bed on Saturday mornings, and Vivian learned to crawl and discover the world, the precious moments when they were all laughing together during bath time (and the precious moments when both kids were finally in bed).
The present always seems to last forever, but when the future does come, I hope that when they open this album it is beaming with light.
The beautiful thing about homes is that they extend beyond a house. Housestories Canada is excited to bring your the ‘community series’, featuring local businesses that make our communities, wherever that may be, better.
Bridge Brewing opened in North Vancouver in 2012, and since then it has become a staple of the community, expanded its capacity to create more beer-loving goodness, and is proudly a 99% waste-free brewery. If you’re ever in the area, check out the tasting and try the Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale.