Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Getting in the Christmas Spirit
My Rare One and I spent four days last week volunteering at the Festival of Trees here in Edmonton, which raises about a million bucks annually to buy extra medical equipment for our University Hospital. Many other Canadian cities also hold these Festivals for similar purposes and they are all a terrific way to get in the Christmas spirit!
The Festival of Trees is Christmas on steroids, full of beautiful and/or whimsically decorated trees, gingerbread houses, seasonal things to buy, seasonal things to eat, a non-stop entertainment stage featuring every kids' choir and dance school in the city, galas for the adults in the evening, activities galore for the kids. And of course Santa, Santa, SANTA!
I worked on the volunteer reception team, signing in volunteers for their shifts, handing out name tags, blinky pins, Santa hats and bottles of water, giving each volunteer a quick orientation and doing some of the paperwork necessary for them and the database to work smoothly. Approximately two thousand Edmonton volunteers are necessary to create and run the Festival every year.
My Rare One helped the team which wrangles the Festival mascot "Dr. Deer." No, she didn't have to wear the mascot suit. But I know she wanted to!
Inside the mascot suit is a succession of young, healthy teenagers. The wranglers have to make sure the teen is well hydrated beforehand by drinking lots of water, then get him or her into the suit (they cannot dress themselves), make sure the suit's interior head fan is working and put frozen ice-packs in strategically placed inner pockets. Wearing that suit is hot as hell. After each teen's short shift walking around the Festival, interacting with adoring kids, posing for photos, etc., they come out of the suit dripping with sweat. The wranglers then have to get the next volunteer in "the other suit" (the dry one kept in reserve) and then air out and dry the wet suit for the volunteer after that to wear. It's an endless cycle!
But I guess the discomfort is worth it for the volunteers -- Dr. Deer is the STAR of the Festival! Second only to Santa himself, of course. Being Dr. Deer is one of the most coveted volunteer positions.
If there's a Festival of Trees in your city, I urge you to go to it and spend a few bucks to support a worthy cause, all while having a megaton of Christmas fun!
[Photos taken by My Rare One, Nov 29 to Dec 2, 2018]