More Christmas cheer and holiday decorations can be found within the walls of one special house in Lake Cowichan than all of Victoria’s busiest streets during the Christmas season.
Santa would even be overwhelmed by the vast array of decorations that adorn the Lions Christmas House in Lake Cowichan. In fact, the Christmas House is akin to a haunted house display on Halloween but instead of goblins and monsters, visitors get a healthy dose of Christmas trees, stockings, stars, angels, nativity scenes, snowmen, Santa and his elves, reindeer and sleds.
The house is Eileen Pilkington’s, one of Lake Cowichan’s active Lions members.
“Everything we use is Christmas-oriented,” she said.
It’s the sixth consecutive year Pilkington has hosted the Christmas House. Starting in September, along with her daughter, Brenda Cadieaux and various other Lions volunteers, they begin assembling, sorting and organizing a plethora of Christmas decorations. All in all, Pilkington estimates her and her Lions crew spend upwards of 2,000 hours putting the Lions Christmas House together.
Pilkington has a love for Christmas that is matched by few. Every square inch of her residence is covered with Christmas decorations. From the front yard, to Pilkington’s living room, hallways, basement, porch, right down to her bathroom — absolutely everything is Christmas-themed. Children in attendance likely had not seen that many Santas in one place their entire lives.
In one room, Pilkington has three miniature Christmas trees dedicated to the memory of her late husband, Sam. She said it was her daughter, Brenda Cadieaux’s idea to keep the memory of her father alive. Each tree is differently decorated, portraying aspects of Sam’s life.
“That was Brenda’s memory of her dad. She needed something to keep in memory of him,” said Pilkington.
The tallest tree is dedicated to Sam’s four years overseas during World War II, the second honours his charity work and the third symbolizes his love for crafting things. Cadieaux thinks it’s a fun way to demonstrate her father’s passion for Christmas.
“It’s my way of having my dad here at Christmas time. Although he’s here with me every day it’s nice to do because Christmas was really special to him,” said Cadieaux.
Pilkington’s tour of the Christmas House concludes with a stroll down Candy Cane Lane (formerly Pilkington’s porch) to an area in the back of her house where she fed and watered visitors with Christmas snacks. Admission to the Christmas House was by donation for the Lions.
Despite the sheer festive beauty of the Christmas House, Pilkington noted that her house did not see as many children as it usually sees during the Christmas season.
Pilkington encourages families to bring their children by over the break but advises to schedule beforehand. Call Pilkington at 749-3345 to RSVP.