Irene Barker will be hosting her first Magical Christmas Open House Fundraiser at her home on Dec. 18 since her husband Douglas died in 2013.
She said she and her husband had held eight consecutive Christmas Open Houses up to 2013, and friends encouraged her to once again display her very large Christmas collection of statues, dolls, carousals and much more that she and Douglas had been collecting for more than 40 years, to the public.
Barker’s house is stuffed to the brim with Christmas material and she has been busy sorting through everything and dedicating rooms with different themes as she prepares for Sunday’s fundraiser, which will he held at 451 Cairnsmore St. in Duncan from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“I want to let other people share what I have, and a lot of the dolls and statues will be up for sale on Sunday as well,” she said.
“I would love to see some of these beautiful things go to other houses and families.”
Barker said the collection began when she and Douglas came across two Christmas dolls that they fell in love with instantly in a store window in downtown Duncan all those decades ago.
The shopkeeper told the couple that the dolls were part of the store’s annual Christmas display and were not for sale.
But after Christmas, the shopkeeper called them and said the store had decided to change its window display the following Christmas and the two dolls were now for sale.
“We were like a couple of kids when we picked them and that was the start of it,” Barker said.
“We started visiting other stores all across the region for years after that and our collection grew and grew. The first two dolls in the collection will not be for sale on Sunday.”
Barker said admittance to the open house is by cash donation of whatever people can give, and the funds raised will go to the Gizeh Shriners community hospital fund and will be used to help any family in the Cowichan Valley who require assistance for medical reasons.