Ahead of this year’s Christmas Light Up in Lumby, students at Charles Bloom Secondary set out to bring a special kind of holiday joy to their community.
It’s called eudaemonia, a word from Greek philosophy that refers to the happiness and flourishing that comes from making deep connections with others.
Charles Bloom Grade 11 student Paige Dyck took an interest in philosophy this year, and with the help of the school’s counsellor, Laura Masini Pieralli, she and some classmates figured out how best to maximize eudaemonia this Christmas.
“I wanted to bring out more connections and more happiness and I really wanted to just make everybody really close again,” said Dyck.
In early November, Dyck went to Lumby’s J.W. Inglis Elementary School along with classmates Julianna Sawatzky, Rushell Lougheed and Grayson Mann. There, they helped the younger kids build wooden ornaments that will be placed on the tree at Light Up.
“To describe (that day), it was just enthusiasm all around,” said Masini Pieralli. “Lots of sparkles, lots of gluing, lots of laughter.”
Attached to each ornament is a tag with a specific gift request from hamper applications at the local food bank. Community members can select an ornament from the tree and commit to buying the requested gift written on the tag. As a token of appreciation, they’ll get to keep the handmade ornament.
When people take a decorated ornament from the tree, it will be replaced by a plain ornament inscribed with their name, letting others know about the gift they’ve given.
“That’s why I call it the angel tree,” said Masini Pieralli. “The angels are the people in the community who have come together to support this – and the kids as well because since they can’t actually buy gifts or fill the request, it’s their way of getting involved in the giving.”
“As soon as I heard about it I wanted to be involved in it because it sounded really interesting, and I really agreed with Paige about trying to get the whole community involved,” said Lougheed, a Grade 12 student.
In all, 177 J.W. Inglis students participated in the making of wooden ornaments, as well as international students and the senior boys’ volleyball team at Charles Bloom. Seniors from Monashee Mews also got involved in making the 200 ornaments.
“All the kids were very excited and happy to make their own ornaments,” said Mann. “They were picking out specific little things and they were making their own designs on the wood cookies. They were just very happy to be a part of something.”
Lumby Light Up takes place on Dec. 1, and 15 Charles Bloom students have volunteered to marshal the event. The tree will remain in the Super A in Lumby until Dec. 16. Once gifts are matched with the tags they’re attached to, they’ll be wrapped by the student leadership group.
“Our goal is to fill every request from the Christmas hamper applications and from the seniors,” said Masini Pieralli.