This gingerbread house is among many displays in the yard of Ken and Julia Berry at 42 Country Club Boulevard. Drop by for a viewing and make a donation to help sick children in our community. New displays will be going up each week until Christmas.

This gingerbread house is among many displays in the yard of Ken and Julia Berry at 42 Country Club Boulevard. Drop by for a viewing and make a donation to help sick children in our community. New displays will be going up each week until Christmas.

Christmas House: 14 years giving to local families

A family Christmas tradition that embraced a community continues to support kids and families at 42 Country Club Blvd. in Williams Lake.

A family Christmas tradition that embraced a community continues to support kids and families at 42 Country Club Blvd. in Williams Lake.

The 139 Christmas House is alight with whimsical and entertaining displays that include a penguin ice rink, an elaborate gingerbread house, a Santa tree fort, the 139 Express and a bird house collection box for the 139 Children’s Fundraising Society.

Ken and Julia Berry have been decorating their home for Christmas for 25 years—a tradition that evolved 14 years ago into a unique support for local kids and their families when they need to travel for medical treatment.

The project started with Ken and Julia and their kids, and now includes three ‘Berry’ generations when grandkids are home for the holidays.

The 139 Christmas House has raised $16,000 for local kids, and Ken Berry explained that they’re getting close to their long-time goal of $20,000.

“That first year we hoped to raise $100 but when the bird house collection box went up, we raised nearly $800—what a surprise,” he said, “and the rest is history.”

It’s a constantly evolving project, with fun new displays going up every two weeks from now until the first week of January, and with the bird house beside the sidewalk to collect donations.

“When our kids were 10 and 12 we registered with a local realtors’ Christmas lights tour and really got into it,” Berry continued. “The realtors would judge the displays and announce the winner in the Tribune. We won the first year we entered the contest.”

The family tradition of putting up creative Christmas light displays started when he was a child.

“My dad and I used to decorate the house together. My mom would come home from her job at Woodwards and we would surprise her with a lighted house when she got home,” he noted.

“We carried this on with our own kids; our son got into making log reindeer and it grew from there.”

He said that choosing to support local kids and families when they needed it the most was, really, no choice at all.

“My wife and I were both teachers, and we wanted to be able to help people having difficulties when they needed to get their kids to Vancouver for treatment. We wanted to help take some stress off them and let them just be with their kids.”

Berry already has 70 hours into the 30-thousand-light project.

He said that the lights are on every day from 5 until 11 p.m. with donations welcome in the lighted bird house beside the sidewalk.

Heart-warming highlights on the sidewalk at 42 Country Club include Christmas caroling, wedding proposals, the occasional Santa appearance and a simple social occasion where neighbours and friends stop to visit.

“Our neighbours are very understanding and supportive, tolerating the line-ups of vehicles,” Berry continued.

“They have even sent out hot chocolate to me while I’m working on the displays.

“Come and see the lights and help a child,” he said. “Stop and enjoy the moment—it’s Christmas.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Celebrate women in leadership, March 8, International Women’s Day 2021 (Unsplash)
EDITORIAL: International Women’s Day 2021 shines spotlight on achievements, ongoing inequities

COVID-19 increased gender-based violence, economic stress, the burden of care giving for women

Sierra William (left) with her grandmother Eileen William. (Roger William photo)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Sierra William

Xeni Gwet’in woman finds strength in tradition

Cynthia English (Photo submitted)
INTERNATIONL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Cynthia English

Cynthia English, 30, has been working in the logging industry for several years

Kristy Alphonse Palmantier was crowned Williams Lake Stampede Queen in 1981. She has four children (Jody Palmantier, Davee Palmantier, Julie Doerfling and Sky Moses) as well as four grandchildren including Ace, Chance, Xidi and Ryder who was born last month. Alphonse Palmantier lives in Sugar Cane and in her spare time loves to be out on the land and hunt and fish with her partner CraigHilker. (Kristy Palmantier Facebook photo)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Kristy Alphonse Palmantier

Roots run deep for Kristy Alphonse Palmantier

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read