It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . at least in one location in downtown Langley.
The stockings have been hung with care, the tree is decorated and lit, the decorations are being put up and the windows will soon be painted with winter scenes as Langley’s Christmas Bureau gets ready to open its doors at the former Coast Capital building at 20550 Fraser Highway on Nov. 1.
The long-standing Christmas charity that makes sure all kids get a visit from Santa will begin accepting donations of toys, gift certificates and money on Nov. 1. Thursday is also the day they will start taking applications from parents who want to make sure their kids enjoy everything about this special holiday.
“We had 200 new families register last year so the need continues to grow,” said Leigh Castron, Bureau co-ordinator.
Last year, the volunteer-run bureau helped 793 Langley families and 1,800 kids.
There were more Township families registered last year than City residents, said Jim McGregor who has co-chaired at the bureau for a number of years. Last week, volunteers were busy getting the building ready.
Langley Secondary’s football team did some heavy lifting, bringing in tables and toys.
Murray Piper, a retired Telus employee, was setting up the phone lines.
He has volunteered for nine years. Jim Bug also dropped by to talk about updating the website he built for the bureau for free.
In fact, more than 75 volunteer elves make the bureau run like a well-oiled North Pole.
Parents looking to register in Aldergrove can do so starting Nov. 7, at the Horse Council of B.C., 27336 Fraser Hwy. That office will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will be three toy days (Dec. 18-20) where, with help from volunteer elves, parents can come to the bureau and pick out toys for their children.
Each child is also given a new, quality book courtesy of the Wrap-A-Read program put on by Langley Literacy.
A tradition that spans a long length of time, the Gifts Tree will go up at Willowbrook Mall on Nov. 30.
“We had a guy come by with his four-year-old son last year and he said he remembers his parents bringing him to the tree to donate a gift. That’s why he brought his son,” said McGregor.
“It’s nice to see it had lasting meaning for him.”
The tree has always been hugely popular, said McGregor.
Despite the increase in need, sponsorship of families was down last year, said Castron. They are hoping that will change this year.
Already 16 people have registered online to sponsor a family.
Each year, the Christmas Bureau matches up sponsors with one or more registered families.
The sponsor then hand-delivers a food hamper and gifts for the children.
If you would like to sponsor a family or donate go directly to the bureau or go online to langleychristmasbureau.com.