As much as retired couple Doug and Dawn Woods enjoy each other's company, they feel the desire to share the festive season with outsiders.
With most of their immediate family living in Alberta or back east, the Woods found themselves with just two places to set for dinner on Christmas Day.
So, as they have done for the last two years, the couple opened up the doors of their east Richmond home and invited people from the community who were new to the tradition and the country itself.
"There was only eight at the table this year, previous years we've had more than a dozen," said Doug, a support staffer and substitute ESL teacher at First Church of the Nazarene in Vancouver.
"There was a woman from Sri Lanka and another from Russia, both from the ESL classes."
Dawn, being a volunteer ESL teacher, comes into contact with many new immigrants, some with little or no contacts in the city.
And for many of them, Christmas is a completely new experience.
"We wanted to extend our hospitality to these people and show them a typical Canadian Christmas," added Doug, explaining that they entertained their guests this year with the lighting of advent candles, a Christmas puzzle and a Christmas movie.
"Last year, we had an exchange professor from China, who had never experienced turkey. He said he never knew there so many turkeys in Canada."
Together, the couple, of Greenland Drive, has hosted students from many countries, including China, Sri Lanka and Russia throughout the years.
"The tendency at Christmas is to become inward focused, and spend time with family. And that is good.
But people who do not have those connections, we need to reach out to them, extend hospitality and make them feel at home, and be inclusive."
- With a file from GlobalBC
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