Festive community events this season

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There is no shortage of goodwill across Central Otago as people prepare to host a range of public Christmas Day festivities. Reporter Alexia Johnston caught up with some of those people who are going the extra mile to make sure everyone gets to celebrate this festive season.

Oh come all ye faithful to this year’s annual Alexandra Community Christmas Day barbecue lunch.

The event, which is into its fourth year, will return to the grounds of St Enoch’s Church from noon on Christmas Day.

Event organiser the Rev Andrew Howley is encouraging people from anywhere to join in the festivities, including orchard workers, backpackers, families and people who would otherwise be on their own on Christmas Day.

Mr Howley’s only request is for people to register, if possible, so organisers know how many people to cater for.

In previous years up to 100 people have attended.

“Everyone can come along. All are welcome because Christmas is for everyone,” he said.

This year’s barbecue will feature seating outdoors, but if necessary will be moved indoors.

About 30 people volunteer to help, along with the Alexandra Rotary Club, which provides the bulk of the funding.

Community Advice is taking registrations.

To do that people can visit Community House or phone (03) 448-7771 until the end of tomorrow, or register by visiting alexchurch.org.nz/christmas.

At Maniototo Hospital and rest-home festivities have started early to ensure all residents can celebrate together, before some go to their families on Christmas Day.

Rest-home residents enjoyed a Christmas dinner on Monday, with all the trimmings, followed by a tour of the new hospital being built.

Long-term hospital-level rest-home residents gathered for their Christmas dinner yesterday.

Maniototo Hospital general manager Geoff Foster said a second round of festivities would continue on Christmas Day.

Celebrations have also been taking place in Cromwell, including the 25th Cromwell Lions Senior Citizens Christmas Lunch.

The event, hosted at the Cromwell Sports Club on Sunday, was attended by 95 people, who were treated to a traditional Christmas meal.

“It’s really just about celebrating our senior citizens in our community and recognising the contribution they have made over the years and that they continue to make,” front-of-house convener Greg Wilkinson said.

“As a Lions Club, it’s one of the feel-good projects [we do] each year,” he said.

The team at Teviot Valley Rest Home will be celebrating Christmas with a “rest-home shout” on Friday for family members and people who have assisted throughout the year.

Nurse manager Marian Hamilton said the event would feature a range of festive treats, including carols, Christmas cake and cherries.

Celebrations will continue on Christmas Day for both residents and families who are connected to the rest-home.

“I encourage staff who are working, if they have family sitting at home they come and [join the team] here for Christmas dinner.”