With many adjusting their plans for the holidays to account for COVID-19, John Parry is planning a socially-distant and COVID safe way to celebrate the day up at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
Parry, who has been leading a Christmas Eve service at Heaven’s Yurt for the last 15 or so and was unable to this year, has paid for 250 helium balloons to be brought up to the resort to brighten up everyone’s day.
“I hope people will giggle and have fun and just wish someone else a Merry Christmas,” said Parry.
“I just want people to enjoy party because we haven’t been able to have any parties with COVID, so let’s have a socially distant party.”
Parry got the idea fromhis kids, who organized something similar for his 70th birthday back in February.
He said he woke up that morning, thought to himself it was just some other day, before looking out his window to see 100 people with helium balloons to help him celebrate.
“I cried all day,” admitted Parry.
The joy and surprise he felt is something that he’s hoping he can recreate on Christmas Day for anyone who is up at the resort.
“I know this year for Christmas we can’t can’t celebrate like we normally would, so I thought it would be nice to do something special.”
Parry says that he hopes to spread the balloons out in the parking lot and by the magic carpet, where there tends to be kids.
He also plans to hand them out for people to tie to their helmets so that they ski with a balloon to spread the festive spirit across the mountain.
He’s cleared the project with staff at Kicking Horse and says he’s been told that as long as people are not gathering, everything should be in order. Parry said it’s important to respect masks and social distancing requirements and that this event is to be held to compliment those regulations, not to spite them.
“Hopefully everyone will stay home and stay with their bubbles and open presents together and if they want some fresh air, they’ll come up to the hill and get to enjoy a festive spirit,” said Parry.
“Yes we’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday, but it doesn’t have to be heavy-duty religious – yes it’s a Christian celebration, but it’s more than that, it’s spiritual, it’s cultural.
“Don’t complain about what we can’t do this year, but focus on what we can do instead.”
The most important message for Parry is to stay safe while celebrating and to be sure to observe all provincial health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID, while still keeping the holiday spirit.