Sweet family tradition

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It certainly looked a lot like Christmas at Kathy and Joe Fraser’s house.

For the 15th year in a row, the Little Harbour couple donned their red and white Mr. and Mrs. Claus costumes, filled their home with all of their grandchildren, and decorated gingerbread houses.

“I used to make my own gingerbread when we only had two grandchildren,” Kathy laughed. Now, the family has grown so she purchases the kits and they all have fun decorating the houses with frosting and brightly coloured candy on a Saturday before Christmas.

“And I only have one rule: For every piece of candy they put on the gingerbread house they have to eat two pieces,” she laughs. The kids enjoy the sweet treats as they decorate, then take the whole enchilada home to enjoy.

The fun began when her oldest two grandchildren were just toddlers. Kathy handmade her own Mrs. Claus costume, got her husband Joe outfitted with a red and white shirt to look like Santa Claus, and made all of the red and white elf shirts for the grandchildren, increasing in number each year as the family grew.

“The kids really look forward to this tradition every year,” Kathy says. The Frasers are also happy to welcome the decorating talents of their great-niece, Brooklyn.

Excitement was especially high this year as the Frasers’ three youngest grandchildren have moved back home from Nunavut. Over the years, Kathy would send those children cookies and they would decorate them while Skyping together, so they were all together decorating. This year, with the move home, it would be the first time in a very long while since they would all be together.

But fate intervened.

Tragedy struck at the end of the October when their oldest grandson, Liam Chisholm, 18, passed away. “He was looking forward to doing the gingerbread houses,” Kathy said.

The mood on gingerbread house decorating day was somber but still somewhat festive, Kathy said. As much as it could be.

“We still had a gingerbread house for Liam and all of the kids played a part in decorating it in his memory.”

This combined effort brightened their spirits as did helping the youngest grandchild, who is only 13 months old, decorate her house. “I had a little tiny house for her and the kids just fussed over her,” Kathy beamed.

While Liam’s physical presence was certainly missed, his spiritual presence was felt by everyone gathered at the table: grandchildren Ethan Fraser, 18; Madelyn Fraser, 12; George Gillis, 13; Jacob Gillis, 12; Danika Gillis, 10; Lachlan Fraser, 5; Duncan Fraser, 4; Scarlet Fraser, 13 months; and great-niece Brooklyn Jimmo, 10.

This event is a tradition in the Fraser household and one Kathy hopes will continue for a very long time.

“I’ll keep doing it as long as I can. I can’t see it stopping in the near future.”


Decorating gimgerbread houses with their grandchildren is a family tradition for Kathy and Joe Fraser of Little Harbour. Pictured with them here are, in no particular order: Ethan Fraser, 18; Madelyn Fraser, 12; George Gillis, 13; Jacob Gillis, 12; Danika Gillis, 10; Lachlan Fraser, 5; Duncan Fraser, 4; Scarlet Fraser, 13 months; and great-niece Brooklyn Jimmo, 10.