Crofton Seniors Christmas Dinner

It’s a Christmassy Soup Sort of Town

The first winter after we moved to Crofton B.C., a small pulp mill town on the coast, we were invited to the Seniors’ Christmas Dinner. It was to be held at noon at the local community hall and I was expecting small-town-kind-of-lame, get-in and get-out.

It was the event of the year! White table cloths, sparkling wine goblets, Christmas crackers, fresh roses for the women, Santa Claus, live music and turkey with all the trimmings. Everyone was dressed in their best. There were speeches and dancing, the hall was packed and the wine was flowing. This annual event had gone on for years, honouring the towns’ seniors, many of whom had lived and worked there all their lives. We knew we had chosen the right town for our retirement.

I trust Jean and I looked better in our rose-coloured glasses than this model!!

A couple of years later I met another newcomer, the way you randomly do in a small town. Jean Ballard and I discovered a shared love of writing and a fascination for the deep sense of community in our new home and we launched a monthly newspaper column about Crofton for The Chemainus Courier.

Jean took photos, we shared the writing and soon developed a reputation around town. One irritated reader wrote to the paper saying we must be wearing rose-coloured glasses because we even made the ongoing dog poop problem into a funny story. Jean and I bought dollar store rose-coloured glasses, strolled the Sea Walk flaunting them and posted our picture in the paper. Our readers loved it.

And we loved writing about our adopted home. In fact, Jean wrote a love story to Crofton for Our Canada magazine. In her article she referred to Crofton as a chicken soup sort of town. You can read it here.

A Place to Call Home: Welcome to Crofton, B.C. | Our Canada (on

Jean moved away a few years ago and we dropped our column, but she continued with her own blog of nature photos and country hikes and I continued writing my two memoirs, Growing Up Weird: A memoir of an Oak Bay childhood and River Tales: Stories from My Cowichan Years.

Life in Crofton carried on. New people moved in, houses sprung up on the hillsides, the population grew  and seemingly every one, and their dog, walked on the Sea Walk.

Then Covid struck and there were no more Seniors’ Christmas Dinners.

Of course, we still had the Christmas parade, with the fire trucks and floats and hot chocolate and live music at the Warmland Church, but I missed that turkey dinner and the camaraderie of the old timers  who‘s roots stretched back to the early smelter days.

Then this December the Seniors’ Christmas Dinner was back on and it felt Christmassy again. The Crofton Community Centre, that always hosted the Christmas dinner, no longer had their catering crew and were unable to do the whole turkey extravaganza. However they put on a great feast of sandwiches, home baked goodies, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, tuxedo cake and two kinds of punch.  The lunch was hugely successful and I realized it was more about gathering and celebrating than about the food. It felt like old times.

It really is a Christmassy soup sort of town. And yes, I ‘borrowed’ that title idea from my old writing partner, Jean Ballard. 

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Island Crone by Liz Maxwell Forbes


6 thoughts on “It’s a Christmassy Soup Sort of Town

  1. Oh Liz, how I miss that small town camaraderie, and especially the community spirit of Crofton that is demonstrated in many annual events not just at Christmas but throughout the year! We had so much fun writing that column, taking photos, chatting with longterm community members and newcomers. I’m glad the community seniors event is back on – thanks for so many great memories, including that one! Merry Christmas!

    • Jean, i just read this. Thank you for your loving support.I am still finding my way through this blog world. People often ask if we are going to write our column again..It was Liz

  2. Enjoy reading about the history of your monthly column and a strong sense of community in your small mill town.

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