There’s something very special and unique about a gift of flowers to brighten up the Christmas season.
“We had a lot of clients calling in from all over North America, and they were asking us to do things for their parents in the (local) lodges,” explained Cindy Savage, manager/owner of Stettler Flowers. “We were doing all kinds of personalized gift baskets, so we would go out and get items for the baskets, and then drop them off at the lodges,” she said, referring in particular to the early part of the pandemic this past spring.
“As time went on, and the pandemic continued to affect us all, I started to think how it broke my heart to think how some of these residents were in the lodges by themselves and their families couldn’t come to see them. And we deal with these family members sometimes on a daily basis. So we are often sending flowers – but not everybody has family members to do that.”
Savage then decided, around the beginning of September, that providing special gifts of flowers was something that she wanted to see happen for these folks.
“I also thought it was really important that the seniors in the lodges knew that the whole community felt that way, too. So I included the whole community by doing a Facebook post and the response was overwhelming. Within the first 48 hours, I raised $2,500 to go to the cause.
“At that point, I also decided that we could definitely include all of the caregivers, so now we have 600 arrangements and plants going out to the four lodges in Stettler, the Bashaw lodge, the Castor lodge and Heritage House.”
There are all kinds of lovely arrangements including hand-ties consisting of carnations, chrysanthemums, pine cones and a variety of other flowers which are all done up together in a bundle.
“They fit nicely into a vase,” said Savage.
Traditional Christmastime favourites such as Poinsettias and beautiful Christmas ferns have also been distributed.
“We had four or five varieties of things going out. I’ve also hand-signed Christmas cards for all of the seniors and the residents of the lodges, and we are also putting a list in of all of the people in the community who are thinking of (the seniors) this Christmas. This includes over 150 people,” she said.
The generosity of the community is continually inspiring, she added.
“Stettler is amazing – Stettler is absolutely amazing. People in this community come together constantly. The community is full of very generous, kind-hearted people who really have a lot of empathy for what is going on,” explained Savage.
“Also, a lot of people that I talked to over the year are from such places as Florida, North Carolina, California, New Brunswick and Quebec. So my clients aren’t necessarily all Stettler people. But we deliver to Stettler residents.”
Savage said that along with the challenges that 2020 has presented, it’s been quite an emotional year as well, as folks who live far away from loved ones here wanted to express their love and concern to Stettler-based family members, particularly in such trying times.
“We are trying to make people happy, and to touch them now,” she explained. “It’s an emotional job – far more emotional than I thought it would be,” she said, referring also to orders that come in for funeral service flower selections and sprays as well.
“I thought that when I bought a flower shop it was going to be all happy and cheerful – birthdays and weddings and anniversaries. But with the pandemic, there are a lot of people all across North America who are trying to make a difference in the lives of their loved ones who live in Stettler and area,” she said.
Flowers can indeed tend to lift one’s spirits, she added. “The smell, the look and the feel of them – I think that also since my own parents passed, it’s been a really good outlet for me.”
It’s certainly been a line of work that is ultimately very rewarding all the year through.
“I’m very grateful and I’m super honoured every time I get the opportunity to be a part of someone’s Christmas, or someone’s birthday. It’s an extremely fulfilling job,” she said.
“I feel like it’s where I am supposed to be.”
In the meantime, Savage is wishing the community a happy Christmas season. She’s also thankful for how people rallied to support the cause of providing the flowers to so many this holiday.
“I hope everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas!”