Tate Clarkson, owner of Clarkson Contracting in Elkford, stands in front of a trailer full of gifts that he and his wife Sheena picked up in Calgary for four families in the Elk Valley for Christmas 2021. (Courtesy of Tate Clarkson)

Tate Clarkson, owner of Clarkson Contracting in Elkford, stands in front of a trailer full of gifts that he and his wife Sheena picked up in Calgary for four families in the Elk Valley for Christmas 2021. (Courtesy of Tate Clarkson)

‘What Christmas is supposed to look like’: Elkford family and company sponsor families for Christmas

The Clarkson family and Clarkson Contracting voted to buy gifts for four families this Christmas

An act of Christmas giving this year all began with a family vote.

A couple of months ago, Tate and Sheena Clarkson, parents of nine kids, (two of whom have already left the nest), asked their young ones to decide: do you want a big Christmas with lots of gifts like last year, or would you take less gifts this year for yourselves, and instead sponsor another family so that they could have their own morning full of present-piles?

The young Clarksons proved to have a selfless streak: they all voted ‘yes’ to sponsoring a family.

“We were really proud of them for that,” said their father.

But it didn’t stop there. Clarkson, who is the owner of Clarkson Contracting in Elkford, brought the idea to his co-workers at the office, and they had another vote.

“They all thought (sponsoring families) was an excellent idea,” Clarkson said.

So, instead of sponsoring just one family for Christmas, the Clarksons and the company together upped the number of families to four.

They put up a post on Facebook asking for help finding those who may have been going without this Christmas, and went from there. At first, they were only going to sponsor two families.

“It’s pretty hard to do when you see some of their stories. It’s pretty hard to do,” Clarkson said.

“So, we went from two families to four, instead.”

They got in touch with the to-be recipients, and received lists of potential presents the kids might want. There were twelve kids in total, ranging from four to 17 years old, from Fernie, Sparwood, and Elkford, he said.

Clarkson and Sheena hopped in their trailer and headed to Calgary for a Christmas shopping spree.

“These families sent us lists, and did not expect anything. They expected us to get one or two things maybe off their list, just to make sure that what we did get was something that their kids wanted,” Clarkson said.

“And then we got everything on the lists and then some.”

The husband and wife spent two days in Calgary sourcing all the gifts.

“We went down and just filled (the trailer) up.”

The Clarksons began delivering the gifts Monday (Dec. 20) morning. The first two deliveries were made by Clarkson and Sheena. The parents were joined by six of their children for the final two drop-offs.

They weren’t trying to make a scene of the deliveries, Clarkson said.

But a “scene” was a little bit unavoidable in this case.

“It was like an assembly line of kids bringing gifts into the houses.”

The Clarkson kids “really enjoyed helping.”

“It was a good indication of what Christmas is supposed to look like… that you help those people that are less fortunate.”

“They really understood that when we were done.”

This was the first year that the Clarksons and Clarkson Contracting (with some help from Ashley Brunet of Shop Mountain Supplies) engaged in this kind of Christmas giving initiative, but it won’t be the last, Clarkson said.

“This will be every year moving forward,” he said.

“I’m very proud of our team.”

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@fishynewswatch
josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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