›› Jessica Ziakin-Cook

Many of us feel the mayhem at the mall and the hullabaloo of the holiday season and miss the essential meaning of ­Christmas. And yet most of us still shuffle off to shop like sheep every December, spending too much money on presents and other ­commercial trappings. But St. Barnabas Anglican Church offers a delightful ­alternative to this money madness; one that connects with both the essence of this sacred holiday and the magic of more ­traditional celebrations.

The 10th Annual St. Barnabas Star ­Sunday Crafting Fair will take place at the Fernwood church on Sunday, December 9th. The event is infused with Christmas spirit and cheer, and is modelled on a ­German Christmas Market. Before ­entering either the church or the hall, ­visitors are greeted with carolling around a bonfire, along with steaming hot apple cider and waffles.

Star Sunday is a perfect opportunity for children to make their own gifts for family and friends. High-quality craft materials, inspired by the Waldorf education model, are supplied. Children make their own bees-wax candles, build wooden ­handicrafts, mix bath salts in mason jars, weave their own wreaths, and make many more special gifts. Star Sunday has become a fixture for many families in the ­neighbourhood, both parishioners and neighbours, with more than 300 people taking part every year.

Jasmine O’Brian, the Community Life Minister at the church, calls Star Sunday an “old-fashioned multi-generational event that is an expression of St. Barnabas’ belief in the sacredness of life and creation, and respect for the spirituality of children.”

All of the materials and foods are ­provided through the generosity of St. Barnabas parishioners, local businesses, and the community at large. While ­donations from visitors will be accepted with ­gratitude, there is no cost to take part in this lovely celebration of Christmas, on Sunday, December 9th from 3pm until 5pm at 1525 Begbie Street in Victoria.