Syrian family embraces surprise Christmas tree as symbol of their new home

December 24, 2020

By Saanich News |

Sixteen-year-old Reem Al Ibrahim sounded practically giddy when asked about the snow that fell in Sidney on Monday. “I love the snow,” she said. “I hope we still have more snow to build a snowman.”

The extra snow would also nicely complement the Christmas tree that stands in the living room of the house that Reem shares with her parents, four siblings, grandmother and aunt following their arrival in Sidney in September 2018 from Syria after a four-year limbo in Turkey.

The neatly decorated tree, like Reem’s excitement about the snow, has become a symbol of the family’s embrace of their new home.

“It means that we are Canadian and we are having a real Christmas same as the other people,” said Reem, when asked what the tree means to her.

The history of the tree’s arrival in the Al Ibrahim residency also reflects the hidden but no less powerful hands in Canadian society that continue to help Syrian refugees specifically and new arrivals generally once the television cameras have turned off and formal sponsorship agreements have ended.

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