Ride Well information provided

CLIFFORD – The county’s Ride Well program and Christmas Eve traditions were explored at the Seniors’ Centre for Excellence luncheon program on Dec. 20 at the Knox United Church in Clifford.

County of Wellington economic development officer James Vaclavek explained the county’s new rural transit service Ride Well.

The rideshare program is a door-to-door service available to Wellington residents for travel within the county at a cost of 60 cents a kilometre.

The minimum cost is $5  with the maximum set at $40. Seniors and rideshare discounts apply.

All rides need to be booked ahead by calling 1-833-900-RIDE (7433) Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm and paid by credit card or debit card.

Appointments, shopping, coffee, or visits, drivers will transport passengers between the hours of 6am and 7pm for the right price. This program was initiated through a government grant.

The County of Wellington has partnered with RideCo to develop an app and website that allows customers to book, pay, and track their ride in real-time. Contact www.ridewell.ca for further information.

Guest speaker Willa Wick took everyone on an armchair tour of Christmas Eve traditions around the world. Wick recalled the ten-foot-tall Christmas tree of her youth and the 10 cent Scotty Dog pin cushion that is still owned within her family to this day.

Drawing insight from her many family and friends around the world, Wick spoke of the nativity scenes, prayer days, feasts, parades, and plays celebrated throughout the season in Mexico. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, 12 red grapes are eaten. Little gifts are delivered on Feb. 2 for Three Kings Day.

Italy shares different ideas of St. Nick in the north and south, but shares their specialty bread Panettone with the world.

The Mennonite and Amish communities enjoy simple gatherings sharing outdoor games, stories, card making, homemade gifts, baking, caroling and visiting.

Germany enjoys the sights, scents and sounds of Christmas all though the markets in December. Goose, carp, and potato salad are favourite foods.

Grenada celebrates mornings of sea bathing, dancing, rum, family infusion, and carriage parades.

In Poland, children await St. Nick’s visit on Dec. 6 to see if coal or treats will appear in their socks, a sure sign of what to expect Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is meat free, but many of the 12 dishes include perogies.

Japan doesn’t observe Christmas as a national holiday, but they do consume buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, adore Christmas cake, create displays of illumination for New Year’s, and celebrate the Emperor’s birthday in February.

China celebrates the commercial aspect of Christmas with trees decorated in the malls and carol singing. They choose to celebrate the Spring Festival in February, gifting family with special red envelopes.

Children of Holland await a sailing Spanish Santa who may take them away for a year to help them learn how to behave, and look forward to the treasure hunts, secret Santas, and treats given by a Finnish Santa.

Yugoslavia honours old traditions keeping the yule log lit all night with a crib set for baby Jesus. The advent wreath with candles for hope, peace, joy, and love are lit along with one for Christmas Day.

Seniors’ Centre for Excellence lunches at noon cost $12. The presentations are free. Call 519-638-1000 to save a seat.