Shawna Thirkell carries on the holiday tradition of running Glenda’s Christmas Cottage in the Mt. Lehman area of Abbotsford in memory of her mom, Glenda Cox, who ran the business for 30 years. Cox died in February of this year. (Submitted photo)

Daughter carries on mom’s ‘Christmas Cottage’ legacy

Festive shop in Abbotsford remains open after passing of Glenda Cox

It seemed at first that Abbotsford might lose a special and important part of its history this year with the passing of Glenda Cox of Glenda’s Christmas Cottage in Mt. Lehman.

Cox, who was known to many as “The Christmas Lady,” died on Feb. 1 at the age of 77. She operated her festive shop from Nov. 1 to Dec. 23 each year for three decades.

Now daughter Shawna Thirkell and Shawna’s husband Jim, with the help of Glenda’s elves – as she called her employees – have decided to carry on her legacy.

The shop got a new paint job and some much-needed renovations and opened its doors on Nov. 1 as usual.

Thirkell said it was important to carry on her mom’s tradition.

“Christmas must not be lost. It is one of the most wonderful times of year,” she said.

Thirkell said generations of families have celebrated the season at Glenda’s Christmas Cottage, with special holiday traditions such as the annual cookie-decorating event with Santa and Mrs. Claus. That event raises funds for the local charity Matthew’s House.

The shop was so important to the community that a petition was circulated many years ago to keep it open.

Cox ran without a business licence when she first opened in 1988 because, at the time, there was no such thing as a business on a farm that didn’t sell mostly homegrown or handmade items.

The city told her to close her doors, but the petition was signed by people who said they wanted it to stay open because they had been bringing their families for years.

The city then passed a bylaw to allow businesses such as this to run for two months a year on agricultural land.

Glenda’s Christmas Cottage is not only remaining open, but Thirkell said they now have a presence on social media.

The shop, located at 4557 Mt. Lehman Rd., sells Christmas-themed items that include collectibles, decor and ornaments in every shape, size and colour.

The annual cookie-decorating event takes place Saturday, Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

The shop is opens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.

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Glenda Cox (middle) ran Glenda’s Christmas Cottage in the Mt. Lehman area of Abbotsford for 30 years before her passing in February of this year. Here she is pictured with long-time employee Pam Robinson (left) and daughter Shawna Thirkell, who has taken over operation of the festive shop. (Submitted photo)

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