The trees are decorated, the wreaths and lights hung and Christmas murals are being painted in the windows of Cyrus Centre - Abbotsford's drop-in facility for at-risk youth.
Hundreds of local kids aged 13 to 18 caught up in the grip of homelessness, the drug scene, abusive families, sexual abuse or perhaps poverty move through the centre each year, said its director, Les Talvio.
Regardless of the bleak struggles many young people face, Christmas is the time of year when everyone - staff and the larger community - comes together to offer teens at Cyrus Centre a sense of belonging and brighter hope for the future.
In fact, Cyrus Centre is all dolled up for the holidays thanks to the Northview Church women who set up a tour of eight decorated homes on Sunday, with all the proceeds going to Cyrus Centre, which was also part of the fundraiser's circuit.
Northview's women volunteers arrived at the centre several nights last week to decorate, make crafts with youths and dress Christmas trees, said Talvio.
The youths have enjoyed it even though holidays can be a time when at-risk kids feel particularly jaded, said Talvio.
"Christmas is a really hard time of year," he said.
"But just by participating in some celebration gives them the opportunity to feel part of something. One boy even said he just feels like he has hope."
Cyrus Centre will also be holding its annual Christmas Day dinner. "It's a proper sit-down dinner with all the fixings and every youth gets a gift," said Talvio.
But despite bright moments, Cyrus Centre is struggling.
The centre provides meals, clothing, street outreach, youth advocacy, showers and four shelter beds, but it is being overwhelmed by increasing demand.
In November alone, Cyrus Centre had to turn away 20 different youths seeking shelter and often other shelters in the Lower Mainland are full, too, said Talvio.
"The day before yesterday, I had staff crying because the best we were able to offer some youth was a couple of sleeping bags and food because we couldn't find them beds."
To address the rising numbers of homeless youth, Cyrus Centre has launched a "Roofs for Youths" campaign.
It is working to upgrade a donated house that will provide shelter and semi-independent living for six youths while they work to get a life plan in place.
A pair of "house parents" will also live on site for added support.
But Cyrus Centre is relying on the community's benevolence to get the materials and trade labour necessary to complete the project by the spring of 2013.
At the same time, the centre for marginalized youth must also concentrate on its Christmas fundraising campaign that raises money for work done the rest of the year.
"We need $100,000 just to break even," said Talvio.
He knows it's a tall order, especially in tough economic times, but Talvio has always been amazed by Abbotsford's generosity.
"Any difficulties the community faces, it always seems to rise to meet it. I just hope everybody will step forward again and help us meet the challenge."
- For more information on Cyrus Centre visit cyruscentre.com/about-us/.