A family tradition that began 20 years ago has become a Yellowknife institution and continues with families all over town and beyond.
Mindy Willett says the pajama fairy tradition began after the birth of her first child. The party soon grew from her one home and spread far beyond the neighborhood.
The tradition began as a tribute to Willett’s mother, who died when Willett was fourteen.
“When I was a kid, my mom gave us pajamas for Christmas, just like most Canadians,” says Willett. “When I had her first child…I wanted to bring her memory into my new baby’s life.”
December 23rd is my mother’s birthday. “I don’t know why I did this, but I put a little newborn in the snow and made a little snow angel. It just started there and it really grew.”
By the last count, Willett says he’s heard about eight pajama fairy parties in Yellowknife.
According to Willett, the pajama fairies are “magical, but very shy.”
Every child creates a Snow Angel to summon her. “Then she will know the size of the pajamas I will make for you.” Each angel’s head has a candle placed in the ice.” A platform, because there are fairies everywhere, and you need to know where they come from and land.”
Afterwards, the children go to the park or the lake to play while the fairies do their work.
“At some point, one of them sees a shooting star or something and starts running back to where she made the snow angel. Of course, she left you the perfect pair of pajamas.”
That’s when everyone puts on their new pajamas and goes inside for hot chocolate and sweets.
spread the love of fairies
Brianne Timpson doesn’t know Willett, but she attended the Pajama Fairy Party for the third time this year.
“I think one of our friends heard about it at the racket club one day,” she said.
For Timpson, it’s now an annual event, with about five families participating.
Instead of setting candles in ice, I used mason jars.
Timpson herself is childless, so she says it’s a way to celebrate with her friends’ children.
“Just to see the excitement in the kids,” she said.
Meghan McLaren moved to the town in November 2016. She, her husband, and two children were invited to her three Pajama Fairy parties that year. “It was a great introduction to the community.”
They recently attended their third annual party.
“Kids enjoy everything,” she says.
From Yellowknife to Winnipeg
Willett loves that the tradition has spread.
She hears that pajama fairies visit warm places and Europe when family friends go on trips. She also hears about her three separate parties in Winnipeg, which started when a friend from Yellowknife moved to Winnipeg.
“I was talking to someone at the grocery store,” says Willett.
Her own party this year included “50 or 60” people. The Snow Angel has filled her fours in her neighbor’s backyard for children approaching her 20s, like Willett.
Even if people don’t know the story, Willett says the party is a great tribute to her mother, who turns 85 this year. I was an outpost nurse.
“She was just a kind woman,” says Willett. She said, “Three rules: be kind, volunteer, and pay for yourself. That’s all you need to live a fulfilling life.”