OPEN HOME: Katrina and Ben Rickard with their kids Nikita, Hayley, Cody, Taylor, Nicholas, Mekayla and Thomas will be opening up their property for Christmas this year.
OPEN HOME: Katrina and Ben Rickard with their kids Nikita, Hayley, Cody, Taylor, Nicholas, Mekayla and Thomas will be opening up their property for Christmas this year. Matthew Purcell

Family trying to reclaim 'true' spirit of Christmas

NESTLED away in the forest near Undercliffe Falls sits a quaint house high in the hills.

In that old Queenslander lives a family who are true to the real Christmas spirit.

Presents aren't what's important - it's the company and togetherness they thrive on.

Which is why this Christmas they're opening their house to locals, widowers, backpackers - basically anyone who wants good company on Christmas Day.

"We just have a shared lunch with family and friends every year. My brother actually asked if a couple of his friends could come... he only asked because they were backpackers," Katrina Rickard said.

"I said, well if they've got friends they're all welcome. We have it down in the paddock so it's not like there's no room.

"We were talking one day and thought why don't we have an open invitation for people, backpackers, anyone who mightn't have anyone here.

"Christmas isn't what it used to be. I've been trying to teach my kids it's not about presents, it's about community.

"It's so commercialised and with so many people, the diverse range of people in Stanthorpe, there's not many places for some people to go," she said.

A humble Facebook post making the community aware of her intentions drew widespread support.

"I didn't expect that sort of 'great work' and everything else people commented.

"It's not work, it's just people getting together.

"We just want people to enjoy Christmas... they should," Katrina said.

They're not short of room, with 300-plus acres for people to utilise. Their property backs on to a river, equipped with its very own water slide.

It's not the first time the family has opened their property to the community with an Easter egg hunt held for local kids earlier in the year.

"It's not just for backpackers. It's for people who don't have family here and can't afford to travel. If you're going to be drinking then bring a tent," she said.

So, take a plate, grab a rug and head out to enjoy Christmas in its truest sense at 892 Rivertree Rd.

Stanthorpe Border Post


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