Christmas Day will have an added significance for the Marje and Doug Familton.
They will be hosting their 15th and last Christmas dinner at the Galleon Restaurant after taking over the business 14-and-a-half years ago.
“We’ve had the privilege of meeting so many people and you make a lot of friends,” Mrs Familton said.
When they first started, Christmas dinners used to be a major outing for many families.
The Familtons would seat up to 180 people on the day, but for a variety of reasons, the numbers have declined.
They expect around 90 people will sit down to Christmas dinner next Wednesday.
“It’s always a special day for us; the chefs start here at 6 o’clock (in the morning) and have everything amazing,” Mrs Familton said.
Highlights for the Familtons over the years have been revamping and extending the facilities and including ten-pin bowling.
They also enjoyed helping out their customers in times of hardship and sorrow.
“When our customers suffered loss, we had the staff and the ability to jump in to provide food and comfort for them,” Mrs Familton said.
While stepping back from the business, it is still remaining in the family. Son and daughter-in-law David and Tania Morris will be taking over the lease. The motels, which form part of the Galleon complex, are still owned by the Familtons and leased out.
Mrs Familton has completed a Diploma in Chaplaincy and Ministry Development and intends to help Pastor John Ballantyne at the Blue Penguin Foursquare Church of Oamaru.
Mr Familton said he was looking forward to fishing – a hobby he has been too busy to pursue in recent years.
By CHRIS TOBIN