Members of a Nova Scotia community are coming together to honour the memory of a special resident and to ensure a popular Christmas tradition doesn’t come to an end.

David Surette built a large gingerbread house for his wife a few years ago and it soon became an important part of the Christmas display on their front lawn in West Pubnico, N.S.

The decoration became a destination for children, who were invited to visit the gingerbread house and would leave with a bag of homemade cookies, courtesy of Annis Surette.

Sadly, this will be David’s first Christmas without his wife, who passed away in a car crash in August.

“We talked about the fact that David and Annis had this gingerbread house in front of their house every year that we would enjoy with our grandkids, and how it would be difficult for him to continue this tradition now that Annis wasn’t here,” says Yvette d’Entremont of the West Side Improvement Society.

“It would be purely missed if it wasn’t here.”

Determined to keep Annis’s memory alive and keep the tradition going, community members like d’Entremont have stepped up and offered to bake cookies and set up shop at the beloved gingerbread house.

“You wouldn’t believe the volunteers that have come forward,” says d’Entremont.

“I’ve got 46 women that baked, I’ve got over 2,000 cookies in my deep freeze, there’s 503 bags that were sewn, just like Annis used to do.”

The couple’s daughter, who lives in Norway, says her mother loved children and looked forward to preparing the gingerbread house every year. She says her family is finding comfort in their neighbours’ kindness during a difficult time of the year.

“She would have been so pleased to see the tradition continue this year,” said Janet in a message she wrote to the community. “Her family would like to thank the local community for honouring her memory.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau