Volunteers at Operation Red Nose haven't joined any reindeer games; they've been too busy driving yuletide revellers safely home, including some who partied in their pyjamas.
House parties this time of the year are often theme-based, explained Ken Smith, Red Nose's assistant co-ordinator.
The volunteer service, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Sardis, offers partiers free rides home Fridays and Saturdays during the Christmas season.
The first two weekends have been busier than previous years, Smith said.
"We had to rush both weekends [and] last Saturday night got backed up," he said.
Part of the reason Red Nose drivers are busier is because rides have been longer, with volunteers taking clients as far as Agassiz and Ryder Lake. Smith himself made one trip out to Langley-a 120 km ride there and back. The average distance driven last weekend was 35 km, compared to a 24 km average for last year's campaign, Smith said.
So far, volunteers have given revellers 228 rides home and driven more than 6,000 km.
And things aren't likely to slow down. Last year, volunteers drove a total of 17,082 km and gave holiday partiers 702 rides home. The service has tripled since its first year in 2004, when volunteers gave 234 rides.
Smith is pleased many people are using Red Nose, but added he hopes more volunteers will sign up for Dec. 31.
"New Year's is our biggest night. Last year there were 17 volunteer teams. This year we're hoping for that many or more."
A team consists of three volunteers, equipped with a first-aid kit and flashlight, to make sure partiers get home safely. Those wishing to use the service must have their own car, which the volunteers will drive.
Lots of organizers help to make Red Nose possible, Smith said, with restaurants and coffee shops providing food and beverages "to keep the volunteers happy."
So far, Red Nose has mostly catered to year-end business parties, including a couple of big events with more than 300 people attending.
"[However], it's now shifting more to house parties as we get closer to Christmas," Smith added.
The RCMP encourages people to make arrangements for a ride before the partying begins, Cpl. Robert McDonald said.
"We're hoping people are going to plan ahead before they start drinking," he said. "We know that once they start drinking their ability to plan goes."
People should either plan to use Operation Red Nose, arrange for a taxi or plan to use public transit, McDonald added.
? The Red Nose service will be offered this Friday and Saturday, as well as on Dec. 21, 22 and on the 31. To arrange for a ride home with Red Nose, call 1-877-604-393-3000. Volunteer applications are available at the RCMP detachment, 45924 Airport Rd.