Two brothers from Port Williams, N.S., are continuing their deceased parents’ tradition with an open house Christmas party for others in their community.

Duncan and Sean MacDow, aged 21 and 18, have been living on their own after losing their father to cancer in 2010 and their mother to a heart attack last year.

Despite their loss the boys continue to hold an open house for friends and the community

“It's been a tradition really for the past 20 or so years in celebration of my father getting out of the hospital. We're just kind of carrying on the tradition,” said Duncan.

But celebrating at Christmas time without their parents can sometimes be hard, said Sean.

“I'd say it’s one of the harder ones because my mother's birthday is on the 15th and my birthday is on the 20th,” he said.

Following the death of their mother last year the community came together to help the brothers.

Family friend Sue Roberts mobilized 33 families to help them out with cooked meals three times a week.

“The more I did with the boys the closer we've become and I just feel very grateful that they are a bigger part of my family's life as well,” she said.

For Duncan, saying thank you to all those who helped is especially important at this time of year.

“That's what Christmas is really about, not just the gifts and all the material stuff,” he said.

“It's more the experiences."