I noticed that our local WDM will be featuring ‘A Christmas Long Ago’ to discuss Christmas on the prairies and how it was celebrated about 100 years ago. I am sure this event will be a great way to learn of the traditions of the past, as well as a reflection of how life has changed since then. Please check the dates in the community events listing for more information.
Throughout my growing up years, my mother shared stories of her Christmases past, when she was a kid. My mother was of Finn heritage and grew up in Ontario. Christmas morning, she awoke to her presents set on a table covered by a tablecloth. It seems, Christmas to their family was more about rest and reflection on the real meaning of Christmas, where going to church was a significant part of their lifestyle. Food was prepared the day before so no one did anything more than necessary on holidays and Sundays; it was always about rest, reflection and being together with family.
My husband’s grandmother was from Germany and you must know that the German people have always gone above-and-beyond in Christmas tradition. Trees were always fresh from the forest, and the lites were always delicate small candles clipped to the tree. She was a beautiful soul and exemplified Christmas to a T. O Tannenbaum was her favourite tune and she sang it with gusto even tho’ her tune was off as her hearing faded, aging well into her 90s. Going to grandmas’ was one of the blessings we will never forget; the special treats she prepared and the precious thoughtful gifts she gave continue to warm our hearts to this day. Even though she has been gone for many years, grandma is always remembered at Christmas.
As for myself, I can’t remember every Christmas but there are a few memories I will always treasure, especially the one when I was about four or five and woke up in the middle of the night to see if Santa had come. Sure enough, there under the sparkling tree in the living room was the most beautiful walking doll I had ever laid eyes on. I just knew she was for me. I don’t remember being lavished in presents but ‘Santa’ really tried hard to give us something to make our hearts glad. I also remember us kids putting dad’s woolen socks at the end of the bed and there were always some hard nuts, rock candy and a Christmas orange to treat on. I guess the woolen socks were a little more rustic compared to those of today, but nevertheless, they served their purpose.
Many very significant and memorable times included going to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at midnight and the whole congregation singing some of the most beautiful renowned Christmas songs of the ages acapella. To me, it sounded like a choir of angels, in a large cathedral lit up by the reflection of candles illuminating the darkness.
Even though traditions have changed over the years, the Christmas season has always revolved around family, relatives and friends, fun and feasting, and lots of love and joy. Christmas to me will always hold true to the true meaning of Christmas where humanity received the greatest gift of the ages in the birth of the Christ child.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.