Ghosts of simpler Christmases past

Brenda reminisces about the spirit of the season in days gone by

There is a time when those of us of a certain age have to take a step back and stop with the “I remember when” rhetoric. However, I have to have one more go at it. So, I ask you “are we there yet?”

It was just a quick commercial that showed a beautiful display of Christmas Lights. It was suggested if we wanted to get the spirit of Christmas that would be the place to go. Really? If that were true I would have that warm and fuzzy feeling every day. I have Christmas lights on here and there outside and a few places inside as well.

All this came about when my old Al was in the last few days of his life. The weather was much like it has been-wet and gray. I busied myself with those lights so his final days could have some joy. He sat in his big chair, looked at the lights and said “Isn’t this pretty.”

Christmas back in the day was December 25. It was not a long process. No Black Friday or a shopping crazed Boxing Day. During the post-war era we did not buy many gifts. If my Dad had a good season in the barber shop there might be something really really special.

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There was the smell of baking going on, which is sort of part of the spirit. Christmas cake soaked in rum and wrapped in cheese cloth. Scottish shortbread. Homemade gifts and a Christmas stocking hung somewhere. Not a fancy stocking filled to the brim but a real sock with a rolled sock in the toe part . One candy cane and a couple mandarin oranges and a wee gift.

I can actually conjure the sprit with a few memories. Our cabin nestled in the deep snow outside Cassiar had propane lights that would cast the brightness outside to showcase very big icicles that had food colouring poured on them. Walking the streets of Atlin to sing Christmas carols.

It all seems kind of silly now but I am so glad I have so many memories. I don’t have to run a sticky finger along a device to order lots of junk that will come to me with free shipping. I could go to that other place where the more I order the more money I will get back. Is that holiday finance?


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If nothing else, I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas remember the reason for the event. We were told about the birth of Jesus in our church. Christmas Eve was absolutely magical. The minister would lead us all in song. He looked so regal in his robe and pointy hat.

I recall one Christmas long ago when we left the church on Christmas eve and were greeted by a big heap of wet coastal snow. My mother took it upon herself to make a humdinger of a snow angel. A couple other ladies from the altar guild joined in, much to the delight of everyone.

Christmas would end in a few more days. Memorable for so many reasons.

“All the presents in the world are worth nothing without the presence of Christ.” –David Jeremiah

Those who know me well are aware that I no longer go to church, but I do have a sense of what Christmas is all about.

“Remember-There has been only one Christmas, the rest are anniversaries.” –W J Cameron.

So there your have it. As we close in on another very long Christmas season I can only hope your memories will be a blessing.

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