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This time of year I can’t help but reflect on  special memories of Christmas.  Last year I was living alone, and my brother Garth and sister-in-law Janice invited me to their place.  They welcomed me with open arms and made it very special for me.  I had a few hours in the afternoon before Christmas dinner and had always wanted to have the experience of volunteering at a homeless shelter, so I spent some time at Tenille’s Hope, an organization here in Whitecourt that feeds the homeless, and realized how lucky I am to have family and the many traditions we grew up with.  It made me appreciate everything I have so much more.

We celebrated many Christmas’ at our family home on Whitecourt Mountain.  All of my siblings and their children braved the winter roads and came home for Christmas.  There were 30 or more of us at that time, there are many more of us now.

The Christmas tree was always one that Dad found in the bush on our land.  Mom and us kids would decorate the tree and it always looked so beautiful.  We would help with the baking and making lefse, a treat that only came at Christmas time

On Christmas Eve we would play the piano, guitars and sing Christmas carols.  The grandchildren would entertain us with little song and dance ‘skits’ that they made up, and Grandma would always read T’was the Night Before Christmas to the little ones, before going to bed so Santa could come.

One year we decided to have an “old-fashioned” Christmas.  We drew names and made the rule that instead of store bought gifts they all had to be handmade.  Many of us stayed up well past midnight on Christmas Eve to finish our projects that we had made for each other. 

The next day we were so excited to open our gifts.  I made my brother-in-law a pair of sweat pants.  He wore them for years after and said they were the most comfortable sweat pants he had ever worn!   There were handmade toy boxes for the kids, hand knit sweaters, cross-stitch pictures, etc.  The love that went into those gifts was more meaningful than anything you could buy in the store. 

The men made Christmas dinner that year.  They wanted to switch it up and change the tradition of mom and us girls doing all the cooking, and it was absolutely delicious.  It was just as good as any Christmas dinner we had had before, and it made us appreciate them even more.  After dinner, we took turns and shared what we were grateful for.  All of us were grateful for the people surrounding the table that Christmas day.

So what special memories do you have of Christmas?    What Christmas traditions do you celebrate that makes them memorable? I would love to hear about them!

To wonderful memories,

Carla


 


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