Amidst the repetitive clichés and commercialism in a world gone mad, when civilizations still ignore war, hunger, and disease we can all agree some things have changed in the last seventy years.
Recently, a retired school teacher gave me her copy of a story she wrote published by The Standard in Sept 2004. It cites some quaint elements of Christmas that we might overlook today. Her account takes us back to what Christmas was like in the 1950's.
A Unique Christmas
Every Christmas since 1958 my thoughts go warmly to the first one I spent in Canada as a new immigrant from New Zealand where I had left all my family.
I was living and teaching in a small town in the high north of the province. For the two-week vacation, I planned to sightsee in a far city then travel to the capital, to visit a stamp collector friend of my father.
Everything was new! Several feet of snow, cold temperatures, ear muffs. A long overnight trip by CN Rail and a comfortable hotel were to be my break. Lavishly decorated store windows, now a thing of the past were quickly recorded on film that is still in my possession.
I had no plans for Christmas Day. Naively I had made no reservations for meals.
I phoned a friend to chat, and she inquired about my plans. An invitation to spend Christmas with her family followed.
On Christmas morning when I awoke, I missed the opportunity of exchanging greetings, as I was alone but then, I took the bus to a neighbouring city where my friend lived.
What a day to remember … an unexpected gift, Christmas Day, 1958 … with my first turkey dinner, AND candles on the table … my background held none of these! Pictures of this great day bring many warm memories.
It is the kindness I will not forget. And because someone was thoughtful when I was alone in a country not my own, I learned to show that same kindness to others in need.
A final note: my friend and I have kept in touch yearly since that unique first Christmas.
P.S. Since then my friend has passed away, but good memories remain.©
Experienced by Ann J. Nakagawa
Comments by Darrel Gonya (with permission):