CHRISTMAS PAST: Memories from our newsroom | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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CHRISTMAS PAST: Memories from our newsroom

December 25, 2014 - 10:29 AM

Remember the joy in carefully crafting presents in class for your parents? The excitement to see a gift under the tree with your name on it? How about getting dressed up in awful, and often matching outfits to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Christmas?

At Christmas we often take the time to reminisce about what life was like in the good ol’ days. Before electronics took over our lives and getting together with family was a simple enjoyment to look forward to every year.

We’ve decided to share some our fondest memories, cutest and cheesiest pictures of Christmas past.

My mom does so much to make every Christmas special so it's hard to pick just one standout memory. But one that I'll never forget is at my uncle's cabin in Horsefly. There is no electricity but the whole family was there. Good breakfast cooked on a wood stove followed by snowmobiling and campfire.

We didn’t really do presents per se in my family when I was growing up. My parents were more about giving me and my brother experience gifts, so instead of finding presents under the tree, we’d get to go skiing for the day, got swimming lessons, or did something else that got us out of the house. One year when I was seven or eight years old we went to Mexico for Christmas. ‘Navidad’ in Mexico is a bright, colourful and lively affair. I remember standing on the street watching kids my age participate in a Christmas parade. I was mesmerized by their bright costumes and infinitely jealous of a young girl who got to ride a burro (a donkey) The parade was part of Las Posadas, nine days of processions that recreate the pregnant Maria (carrying baby Jesus) and her husband’s journey to find lodging in Bethlehem. The parade culminated in a courtyard area where all the children got to take turns swinging at a pinata. I was overjoyed when a young girl ran over to me and invited me to join in the festivities. I can’t recall if I was the one who broke open the pinata, but I do vividly remember scrounging around for the contents—packets of Chiclets and chocolate wafers. I admit, some years I longed to have a conventional Christmas with presents under the tree, but looking back, I wouldn’t trade that memory for anything. It sure beat a Christmas a few years later, again spent in Mexico, but this time with a bad bout of Chicken Pox. My big excursion that trip wasn’t to the beach, but to the doctor. The medicine he prescribed me—a jar of honey to soothe the chicken pocks in my throat—was the only good memory from that holiday.

My Dad bought a small electric train as a Christmas gift for my sister and I when we were young. Soon it became a tradition over the holidays to set up elaborate train tracks all over the basement. Even though it was a gift for us, I think my Dad enjoyed it the most!

Every year my Grandpa would ‘wrap’ a small gift in a large wooden crate filled with hay that could only be opened using a crowbar. Every year we would race into the living room to see who was lucky enough to have their name on the box that year. My Grandpa passed away when I was 15, but I’ve continued the tradition by making sure one person on my list gets some type of ‘prank-wrapped’ gift every year.

One year in school, I think it was Grade 4, I tried really hard in music class because Marla, the sweetest girl in school, had a solo at the Christmas recital and four others were to later join her up front. The teacher picked me. Unfortunately, I got into a fist fight with Billy Podgurny on the soccer field at recess and got blood all over my nice new white shirt so I took my usual place in the back row at the recital.

My grandparent's house was magical at Christmas. It was quite a distance north of my own home and located in a snow belt, so when we went there, if felt like we'd arrived at the North Pole. My grandfather was a large German man who owned a high quality Santa suit. Once, when I was exactly the right age, he wore it on Christmas Eve. My grandfather and Santa have been one and the same in my mind ever since. Even as a grown-up, if I see an image of the jolly old elf, I think of my grandfather.

My fondest memory of Christmas would have to have been around nine or 10 years old. I don't remember any special gifts, just the anticipation and mystique of the season. Hard to forget that, but I remember it having special significance around those years - probably just before my friends began to tell me that Santa wasn't real.

They were a bunch of liars anyway. I know that now.


The best memory of Christmas past was the first holiday season spent in the Okanagan with my young family. We had moved, immigrated really, from Saskatchwan in the fall. We were told there was a 50 per cent chance of having a white Christmas in the valley. On Dec. 23 the heavens opened up it and we recieved a dump of the heaviest, wet snow I'd ever seen. There must have been two feet of the white stuff. With the backdrop of the unfamiliar, yet beautiful pines and mountains, it was magical. I'll never forget the feeling we'd found our new home.

Howard Alexander and his oldest daughter Kathjine.
Howard Alexander and his oldest daughter Kathjine.

What's your favourite holiday memory? What did Christmas look like when you were a kid? Share your pictures and stories with us below.


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