It’s times like these that you become nostalgic, and just like Ebenezer Scrooge you are visited by the ghost of Christmas’ past. One of my fondest memories is that there were only two channels on the TV and lets face it not a lot of programs; or at least Christmas programs, to fill the airwaves. So each year my grandfather; Harold Thompson, would come over and he and I would watch A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim on Christmas Eve and twice on Christmas Day. Grandpa Thompson had many traditions for Christmas; such as going to Christmas Eve church service at a different church each year and it didn’t seem to matter if it was our denomination either. For the children, Christmas morning was a terrible waiting game because we were not allowed to open any presents until after breakfast had been eaten and the dishes had all been washed and put away. The final Christmas tradition was that on Christmas Day he would always go to the movies. Maybe it was just a way to have some peace and quiet after listening to children asking if they could “just open one present”. I know as a child these were tough rules to follow but now these are the memories that fill our mind. Or at least my mind.
My mom’s side of the family wasn’t without their own traditions. Christmas day, after my other grandfather went off to the movies, was spent with my mom’s family . She came from a family of seven children, so there was always a lot of cousins to play with. If we did ever manage to get together on Christmas Eve then we were sure to have my Uncle Dick’s special sandwiches; which were made of bologna, cheddar cheese, dill pickle and Ketchup. I just realized that my other childhood Christmas memories are also food related. When we got together on Boxing Day, and for any American readers this is December 26th, it’s a British holiday that has been carried over to Canada. It use to be a day when gifts were given to servants and they had the day off. Now it’s all about Christmas sales; similar to Black Friday but not nearly as big. Now back to the food items; on Boxing day we would always have turkey salad. Lets face it by then you were probably sick of left over potatoes and stuffing. So all the left over pieces of turkey were chopped up, then you’d add chopped lettuce and celery and then you added the leftover peas to the salad. To all of this you would add a mayonnaise dressing and that’s how you’d get rid of that last bit of leftover food. One food item that I did really love came from the Middlebrough side of the family who had come from Liverpool. My grandmother always made the best Christmas pudding and white sauce you’ve ever tasted. Not the hard sauce… no it had to be the white creamy sauce… I can taste it now.
Now if the “ghost of Christmas present” was coming for a visit he’d find Christmas Eve spent at my brother; Craig’s cabin and Grandpa Thompson is now my dad. Even I am a grandma of two youngsters. Christmas isn’t board game anymore but gaming systems, drones or remote control cars. But there still is good food and family and an opportunity to think of those “back in the day” moment and to laugh. On a sadder note; this will be the first Christmas that my mom won’t be with us, but thankfully even though my dad’s been in the hospital this past week, he’ll be back home for Christmas Eve. My son; Jesse and his family and his cousins and their new loves and my stepsons will all be there . There are others that can’t attend like my son; Jason and his partner in Toronto who will come visit in January and my brother; Ted who will spend Christmas in Fairview, Alberta with his wife and her son. Christmas changes from year to year but no matter what, you have your memories and you are creating new memories and hopefully ones that your children and their children will think about in the Christmas future.