As a child growing up in rural Quebec I loved our white Christmas. Dad with our help would decorate the big fir tree in the front yard with lights (it’s no longer there) and then came the Christmas tree in our living room. I especially remember the light candles and being fascinated by their bubbles, the silver tinsel dangling delicately from the branches, and the white church music box. All our aunts and uncles would send us gifts and the memories of the presents stacked under the tree waiting to be opened by my excited siblings and myself. The stockings at the end of our bunk beds and waking up before dawn to open them. Mom always put a mandarin orange in them and back then that was a special treat from a far away land we could only imagine by reading National Geographic. My parents always managed to put something in the stocking that delighted me that I had not mentioned to them in the lead up to Christmas morning.
The smell of the turkey roasting all day, the cranberry sauce, the turkey stuffing, all the Christmas baking mom had made-rum balls, butter tarts, mince tarts, shortbread cookies, Christmas sweet bread, gingerbread cookies, Christmas fruit cake, tourtiere pie, and the piece de resistance, plum pudding for dessert with a dash of brandy ignited by dad-our little bellies filled to capacity; happy and content in the warm glow of the season.
Dad would play Santa and supervise the opening of the gifts so it was fair to each of us. Our main gift was never wrapped in Christmas paper but placed prominently under the tree for all to see. I can remember one Christmas night after all were asleep poking my head around the staircase leading to our dining room and peeking over at the gifts piled high under the tree. Christmas was so magical in our home!
The day was spent playing ball hockey on the side street, playing shinny hockey on the river if it was clear of snow or tobogganing down the hill to the river. I have an old black and white photograph with me and some of my siblings around the tree Christmas morning with a huge smile on my face wearing my new hockey pants. It’s now in one of the albums I made for my two girls.
Thank you mom and dad for the wonderful memories and for making Christmas very special!