Reflections of Ponoka: Ponoka F.C.S.S to host an old fashioned Christmas

No matter what age we may be some of our fondest memories of Christmas have come from gathering together with family and friends

Throughout the years one of the most precious memories of the Christmas season will always be a hug and a few magic moments sitting on old Santa’s knee

No matter what age we may be some of our fondest memories of Christmas have come from gathering together with family and friends at good old fashioned community parties and concerts! In order to carry on this warm and friendly festive tradition, the staff, board, and members of the Ponoka Family and Community Support Services will be hosting a free Christmas party and movie night on Sunday-December 15th from 1-4 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #66 auditorium at 3911-Highway 2A Ponoka.

The jolly occasion for children accompanied by a parent or adult will feature the popular movie ‘Father Christmas’, followed by a visit from Santa Claus, a plump old fashioned treat bag for everyone, and some gift draws and special surprises. Doors will open at 12 noon; guests will be greeted by Santa’s happy-go-lucky elves, and the show will begin at 1:00 p.m. sharp. Everyone is welcome, and will hopefully wear their best Christmas outfits, which you may even get to show off while perched on Santa’s’ knee? The gala party will be sponsored by F.C.S.S., Early Childhood Coalition, and the Ponoka Legion, and the free admission tickets are now available at the Family and Community Support Offices located at 5006-52nd Avenue in Ponoka.

Favourite Christmas parties and memories!

Throughout the decades the festive season has been celebrated in so many unique and exciting ways, bringing generations of families and friends of all nationalities together to honour the true meaning of the sacred occasion, as well as to share the exchange of gifts and joy along with the traditional fest, treats, and sparkling tinsel!

It really hasn’t changed all that much over the years, as folks and families of all ages have always looked forward to putting up and trimming the tree, as well as decorating your home inside and out, and of course adding a little mistletoe! The stores are now playing the music of the season as well as being packed with overwhelming displays of gifts and goodies, while this joyful month of December is always full of joyful events and concerts to charm and tantalize the Christmas moods and spirits of all ages!

There will always be those delightful school and church Christmas concerts. Along with lots of treats, this is a real neat opportunity to perform for our family, whether it be singing in the choir, playing in the band, or dressing up as an elf, a reindeer, an angel, or a shepherd in the Christmas pageant or nativity scene. Other festive traditions that have carried on in and around our community are the Kinsmen Carol Festival, carolling door to door, the Lion’s Club bus hosting tours of our amazing light displays, and on and on! Most of the activities throughout the season graciously accept silver collections for such vital causes as Santa’s Anonymous and the Ponoka Food Bank, while items can also be dropped into the decorated collection boxes in and around the community! Jolly old Santa has a very busy schedule at this time of the year, but he will always make a welcome appearance at all parties and concerts, then will slip away on the 24th to get his reindeer prepped for their gift dash around the world. We hope that everyone has been good, has remembered to clean out their chimney, and will leave out some milk and cookies.

For those of us whose folks worked at the Alberta Hospital, we will never forget the annual Christmas concert, including all sorts of food and treats, running up and down the halls, then gathering in the Recreation Hall for a movie, festive pageant, and the arrival of tubby old Santa bearing gifts!

Downtown in the 1950s-60s the members of the very active Ponoka Teen Town would dress up as elves with crew cuts and pig tails, and help out with the annual movie and Christmas party sponsored by H.H. Roberts, the local John Deere dealer. The Capitol Theatre was always packed to the rafters, and right after the movie a portly Santa would magically appear from behind the screen to hand out goodie bags to the kids, from two to teens!

There have always been so many outdoor events that can be enjoyed by all, including on a sleigh ride, sitting together on bales and covered with blankets, singing to the tune of the bells, then stopping at a spot out in the bush where a roaring bonfire can be built, followed by hot-dogs, marshmallows, and hot chocolate all around. Kids of all ages love to get out and frolic in the snow, sleds or skis are also great fun, as well as cleaning off a spot on the outside rink for skating or a hot game of shinny!

On Christmas Eve, many families celebrate the true meaning of Christmas during services at all churches, then on Christmas Day family and friends will gather together to enjoy the giving and that bountiful traditional meal with all the trimmings. For those who have no plans for dinner on Wednesday, December 25th, they are always welcome to attend the gala annual Family Community Christmas fest and fun in the afternoon at the Kinsmen Centre. As we all look forward to the festive holiday season, we will of course pause and remember that the very best gift of Christmas is sharing some of your joy with others!