The wonderful expressions of the joy and anticipation of children tell the whole story of this delightful photo of the 1954 Ponoka Kindergarten class enjoying their annual Christmas party. Giving their very best performance for family and friends were (back row l-r): Mrs. K. MacPhail, Stanley Burfield, Dale Doyle, Headley Boschma, Barbara Caldwell, and Nannette Whitford; and then seated in front is: Karen Caldwell, Robert Backus, Karen Emas, Shirley Feist, David Phillips, Patrick Turner, Heather Campbell, and Bonnie Raho. Enjoy your Christmas party and concert to the fullest, be on your very best behaviour for dear old Santa, and then have a very happy holiday. Photo from December 1954 Ponoka Herald

The joyful traditions of Christmas…past and present

Ponoka News’ Reflections looks at the fun Christmas days of Ponoka

By Mike Rainone for the News

It doesn’t really matter how long we have been around to celebrate the true meaning and the joy and excitement of the Christmas season, each and every one of us will always treasure our favourite festive memories, as well as look forward to taking part in countless old and new traditions.

Now as we boldly advance into the 21st century there will always be many exciting new themes, ceremonies, ethnic costumes, and unique greetings added to the Christmas rush, which will blend perfectly with the grand old traditions that have been around for generations of all nationalities of families who are proud Canadian citizens.

No matter what age we may be or how many miles we might have to travel to get ‘home for the holidays’ we will hopefully have that warm and wonderful opportunity of decorating the tree and the house together, hanging a little mistletoe, nibbling on some of mom’s and grandma’s glorious baking and surprise treats, and then sipping on a glass of egg-nog or hot chocolate before bundling up warm and heading off to sing some carols and attending the annual Christmas Eve family church service. Even through the hectic rush of Christmas shopping, school concerts, special community events, and all the rest this December holiday season should always be a precious time to relax and celebrate with family and friends, to exchange unique gifts, and to support and reach out to those who may be shut ins, on their own, or may be having a tougher time travelling along the path of life.

The grand traditions of Christmas…both old and new

Most of us will always have a special place in our hearts over the festive season for the sheer joy of attending and taking part in all sorts of Christmas concerts, whether it be at school, at church, or at countless community events and attractions that are all blessed with a spectacular display of colour, song, and joy.

For this annual Christmas edition of the Ponoka News I would love to share a few of the grand festive traditions of yesterday and today, most of which we will share and celebrate each and every year, as well as adding many other delightful activities.

• I am sure that there are many families who head out into the wilderness to seek out their own magnificent and totally unique Christmas tree, while others will support a community cause by visiting the local tree lots, and some have chosen to purchase one of those glitzy new models that will last forever. Whatever the case it is so much fun to decorate our very own masterpiece together, fashioning the festive miracle with tinsel and bobbles that have been in the family for generations, were made by the kids at school, or are among the wide array of electronic glitz and glitter. Do some of you still bless your tree and homes with strings of popcorn, pine-cones, shiny paper icicles and streamers and the bubble lights that have to heat up first, and does the youngest child in the family still get hoisted up to put the sparkling angel on the top of the tree? Outside lights and displays have and always will be unique and amazing and great to travel around and enjoy at night, with the glorious nativity scenes always so rich in age-old traditions.

• Do you still hang your stockings on the mantle, is your delicious and very high-calorie Christmas cake still homemade or store-bought, and will we open our gifts on Christmas Eve or with sleepy and wide-eyed wonder in the morning after we have had a quick breakfast? Our Christmas Eve fun might just include going out with the gang and singing carols and then returning home for hot treats, a fashion show of pyjamas, while just sitting around and playing games or watching those great old favourite movies like Miracle on 34th Street, Scrooge, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and all the rest.

• Some grand old Christmas traditions that never really change that much over the years are:

So many cherished family memories and friendships, that amazing feast with all the trimmings that we all sit down to around a magnificently decorated table on Dec. 25th. Hopefully everyone will be able to get in touch with relatives and friends that couldn’t be with us on this sacred day, which as always will be followed by sleigh rides, Boxing Day madness and having the kids home for the holidays with lots of new toys, and everyone making exciting plans for 2019. Of course along the way into the merriment of it all we can all associate with…bells, and holly, and poinsettias, nuts and bolts with egg-nog, candy canes, reindeer prints in the snow, and miles and miles of wrapping paper/ribbons and bows that will quickly transform into amazing secret parcels just in time to go under the big tree.

The joyous season of Christmas is here for everyone to enjoy in their own way, but to also share a little cheer with others along the way.

Please don’t forget to leave dear old Santa a treat to enjoy when he pops into your living room on that magic Dec. 24th evening, and from my family to yours just go ahead and have a wonderful Christmas, Peace on earth and good will towards each and everyone, as well as look forward to more of the best in 2018.

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