Has Christmas changed much since we were kids?

Even at the age of 77 I still get very excited about Christmas, enjoying the sparkling decorations and festive spirit and friendship throughout the community, as well as the joyful excitement radiating from children and adults of all ages. Even as seniors we must readily admit that the decor from trees to tinsel and all around our homes and community may have gotten a whole lot more glitzy and electronic over the years, but the keen and joyous spirit has hopefully always remained the same. There is no doubt that filling our annual early December gift and wish lists has also presented us with far too many choices when it comes to shopping for family and friends, but if all else fails we can always take a buddy or a grandchild along, or even ask SIRI for some hot tips.

Like so many others, growing up as a child in and around Ponoka I always look forward to the countless special family events, both in and around the community, as well as being together in our comfortable little home along the Alberta Hospital road. As far back as we can all remember, there has and always will be those gala festive seasonal traditions such as concerts, carolling, visiting with the neighbours, searching for the best Christmas tree to trim and decorate, the office party, and the fabulous company that we share. As we gather together with family and friends we will never resist snuggling up together in the living room with a big bowl of popcorn and lots of hot chocolate, toddies, and treats, while hoping to stay up a little later to watch those age-old and new Christmas movies, as well as singing along to our favourite holiday tunes.

No matter how busy we may be during the hustle and bustle of December, among the oldest and most cherished Yuletide traditions takes place on Christmas Eve when we bundle up the family, trudge through the snow, and meet up at the church of our choice with family and friends to sing carols and celebrate the true meaning of this most joyous occasion. Then with visions of sugar-plums dancing around in our heads we will dash home, hang up our stockings on the mantelpiece, share a piece of grammas old fashioned Christmas pudding sprinkled with sherry, and then after leaving a treat for Santa we will reluctantly shuffle off to bed and hope that morning comes real soon around the magnificent tree.

A little Christmas trivia

It takes 4 to 15 years to grow a typical six to 7 foot Christmas tree, so please pick the right one before you cut it down and take it home. 37.1 million Spruce trees are purchased every year in North America for the Christmas holiday.

One tiny mistletoe kiss burns up three calories, so the longer the smooch the better the exercise, and what a great way to keep your fitness program going hot and heavy over the holidays.

The movie “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) featured 52,000 Christmas lights, 8,200 ornaments, 2,000 candy canes, and that grumpy old Grinch stole them all!

The early Christmas dinner in England was a whole pig prepared with mustard, but thank goodness in modern times the traditional turkey took over and the “porker” was relegated to sizzling in the pan for our early morning wake-up breakfast. Ukrainians prepare a 12-course meal on Christmas Day, which is served from morning to night.

In 1969 American billionaire Ross Perot attempted to airlift 28 tons of medicine and Christmas gifts and a little joy to the P.O.W.s in North Vietnam, and somehow succeeded.

One of the most refreshing treats of every festive season is to make sure to stop and take some precious and stress less time after the feasts, the follies, the gift exchange, the shopping, and all the rest. We can choose to relax or grab a quick snooze in our favourite chair, hit the gym, or head outside and enjoy the brisk winter air, to walk, to skate, or to slide down the best local hill with the rest of the clan. Over these holidays there should be no worry about our over-indulging, spending too much money, or missing sleep … because we will always have all of January to chase our New Year’s resolutions, to lose weight, to balance the budget, and to make great plans for the year ahead.

Whatever the case, please have a jolly time preparing for Christmas, drive carefully, and always remember that the best gift of the festive season is the giving and sharing the joy with each other. Have a great week, all of you.

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