Thursday, December 23, 2021


        When I was a child in the 40's our Christmas Day  was a major celebration. It was very different from  what happens today.

        What I remember is after the war. The economy was better and there were no more ration restrictions. So we were able to enjoy things that were not available in the recent past. 

        There were many preparations and these were entirely my mother's efforts. There was a tremendous amount of baking done pre Christmas. Christmas cakes took the biggest effort. Many other things were baked: shortbread, ginger bread cookies, Chinese chews. matrimonial cake, mince meat pies, Christmas puddings , fudge and other things that my brothers will have to remind me about.  As you can see my Mom did a tremendous amount of Christmas baking.

      The merchandise in our local stores was quite limited. Clothes and many other items were ordered from the Eaton's catalog. There was usually one big parcel that came from Eatons and we were not allowed to see any of it so this is where she got our Christmas presents. 

      Before the economy picked up the three of us received a tricycle for Christmas. Another Christmas we got a dog. After the war they were able to afford individual gifts for us. We usually got a book, a toy , a game. or some clothes. We also got some small gifts from grandparents and Aunts and uncles.  There was much excitement over these gifts. So much excitement that we were sometimes awake and out before 5:00 AM. We were sent back to bed but were still up early to open gifts. It was bedlam with 4 little kids. 

     Our Christmas day activities were huge. We celebrated with Mom's cousin. There were 12 people altogether. If Mom had Christmas , her cousin Margaret did the same on New year's day. The next year it would be reversed.

     I grew up in a rural community. Our roads were blocked with snow in the winter and we had very old cars. As a result winter travel was with horses. Our cousins would arrive just before noon and the horses were put in the barn.

     The big meal took place at noon. 

     Preparing the Christmas meal took tremendous effort. Turkey was the main item on the menu. They only grew 25 lb turkeys at that time! So we had stuffing , gravy, mashed potato, creamed corn and another vegetable. We were not able to get cranberries . Lettuce and other produce was not sold in our local stores so we didn't have salads. The country stores didn't have coolers and no electricity so they didn't sell produce. We sometimes had a jellied salad. These meals were prepared with wood stoves. There was no refrigeration or coolers and no running water. But these meals were some of the best that I remember eating. 

     We all sat down together to eat. Food was passed around in large bowls. Generous second helpings were common. 

     And then there was dessert! Christmas pudding and mince meat pie. Yes both of them at the same meal. 

    So our Christmas day was so huge that I have to describe it in two posts.