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Archive for November, 2014

Friday night many couples from the community attended a turkey supper with all the trimmings at our local restaurant. Lots of visiting and talk of the recent cold spell, plans for Christmas and more weather stories, all combined to get folks in the mood to celebrate our village Christmas kick-off.

Cold weather did not keep people away from attending our village seasonal start to Christmas.  The morning starts with a pancake breakfast, followed by a Christmas market, a family movie, a visit from Santa, a pot luck supper and to finish a BINGO to wrap things up for another year.

There are sleigh rides and the fire department has an open house with hot chocolate and goodies to enjoy and our Santa knows each child and family by name.  The goodie bags Santa gives each girl and boy are stuffed full of homemade goodies, a Mandarin orange, a juice box, chocolate treats, a yummy candy cane and ribbon candy.

The team of black Percheron horses pulling the sleigh are decked out with ornamental harnesses and jingle bells. A truly picture perfect scene for the holiday season.

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All these things serve to remind me why I love living in a rural environment. Christmas is a genuine feeling that magically fills each one of us and is not manufactured in a store.

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And it Begins

With the November 11th ceremonies and well deserved thanks offered, my thoughts begin to turn to the upcoming Christmas season, bolstered by the relentless media onslaught with their seasonal advertising.  The debate between ‘happy holidays’ and ‘Merry Christmas’ has once again surfaced, holiday entertaining, purchasing tips and ideas are offered and every store and community event has Santa stopping in to visit. Parents have a difficult job shielding their children from the excessive manufacturing of the ‘ideal’ Christmas.

To make the Christmas season special, I propose the use of an Advent calendar to help children count down the days with an explanation of what the Advent season means. Next, I would let them watch one appropriate to age and stage special Christmas program a night, accompanied with a treat like popcorn and hot chocolate as you enjoy it together. If possible, I would take the children to one outside event a week, such as the Nutcracker ballet done by a local troupe, one night of seeing the Christmas light displays in a neighbourhood or designated area, a recreational event like skating or sledding and most importantly, an act of charity. The children could pick out a gift for a child of the same age and gender to donate for Santa’s Anonymous or similar organization; they could shop for groceries for a local food bank, and they can shop for mittens and toques to donate to a shelter that helps the homeless and they could clear snow from a sidewalk of a senior citizen.  Teen children can volunteer time with many charities in your area for some more hands on work to reinforce the importance of giving.

People wonder how many gifts each child should receive and there is some excellent guidelines to help with those decisions.  One school of thought is three gifts because that is how  many the Christ child received; the other is 1 thing they want, 1 thing they need, 1 thinking to read and one thing to wear.

No matter what choices a family makes I hope they will allow their children to believe in Santa Claus and that Christmas is a magical time to be a child. They grow up way too fast in a world that can be big, scary and we all need to believe in something wonderful.

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The mixed fruit soaked overnight in dark rum and today it was time to make my Christmas cakes. As I have for the past 42 years I add a little of this and a little of that until it is spiced to my standard; this of course requires tasting. The side effect of this is that I end up being a bit tipsy by the time the batter is ready to be put into the prepared pans for baking. A slow oven and delicious aromas make the house feel warm and inviting while I sit and sip cups of tea and start looking through my treasured Christmas books and magazines. This is my time and the memories that are rekindled and the hope of the season to come, fill me with a joy and peace few can understand and fewer still can appreciate.
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November Begins

After a busy night with all sorts of princesses, pirates and several, little monsters coming to my door seeking treats to save myself from tricks, November dawned clear and fair. This weather will be supplanted by a heavy snowfall forecast for this evening. Winter will have arrived and my thoughts are turning inward to domestic responsibilities and plans to see me through until next spring.

I have to get my fruit soaking in dark rum so I can make my Christmas cake tomorrow, seems like a good idea to use my extra hour as daylight saving time will end tonight.

As I find missing family and friends I know my thoughts will turn to them as I get out my Christmas cards to write out and begin to wrap the gifts I have been acquiring all year for my “kidlets.” I even brought in some containers of Christmas decorations (more to beat the snow than anything) to Christmasfy right after Remembrance Day.

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