As a special feature, the Rimbey Review invited a number of local residents to tell readers about what made or makes Christmas a special time of the year or some of their fondest memories of Christmases past. The reflections of those who chose to participate are listed below.
“My fondest Christmas memory was December 1978 when our parents had gave us a brand new snow machine for Christmas. This was a very big thing for us coming from a farm family that didn’t have a whole lot of money to be spent on this kind of gift. That gift gave us hours and hours of fun and I hope that our parents know how much it was appreciated.”
– Brenda Dial, stenographer Rimbey RCMP Detachment
“Christmas is one of my favourite times of year. The lights, the smells, the sounds, the people shopping, the goodwill all warm my heart. At Christmas we take special notice of what we celebrate all year long – the generosity of God in becoming human.
As a Christian, I have an obligation to be generous to others – both in the sharing of my worldly goods, and in the sharing of my time. This is a lesson I learned at an early age in my family.
“Dad was the town Santa for approximately 40 years. While other families were able to share a relaxing Christmas morning around the tree – our morning celebration had to be rushed so that Santa could be in town, with the Lions, visiting the hospitals, lodges, neighbours, shut-ins and any children in their homes that he was notified were sick. This sometimes frustrated my Mom as she wanted her husband to spend Christmas morning with his family. We knew, however, the importance of this gift of time that Dad was willing to give.
“Years later when my daughter asked if there really was a Santa Claus I was able to tell her without any hesitation that as long as there were people like her Papa that were willing to give up their Christmas morning to make other people happy there would always be a Santa.
“Sometimes Christians get hung up on taking the secularism out of Christmas and turning it into a strictly religious celebration. I so disagree with this – it is through our interactions with others, in buying gifts, offering greetings, enjoying ourselves, and giving of our time that we emulate God in becoming Christ for others.”
– Jean Keetch, head librarian – Rimbey Municipal Library
“For me Christmas and the Yuletide season is about family and friends and tradition.
I remember hand-written personal notes and letters included inside Christmas cards mailed with a special Christmas stamp. Even the postal service used to give Christmas mail a break. Christmas cards could be sent for two cents less than regular mail during the holiday season. As the cost rose, people started sending fewer and fewer cards.
“Receiving cards was a highlight. They were displayed around the house in various ways. When you visited, other people had done the same thing. Christmas cards were part of the decorating scheme. But a lot of that has given way to modern technology (e-mail, faxing,
texting, etc.) Somehow getting e-mailed cards, even with attached photos and cute moving graphics, etc. is just not the same.
“The traditional family get-together with the traditional family meal with traditional family fare has somehow changed for many too. With family members spread further apart geographically now and more combined families, people try to split their precious little holiday time between everyone they want to visit.
“Community Christmas concerts were eagerly awaited. They drew an entire community together. All joined in skits and plays, family performances and traditional carol singing. Santa might even pay a visit to the community church or hall and hand out goodie bags. Not like lining up to visit Santa at a mall and pay for a quick posed photo.
“Political correctness was not an issue. Everyone you met wished a “Merry Christmas” with a friendly handshake or hug extended.
“I like some of the older customs better, so from me and my family to you and yours Merry Christmas, happy New Year, and best wishes to you all in the future”.
– June Norvila, Bentley correspondent Rimbey Review