By Bruce Holland, Publisher
Christmas for me growing up in the small fishing village of Shad Bay was always a joyous occasion filled with warm hearts, great food, and some loving traditions!
As my memory serves me, more often than not, there was always snow on the ground. Winters were filled with crisp snow under foot and huge snowbanks that we could spend all day in, digging tunnels with little rooms at the end where we would sit worn out from all the digging, admiring the network of tunnels.
When we went home Mom would have a lovely hot supper on the stove that I’m sure smelled like heaven. “Hang up those wet close and wash up!”, Mom would tell us as we came in the door, so hungry we raced through the washing up and ran to the table. Even though we were a family of eight children there always seemed to be just enough. Dad would say Grace and then it was a frenzy of food being passed around with I hush falling over the table as everyone began to eat.
The rare time this would change was on Christmas Eve. Usually, it was a lighter meal with everyone going about readying for the festivities that would follow on Christmas Day. Sisters and brothers would take turns, it seemed, going somewhere in the house to hide and wrap the little gifts that we had somehow found to give to Mom and Dad and one another.
Christmas morning, we would try to get up as early as possible, excited to open our gifts, but always got shewed back to bed by Mom and Dad until they said it was okay to get up. Wrapping paper would be flying everywhere as eight exuberant children would look to see if they got what they asked for from Santa. After the excitement died down and breakfast was over it was time to start preparing for what always seemed to me to be the best, most delicious meal of the year! If you dared to go to the kitchen while the meal was being prepared you were sure to be put to work preparing something, but you could also be sure you would get a treat as well.
When we got to be teenagers, I loved the tradition of going to mid-night Mass, which led to the tradition of having ham and eggs when we got home (cooked by Dad, who rarely prepared the meals) and then each person opening one gift, listening to some of Mom and Dad’s favourite Christmas music.
Oh, how I loved those days. Somehow life seemed a lot simpler.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!