As most of us are up to here in preparations for Christmas Present we cannot stop ourselves from revisiting Christmases Past. Why just the other day I was sharing my “remember when” moments with some of my younger workmates.
I was telling them that when I was growing up by Christmas Day the old Simpson’s Sears Christmas Catalogue, the forerunner of today’s Sears’ Wish Book, was so tattered and torn by me, my brother and my sisters that it was unrecognizable. I know how the catalogue became the “WishBook” because my siblings and I couldn’t have been the only children in the country who spent so many hours flipping through the pages of that catalogue wishing for most of the things in it. And in those days the catalogue didn’t arrive in June, or something, so we only had a couple of months to wear out the pages.
And no, I’m not going to get all “back in my day” and “walking uphill both ways to and from school” and stuff on you but suffice it to say that the times were a lot different, when I was a kid growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s, than it is today. Not better, not worse, just different.
At our house we didn’t have the colourful store-bought stockings with your name embroidered on them that “were hung by the chimney with care” we had some of Dad’s wool grey socks that were tacked to the armrests on the fronts of the chesterfield and armchairs in the living room for Santa to fill. My wife tells me that she hung her Dad’s sock from the top of the buffet drawer in their living room. Necessity being the mother of invention and all.
We actually did get “candy and nuts” in our stockings and maybe a Christmas Orange because they were a real treat back then. The tasty and expensive little Mandarin oranges used to come in wooden boxes and were wrapped in green paper and were only available to Canadians around Christmas time, thus, “Christmas Orange”. If we children had been particularly good that year, or Father’s Christmas bonus had exceeded expectations, as it were, then we’d get a few small toys, like a Matchbox car, or a capgun, or something, in the stocking, too.
For all of my wishing for the big and expensive toys to appear under our Christmas Tree the one item that I really looked forward to and knew would be there every year was a brand new Victoriaville hockey stick and the first year that one didn’t appear under the tree, when I was sixteen or something, I was a pretty sad boy.
I remember that my best friend back then, Gordie Bennett, had most of the coolest stuff, which I had been coveting from those Simpsons-Sears catalogues, stacked away in his bedroom closet. He had the 007 Super Spy set, attaché case and all, and he had a chemistry set, and a plastic machine gun that actually made the shooting sound by itself and he even had a “Mouse Trap” game in there. But we hardly ever played with his super-cool gadgets as we spent most of our time wearing out our Victoriaville hockey sticks in the road-hockey games that were going on all the time.
When it was too cold or stormy to play street-hockey we would play for hours on end with the greatest Christmas gift that my brother and I ever got…a table top rod-hockey game that had interchangeable teams and a centre ice puck dropper and goal lights and a little replica of the Stanley Cup. Man o man the hours we spent playing that game.
Now the 2011 version of Christmas is upon us and as we celebrate the birth of Christ our families will be building new memories to cherish for years and years to come. From my family to yours here’s hoping that your wishes will come true and you and yours will have a very memorable and Merry Christmas.
“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness.” -Bob Hope (1903-2002).
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