News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2138
07212018Sat
Last updateFri, 20 Jul 2018 1pm

Days of Christmas past

lilo-rolf.jpg

    Christmas was a very traditional affair for Lilo Rolf, 73, who lived in Germany as a child. Before Christmas Day, one room in the house was closed off to the children, and Lilo recalls being told by her mother that angels were busy decorating the Christmas tree in the locked room.
 The children eagerly waited for Christmas Eve when their father would ring a bell to let them know the festivities could start.  Lilo remembers fondly the excitement she felt when the french doors were finally opened to reveal a tall decorated Christmas tree with red candles and unwrapped presents placed beneath it, and Christmas music was playing in the background.
    Red candles played a big part during this season. A month before Christmas, four red candles were placed on a wreath and one candle was lit each four Sundays before Christmas Day.  The candles on the tree also provided great fun to the children as they would place bets on which candle would last the longest.
    Before presents were opened on Christmas day, the family sung traditional songs, Silent Night being a favourite, and Christmas stories would be told before sitting down to eat a goose served with red cabbage and potatoes.
    The presents of choice in those days were dolls and carriages for the girls, pewter soldiers for the boys and under the tree, each child would also find their very own plate of goodies containing chocolate, cookies, nuts and oranges.  Lilo recalls her favorite gift very fondly: “During the war, you couldn’t get any dolls, and right after the war  I wished for a doll and I got it!”
    Resident of Sunshine Lodge Hilda Hutter, 97, remembers a very similar Christmas to Lilo’s as she too lived in Germany as a child. As per the German tradition, Christmas started on the 6th December, St. Nicholas Day.  When the tree was being decorated by their mother, the children were asked to retire to their room.
    “Seeing the Christmas tree all lit up was my favorite moment”, smiles Hilda. She and her brothers and sisters were lucky enough to occasionally be allowed to open their presents on Christmas Eve after midnight mass.
    “We didn’t have many presents… but what we wanted for Christmas, we mostly got” explains Hilda, “and my favourite present was a Knirps umbrella, that you could fold and put it in your handbag”.
    Under the Christmas tree, she too would find her very own plate filled with chocolate, an orange, a nice red apple and a handful of nuts.
    “We didn’t have turkey, we had good roast beef and vegetables, and gravy and mostly we had really good vanilla pudding”.
    She remembers the story her mother used to tell when the sky was red: “oh look, they are cooking the cookies, that’s why the sky is red.”
    Oliva Rovere, resident of Sunshine Lodge, whose childhood Christmases were spent on a farm in Italy remembers a very different Christmas.  La Befana, a good witch dressed in black, the Italian version of Santa Claus, was the one distributing the presents in wooden shoes children would place at the window.
    “We were excited to find our shoe full of fruits, candies… and popcorn!” laughs Oliva.  They were very poor, but there was a lot of excitement. “We waited and we were excited to see what we were going to get”, recalls Oliva.
    It was also a busy time as altogether, there were 24 family members celebrating Natale, Italian name for Christmas, and they all  enjoyed a festive lunch of turkey or chicken.
     Another resident of the Sunshine Lodge, Claudia Lefferson spent most of her Christmases on a farm in Saskatchewan so enjoyed a white Christmas.  She remembers fondly playing in the snow with her brothers and sisters, waiting to be called in when it was time to open the presents.
    Her favorite memory was when her dad came back from Prince Albert one day before Christmas, with a little house they were not allowed to touch until Christmas. When the time came to open it, they discovered the house, made of chocolate, also turned out to be filled with chocolate.
    Claudia remembers her best present very well: “a little camera, a Brownie 127.” Their gifts consisted of an item of clothing and a toy.  Early afternoon, they would enjoy a festive meal of turkey, cooked in the wood stove, with potatoes and all the trimmings.
    They spent the day playing with their toys. “We didn’t have any music though as we didn’t have electricity in those days”.
    Eventually, her family moved away from the farm into a small town called Viscount, and closer to her great uncles and aunts. “This is my best memory, we were all together, I really enjoyed those Christmases,  who knew if they were going to be here next Christmas? What was important was to be together, as a family”, she said.
    All said they found Christmas a bit too big and too commercial nowadays…but it seems the excitement a child feels on Christmas Eve remains the most memorable moment of Christmas, were you a child then or now.    

27th annual Christmas dinner tradition continues at O’Shea’s

christmas-dinner-new.jpg

    A Drumheller tradition continues this Christmas day at O’Shea’s Restaurant with the annual Santa’s Christmas Dinner.
    The original event was started by three local families in 1983, simply because there were no restaurants open on Christmas Day. It has now become a place to enjoy Christmas dinner in the company of others.
    “The event has been running 27 years. I’ve been involved for 15 years. I remember being a young teenager singing a special version of Jingle Bells with Billie and Brock Wood, Sandy McDonald, my grandfather, Bev Cole with Delmar Adie playing the keyboard. Our goal now is to carry on the great tradition that they started,” said Bob Sheddy, one of the volunteers helping out with this year’s event.
    Local patrons grace the event for a number of reasons. Some may decide not to cook they are not expecting guests, or maybe are too busy to cook a formal dinner. For others it may be impossible to be with family this season because many live out of town, and are not able to travel. For still others it has become a social event where friends celebrate the season.
    “Everyone is welcome at the annual Santa’s Christmas Dinner, and the only prerequisite is having the Christmas Spirit,” said Sheddy. “ In fact, some have made it a tradition to bring their family to the dinner year after year.”
    “Our staff at Century 21 work hard each December planning, organizing and helping the event come together. We all feel very fortunate to be able to give back to the community with events like this,” says Gary Chambers of Century 21 PowerRealty.ca.    
    The event has previously been held at the Elks Club, Drumheller Inn, Stavros and Boston Pizza. Most recently, O’Shea’s is the venue. Chris and Heather Jones, (who operate both Boston Pizza and O’Shea’s), have acted in a generous manner allowing their restaurants to be the site of the event for the last few years.
    “We’re honoured to have the dinner at O’Shea’s this year,” commented Cam Christianson, of Canalta. “It’s a great group of people to spend Christmas with.”
    The meal includes a homemade turkey dinner with all the fixings, coffee, pie, dessert, chocolates and great company. Rick Dipietro from Canadian Linen is supplying the white linen tablecloths and festive red napkins, a detail that has remained from the beginning.
    The organizers will also have a shuttle running for those who need a ride to the event. They will also  be happy to deliver care packages for those who can’t make it out.
    The organizers are still looking for entertainment for this year. For more information on this event, contact Bob Sheddy at 403-324-2222. On the day of the event, for pickup or delivery, you can call 403-823-2222 or O’Shea’s at 403-823-2460.

27th annual Christmas dinner tradition continues at O’Shea’s

christmas-dinner-new.jpg

    A Drumheller tradition continues this Christmas day at O’Shea’s Restaurant with the annual Santa’s Christmas Dinner.
    The original event was started by three local families in 1983, simply because there were no restaurants open on Christmas Day. It has now become a place to enjoy Christmas dinner in the company of others.
    “The event has been running 27 years. I’ve been involved for 15 years. I remember being a young teenager singing a special version of Jingle Bells with Billie and Brock Wood, Sandy McDonald, my grandfather, Bev Cole with Delmar Adie playing the keyboard. Our goal now is to carry on the great tradition that they started,” said Bob Sheddy, one of the volunteers helping out with this year’s event.
    Local patrons grace the event for a number of reasons. Some may decide not to cook they are not expecting guests, or maybe are too busy to cook a formal dinner. For others it may be impossible to be with family this season because many live out of town, and are not able to travel. For still others it has become a social event where friends celebrate the season.
    “Everyone is welcome at the annual Santa’s Christmas Dinner, and the only prerequisite is having the Christmas Spirit,” said Sheddy. “ In fact, some have made it a tradition to bring their family to the dinner year after year.”
    “Our staff at Century 21 work hard each December planning, organizing and helping the event come together. We all feel very fortunate to be able to give back to the community with events like this,” says Gary Chambers of Century 21 PowerRealty.ca.    
    The event has previously been held at the Elks Club, Drumheller Inn, Stavros and Boston Pizza. Most recently, O’Shea’s is the venue. Chris and Heather Jones, (who operate both Boston Pizza and O’Shea’s), have acted in a generous manner allowing their restaurants to be the site of the event for the last few years.
    “We’re honoured to have the dinner at O’Shea’s this year,” commented Cam Christianson, of Canalta. “It’s a great group of people to spend Christmas with.”
    The meal includes a homemade turkey dinner with all the fixings, coffee, pie, dessert, chocolates and great company. Rick Dipietro from Canadian Linen is supplying the white linen tablecloths and festive red napkins, a detail that has remained from the beginning.
    The organizers will also have a shuttle running for those who need a ride to the event. They will also  be happy to deliver care packages for those who can’t make it out.
    The organizers are still looking for entertainment for this year. For more information on this event, contact Bob Sheddy at 403-324-2222. On the day of the event, for pickup or delivery, you can call 403-823-2222 or O’Shea’s at 403-823-2460.

Ask The Experts