10 Dec
A Christmas Tradition in Saskatchewan


Journal Entry: 1996

Tomorrow, my mother-in-law will be wearing green or red. I will wear my old red coat with the big, fuzzy cuffs and collar. I will pick her up in my car, and we will drive to The Western Development Museum, through softly falling snow. We’ll talk about the joys of the season and listen to Christmas music gently flowing from my car stereo. We’ll be doing what we’ve done for twenty years; we’ll be enjoying our tradition.

First, we’ll eat lunch in the museum restaurant. We’ll order turkey soup and Christmas pudding and linger over two cups of coffee. I’ll forget my work schedule, and she’ll forget her worries. We will prepare to experience life as it was in 1910.

As we stroll through Boom Town, she will tell me, once again, about her life as a little girl. She was born in 1920 and came from England to settle in Montreal in 1924. Her memories are magical. I will hear, again, about how she fell in love with a pharmacist from the prairies, and how she moved back to Saskatchewan with him in 1951. As we enter the Once Upon a Christmas display, I will remind her about the annual trips we made to the city, when my daughters were small, to view this display when it belonged to the Eaton’s department store. We started that tradition in 1976. We’ll acknowledge that we miss Eaton’s.

As my mother-in-law and I enter the gift shop, it will thrill us to see Christmas overflowing into the foyer. The ladies will give us special shopping bags, if we buy enough. I will take note of the items my mother-in-law admires and slip back to purchase them at a later date. There will be time for tea and a huge ginger cookie, because it is 1910 and we have no reason to hurry. 

We will giggle and talk as we carry our treasures to my car and place them reverently into the trunk. I will open her door, get her settled, and then pause to deeply breathe the cool, clean air into my lungs. I will smile as I sweep sparkly, fluffy, snow from my car. We will drive to her home, aware that the stars are beginning to appear in the black sky. We will marvel at the one red ribbon that forms the horizon.

We will say our goodbyes. Our hug will be longer than my British mother-in-law usually allows. Maybe on these occasions, we inadvertently invite our ancestors to join us. We have found the perfect tradition to join the generations.  

My mother-in-law in 2000

At the museum in 2013




Comments (12)

  • Pearl Hipkin
    December 21, 2016 at 07:34 am

    I so enjoy reading this each year ! So nice you were able to keep the tradition again this season. Please pass on Christmas greeting to her. Thanks for sharing this wonderful tradition.

  • Isabelle Mills
    September 20, 2015 at 08:31 pm

    What a truly delightful story of love and caring.

  • Carol Senger
    September 18, 2015 at 11:35 am

    What a lovely tradition the two of you have. You are a master of words!

  • Margare Jones
    September 18, 2015 at 09:42 am

    Dear Maureen, I am touched by many emotions reading this blog for so many reasons. Pause, have to wipe the tears. Why tears? They are of, sadness, love, longing and appreciation for you, your mom and for al of us on this inevitable journey. Life takes such courage at times. Love, Margaret

  • ralph johnstone
    December 11, 2014 at 08:42 am

    It was a delight to read of your wonderful annual visits to the W.D.M. Your day together sounds so very special and heart warming. I can only hope that someday down the road someone will care enough to do the same for me. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marion Murawsky
    December 10, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Maureen, Such lovely memories. I just wish I could tell my memories as eloquently as you do. Love it. Marion

  • Bev Gardner
    December 10, 2014 at 01:36 pm

    Beautiful Christmas Tradition Maureen!

  • Pat Senecal
    December 10, 2014 at 01:30 pm

    Blessed memories...always so lovely to hear. You are an angel on earth, Maureen. Gordie chose well...all those years ago..when you were both young kids.

  • Dianne Peterson
    December 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I can picture the two of you, and I remember well how Marjorie would tell me of your day at the Museum. The Christmas pudding was always mentioned. Since she is no longer my neighbour, I miss hearing her stories. We even went to the Museum a few times when they had their Christmas sale at the store. I will visit her this holiday season, and will ask about your trip this year.

  • Margaret Jones
    December 10, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Heart warming, lovely tradition. You weave the love and magic into your stories.

  • gayle senger
    December 10, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Absolutey beautiful. You certainly have the Christmas spirit. May I call you Mrs. CLAUS??

  • Carol Senger
    December 10, 2014 at 10:54 am

    What a lovely tradition the two of you have, not to mention the memories! Maureen, you have such a lovely way of writing!

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