Angela Meady -

A Slovak-Danish-Finnish Canadian Christmas


Music was a big part of our Christmas time, and records of carols would be playing non-stop. My sisters would get their violins and I would get my accordion and we would practice our own versions of the carols to play later for family and friends. In my opinion, Silent Night was best played on the violin, but nothing could beat the accordion for the pounding minor chords of We Three Kings. The piano accordion however, is a devilish thing to carry over the snowbanks when you go visiting.

 Christmas Eve brought so much anticipatory excitement that I'd usually get a sore stomach. Faced with a beautiful array of foods, I'd usually only be able to eat a little turkey and maybe some of those Japanese oranges laid out in bowls everywhere. But mother would have made a great spread including all of  the traditional Canadian dishes. My father would say grace, and then break the oplatky, giving a piece to each of us. Midway through dinner, my mother would announce that she had forgotten the ice cream and leave to get it and my father would convince us that we should sing a carol or two while we waited. Unbeknownst to us, my mother had exited the back door picking up bags of gifts disguised as garbage, run around to the front in her stockinged feet through the snow , to enter the front room where she spilled the gifts out under the tree , rang a little bell and ran back, picking up the ice cream from the snow in the backyard. One of us would have heard the little bell and rumours would start that Santa was in the other room. Pandemonium would break out as my mother returned looking unruffled while we all looked a little crazed. Somehow we ate the peppermint ice cream and then we were released to see what was going  on in the other room. Wet snow on the rug was the convincing evidence that Santa had just been there, depositing the mountain of gifts we saw sprawling out from under the tree.

 One present stands out in my memory. Although I'd never cared for dolls I saw one once at the church bazaar which caught my imagination. She was a teenaged doll about 15 inches tall with lush brown hair and upon investigation of the second hand toy, we could see that she had a spot for batteries and had once been able to walk ! My mother explained that she was broken and that we didn't have any money left for extra toys, but I was haunted by the doll I named "Yvonne".  In my letter to Santa I only asked for one thing, and although I thought that it might be impossible I clung with hope to the idea that I might take Yvonne for a walk on Christmas Eve. There among the presents that Christmas I saw one which looked like an apple box with a tuft of dark hair sticking out, and I knew - the impossible had been delivered to me. There was Yvonne, her brown hair shining and her skin cleaned up and perfect, wearing a new dress made by my mother. No other present had the same sense of magic that I felt as I hugged and kissed Yvonne, but would she walk? We tried over and over but nothing until my father pulled some tinsel off the tree and stuffed it around the batteries. I hit the walking switch again and this time she whirred into life and she bent her leg to take a step! It seemed perfect logic that my Christmas miracle doll would only run on Christmas tinsel.

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 Story and Photos © 1998 by Angela Meady - ameady@loon.norlink.net
All comments should be forwarded to Ondro Mihal at omihal@slovak.com.

All contents copyright © 1998.All rights reserved.
Revised: Dec 21, 1998