Christmas traditions are part of today’s festivities for the Fairview couple

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Rick Nicholson has fond memories of Christmases from his childhood until today, and he and his wife Linda carry on long-standing traditions.

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“The whole Christmas season as children; we have amazing memories. My parents – Clara and Ken – Christmas was really important to them. Dad was involved in a partnership in the sawmill business. Mom was a stay-at-home mom. There was not a lot of money. They must have saved up throughout the year. We would have an incredible amount of gifts under the Christmas tree.

“Mom decorated the house with banners. Our tradition was to come home after midnight mass and open all the presents, then have that big meal – ham, potato gratin and all the trimmings. “

Nicholson doesn’t have a favorite dish. “I like pretty much any food,” he laughed. One of the dishes he remembers is part of the festivities he and Linda have celebrated to this day. “As we move into New Years, we ate goose for dinner,” Nicholson said. “Linda and I have tried to keep this tradition alive, but goose is hard to find in stores these days. We had a goose from the Hutterite colony and we continue to do so – a goose on New Years Day. ”

There were lots of homemade Christmas gifts, including shirts sewn by Nicholson’s mother and woolen mittens made by his grandmother. Before the big day, Nicholson and his siblings Dan, Shirley and Celeste had a blast browsing the annual Christmas Eatons and Sears catalogs, choosing their favorite toys.

“We couldn’t just watch one day – we went back at least twice – at least,” Nicholson said. “We let our parents know what we wanted.” (It helped her mom and dad read the Christmas letters their children wrote.)

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Once the gifts were unwrapped and carefully checked, it was time to eat. Nicholson recalled that with the turkey, “Mom used to make half an hour’s pudding with hot sauce and raisins and stuff on it.” Linda is doing it today.

“We had tangerines – they came in wooden crates – and cookies. We have always had a natural tree and we all helped decorate it. In the myriad of decorations, there were strips of popcorn wrapped around the tree. And garlands – a lot. “Mom really liked garlands, so our tree was just covered in garlands,” Nicholson said. “And candle-shaped lights: clear colored glass and a liquid inside that bubbled up when the lights were on.”

Santa Claus was a wonderful symbol of the joy of Christmas. But it did arrive one day, Nicholson said, where it was “finally unleashed: there was no Santa Claus.” I heard it at school; I didn’t really believe them because I wanted them to be true. But Christmas continued and so did he.

Years later, Nicholson and his brother Dan were in business together, which took time away from their families during the Christmas season. Either way, they have done their best to balance this schedule while spending some precious time with family and friends. “We had to keep some traditions,” Nicholson said. “They were so important.”

Ever since Nicholson and his wife began raising their family, they’ve reunited with other families in the area to find Christmas trees. Once everyone found the tree they wanted, the meeting ended with a roast sausage. Nicholson said, “Even though our kids are gone, we will get together with other couples, find a tree and socialize.”

Joanne McQuarrie / Postmedia Staff

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