The Winter House and other Christmas stories from Atlantic Canada (Nimbus Publishing 2011) offers stories about "Christmases past and present, real and imagined...unique and memorable" by writers such as Gary L. Saunders, David Adams Richards, Bruce Nunn, and Jennifer Wade.
Gary Saunders' story, “The Winter House,” is such a wonderful real-life story about living in a ‘winter house’ instead of the cold drafty summer house. His father leaves each month with the dogsled and supplies to check out his trap lines. Caribou steaks frying in pork fat, spruce gum, and lamplight evoke sensory memories. Christmas in the winter house is a highlight of Gary's young life.
Norman Creighton, longtime CBC broadcaster from 1940-1970's gives us a living picture of Christmas Eve in Hantsport, NS titled “Christmas Eve in a Small Town.” You can see the houses and streets lit up with Christmas decorations bright enough to "be seen from away down the bay" as the gypsum boats make their way to the dock to be loaded up. Rows of cars driven by lovers and sweethearts of out-of-town crewmen flash their lights to welcome them into port.
Creighton writes of a time gone by—yet still the heart of Christmas remains, the special anticipation that Christmas morning will bring something wonderful, be it an orange in the foot of a stocking, or a strudel loaf decorated in green and red icing baked by a friend " who learned it from her grandmother in Lunenburg how strudel bread is baked". Each story is a gift of memory and heart in this poignant, heartwarming treasury of holidays in our Atlantic provinces.
A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories (Beacon Press 2018) was my second find. It is the 3rd volume of African American Christmas stories compiled and edited by Bettye Collier-Thomas. The stories were originally serialized in black-owned newspapers like the Christian Recorder and Coloured American Magazine between 1880 and 1953 because the writers were often excluded from the white press. They use Christmas themes to draw attention to the relationship of American values to continuing segregation and discrimination but also to illustrate the deep faith of many—a time to