The young girl doesn’t play in front of her family often. She’s shy, still taking lessons and is not one to be willingly thrust into limelight. But each year, on the same evening, in front of the same three people, she musters up the courage to play. Her apprehension is a mystery to those in the room as she plays with finesse, confidence and offers the subtleties in the notes those carols demand. It’s Christmas Eve, and it’s an adored tradition her brother and parents, especially, have watched since she first sat as a child behind the ivory keys.
He doesn’t get some much these days. He’s been working out west since finishing the pipefitting course at the local college 11 years back and immediately went to where the money was. It’s work to and from the camps, but his rotation wasn’t kind enough to have him work from western Newfoundland. So, now, he’s based in Fort McMurray. The money’s good, and he’s managed to put side enough each paycheque to allow him one trip home a year. That money only got him a three-day when the downturn hit, but now that work is steady, he’s getting two weeks this year. He counts himself lucky every year — for his health, for his livelihood, for his pet beagle, but mostly because he’s never had to spend the morning of Dec. 25 away from his parents home in western Newfoundland. His family won’t speak the words aloud, but they’re counting each year of this blessing. too.
The first year she walked her boys through the decorating of shortbread cookies, they were toddlers, barely able to pronounce exactly what they were making. The icing came in many colours, but mostly of green and red, emblematic of the season ahead. As the boys grew, the cookies became elaborate, as sprinkles were introduced and colour schemes were used to give life to characters and depth to the sweetness of the toppings. As the boys grew to be teens, the birth of a sister ensure the tradition remained. And as the youngest of the three was ready to leave home, the introduction of grandchild kept the ritual alive and well through another generation. It only happens once a year, on the eve of Christmas Eve. It was always about much more than cookies.
There is no “true meaning of Christmas” that fits one and all.
It’s never been about a singular event or activity, not always steeped in religion and rarely evolved around consumerism. While most get caught up in the giving and receiving of physical gifts, it’s not solely about that either.
This holiday, really, is about anything you want it to be. And, at The Western Star, while we’re not ones to dictate, we would ask that you keep your holiday filled with warm hearts, treasured friends, loving family and kindness that flows beyond the brim of every cup you serve.