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  • Andrew Andersen


Andrew Andersen Victoria, BC

The photograph on the left captures my grandmother (born in 1900), while the one on the right features her uncle, who passed away 40 years before my birth. Regrettably, his name has slipped from my memory, as the tales about him were sparse during my early years. Only his last name lingers in my recollections. What I do recall, however, is my grandmother's account that he was regarded as a reveler and an adventurer, and that he perished somewhere in the colonies in the early 1920s.

But what prompted me to reflect upon them today? In truth, it was the evocation of the Christmas spirit and the essence of Christmas gifts.

My grandmother retained vivid memories of the presents she received from her uncle. On a particular Christmas Eve, he presented her with an exotic colonial delicacy - an orange, meticulously wrapped in tissue paper. Just ONE orange! This anecdote is poignant, considering that the family was neither destitute nor stingy. On another occasion, also on the eve of Christmas, her cherished uncle bestowed a diminutive cardboard box with two compartments: one cradled a small, exquisite doll, while the other sheltered a 1.5" celluloid ball (in those times, as I gather, such a ball was the coveted dream of every young child) ...

These gifts etched themselves into my grandmother's memories for a lifetime, much like the enchanting ambiance of Christmas. Yet, the contemporary scene contrasts sharply. In today's Christmas celebrations (which have become nearly taboo, as you might be aware), children amass an abundance of gifts (largely comprising disposable plastic goods manufactured in China) that they promptly forget within days… And what of the once-cherished Christmas atmosphere? It has dissipated into thin air. More than likely, it has vanished irrevocably...

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