December 23, 2009

A Child's Christmas in North End Halifax

The Tree 2009

I am sure my sister, Heather, as well, remembers how much our father loved Christmas. A working man of very limited means in north end Halifax, he somehow managed to provide adequate gifts for seven (!) children and full stockings on Chrismas morning. We had bowls of traditional Nova Scotia Christmas candy around the house - Robertson's ribbon candy and clear toys (the latter somewhat akin to barley sugar candy), pink chicken bones, and Moirs chocolates. We always had a beautiful tree, both turkey and ham (one for Christmas, the other for New Years - with the occasional duck or goose thrown in), and rich fruit cake and pound cake for dessert.

He worked a half day on Christmas Eve at the old Nelson Seed Store on the corner of Duke and Granville streets in downtown Halifax. Upon leaving work, he made a number of stops before heading home. He would drop in with small gifts for his sister (who was struggling to raise two children on her own), and pay brief visits to a few friends, handing out the mistletoe and holly that he was able to purchase from work at a discount price, and boxes of Pot of Gold chocolates (which, in those days, we considered a treat of gourmet proportions), and taking a sip or two of Christmas cheer along the way.

Close friends, the Wilsons, always had rabbit pie for the holidays. Mrs. Wilson was from Chezzetcook and her rabbit pies were made in roasting pans, with whole vegetables and large sections of rabbit and either salt pork or bacon inside. The top was a thick biscuit crust. My father was a dear, sweet man and Mrs. Wilson always had a roaster pan of rabbit pie ready for him to take home for his Christmas Eve supper. He considered it a meal fit for a king.

He could not contain his excitement on Christmas morning and if we did not wake up at some obscenely early hour (5 a.m., 5:30, 6 a.m), he was not above creeping into the bedroom where four of us slept (including the younger and more excitable ones) and whispering "Don't you know that Santy Claus has been here?"

In later years, when his own children were grown, he delighted in giving each little grandchild (to the dismay of the parents) an ENTIRE box of Moirs chocolates, nicely wrapped and beribboned, to be enjoyed at the child's leisure!


movita's sister said...
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Rosie Beaucoup said...

Does anyone in the family remember how Rosie Beaucoup could not find the number symbol on Movita's new blog so she could read the comments??
Well, Rosie Beaucoup accidently found the trash symbol this week on her own blog and kind of deleted Movita's sister's comment so please reinstate - something about Movita loving those pink chicken bones but she has base tastes and Dahl probably sorry in the end that he treated Neal so badly...

movita said...

movita was just telling 2.0's mother the other day about North End Halifax celebrations, including the raising of a tree on Christmas Eve.

And don't forget that the Moirs chocolates were always given with a new pair of pyjamas. This is probably why movita lists pyjamas and chocolate at the top of her list of favs (and why she has spent this Boxing Day in her pj's eating chocolate).

Also, movita has some chicken bones ready for consumption this evening. YUM!