In the 1940s, the festive seasons were bright occasions in otherwise dreary winters on the farm.  | Getty Images

Christmas often required ingenuity in 1940s

Homemade treats, improvised ‘fireplaces’ and creative tree decorating helped make the prairie holidays a festive time

I thumbed through the Eaton’s catalogue until it was dog-eared, my wish list for Christmas circled with far more things than I would ever receive, but it didn’t hurt to hope. In the 1940s, the festive seasons were bright occasions in otherwise dreary winters on the farm. The smell of spicy fruitcake emanating from the […] Read more

The author distinctly remembers when Christmas changed from a time of getting to a time of giving.  | Getty Images

Gift-giving marked departure from childhood

With a dollar in his hand, this prairie youngster’s introduction to the world of giving proved to be a ‘puzzling’ experience

I don’t recall much about December 1968 — I was only eight and busy trying to ace Grade 3. Girls held no allure yet — I couldn’t even spell puberty — and I had little money. However, as Christmas approached, I zeroed in on one goal — polish my image in the quest for that […] Read more

Homemade ice cream was going to be the perfect treat for a farmhouse party, if only everybody could co-operate.  | Getty Images

Ice cream outdoors — what could go wrong?

The long and arduous task of making homemade ice cream turned into a perilous venture for these three prairie women

On a winter’s night back in the 1940s, there was a party in full swing at my parents’ farmhouse. Fiddles, guitars and a banjo were reeling off western tunes while square dancers in jeans and plaid shirts worked up a sweat that fogged the windows. It was downright cold outside, as only a December night […] Read more

These after dinner mints are so pretty that couldn’t possibly have any calories, could they?  | Sheri Hathaway photo

Homemade mints for Christmas

At the end of a family meal, we’d lean back, stuffed like turkeys. While conversation and coffee or tea circulated the table, a pretty dish of after dinner mints stole its way around as well. Our Aunt Mattie often brought her delicious homemade candy when she joined us for a special meal. We groaned but […] Read more