Tag Archives: christmas questions

Question #10 – Friends and Family

The final question in my Christmas series is…… What is the best thing about Christmas?   For me it is the opportunity it provides to get together with family and friends.  In the last month we’ve had so many chances to do that.  We went to a Christmas banquet staged by the car dealership my husband works for as a shuttle driver.  I hosted my writers group here at our place for a Christmas potluck and gift exchange.  


My brother Mark and his wife Kathy hosted a lovely family dinner party featuring salmon my brother caught on a British Columbia fishing trip.

After the choir my husband sings in put on their Christmas concert there was a party to reminisce and celebrate another year of making music.


In the week leading up to Christmas we have been blessed to host our Hong Kong friends Meena and Anil for a week.

I had a lovely Christmas celebration with the T-4’s the group of friends I meet with every month. We  played the Christmas question game which I have been featuring on this blog.  Our friends Don and Marlene invited us out to Steinbach for a Christmas lunch and my cousin Lynne and her husband Rod had us over for a Christmas supper.  Because we are off to Arizona for a couple months we had a ‘good-bye for now’ movie and dinner with our friends Bruno and Caroline and took out our friends Beatrice and Jean for Chinese food in Steinbach. We had another Chinese dinner at our favorite restaurant here in Winnipeg Noodle Express with our friends Dave and Wendy after enjoying a play  at the Manitoba Theatre Centre. My friend Arlene hosted a special Christmas party at her condo for the group of ladies I volunteer with at the Thrift Store on Selkirk Avenue. 


Our friends Bonny and Jim hosted the Christmas party for our church small group which has been meeting together for more than fifteen years.

And there are many Christmas get togethers still to come… an extended family gathering at my sisters, our own children and grandchildren arriving from Saskatoon to spend four days with us, a dinner tonight at my brother’s house and a Christmas movie this afternoon with our son and his wife.  

We feel very blessed indeed to have so many family members nearby and so many friends with whom we can share the joy of Christmas. 

Merry Christmas everyone! Hoping you too have some folks near and dear to share it with. 

Other posts………

Christmas in Hong Kong- Good Memories

Dali’s Christmas Card

This Will Be



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Books for Advent- Christmas Question #7

basket of children's christmas booksI have a large collection of children’s Christmas books which I began to buy when I started teaching kindergarten in 1974.  By the time my first son was born in 1979 my collection was quite substantial and having children of my own was inspiration to grow my collection even more. Those books figure in my answer to question 7 in my ongoing series of Christmas questions.  “What is an advent tradition in your family?”

Every year at the beginning of December I would fill up a large basket with my Christmas books and place it under our diningroom table.  Each night we would light the appropriate number of candles on our advent wreath and then one of my sons could crawl under the table and pick a book from the Christmas collection for us to read. Of course sometimes we had to read two because my collection was so big by the time my second son came along that we could never have read all the books by Christmas if we had just read one a night.  The next day I would take the book I had read to my sons to school with me to read to my students. I still have many of my Christmas books although I stopped adding to my collection when my sons were grown and I moved to teaching highschool.  

One of the Christmas books my grandsons got this year.

One of the Christmas books my grandsons got this year.

Since I became a grandmother I send off a couple Christmas books to Saskatoon to my grandchildren every December 1 so they can build a Christmas book collection of their own for advent reading. 

christmas-booksI still get my books out every December and they are sitting in baskets now waiting for my grandsons to arrive for Christmas. 

Other posts……..

Dave’s Christmas Orchestra Debut

Tutjes  A Christmas Tradition

A Christmas Day in Hell


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Christmas Question #5 -A Friendship Wreath

t-4-wreathOur first Christmas in our Winnipeg condo in 2011 three of my friends bought us a wreath to decorate our new home. I have continued to meet with those friends about once a month ever since and it has been a significant source of joy and support in my life. I actually made the list of questions I’ve been featuring on my December blog posts for our Christmas party this year.  Christmas Question #5 is “What is a special gift you received for Christmas?”

wreathThis wreath would certainly have to be one of my special gifts.  I hang it up every year at the beginning of December and it helps me get into the Christmas spirit and reminds me of three good friends who have walked the journey of the previous year with me. wreath-2016Here is our 2016 photo in front of the wreath. 

Other posts…….

Christmas Question #4-The Circle of Life

Christmas Question #3- Beer and Pretzels

Christmas Question #2- Chili Soup

Christmas Question #1- A Christmas Carol Saved Our Lives

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Christmas Question #4- The Circle of Life

How will this Christmas be different than last Christmas?  That was one of the questions in a Christmas game I put together for a recent party. Here’s my answer. 

Our son's first Christmas. He is sitting with my father-in-law- his Opa.

Our older son’s first Christmas. He is sitting with my father-in-law, his Opa.

This Christmas will be different than last Christmas because my father-in-law died in June so for the first time we will celebrate Christmas without him. Dad especially loved to sing carols and his deep bass voice will always be missed in our family choir.

Our new grandson's stocking is ready for his first Christmas.

Our new grandson’s stocking is ready for his first Christmas.

This Christmas will be different than last Christmas because our second grandson was born in May so for the first time we will celebrate Christmas with him. A friend helped me make his Christmas stocking and it is already hanging with the rest of the family’s stockings.

I will be thinking about the circle of life at our Christmas celebrations this year.

Other posts…….

Christmas Question #1- A Christmas Carol Saved Our Lives

Christmas Question #2- Chili Soup

Christmas Question #3- Beer and Pretzels

Questions at the Vatican

I Wish I Hadn’t Answered the Question

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Beer and Pretzels

dave by christmas tree in Germany“We spent Christmas Day in 2010 in Bamberg Germany.” That’s how I would answer the question “Did you ever celebrate Christmas in another place?” our-german-cruise-shipBamberg was one of the stops on a holiday river cruise. angel-in-snowFor the first time in eight years they had snow in Bamberg for Christmas and it turned the city into a beautiful place. dave-bambergWe spent hours walking through the cobblestone streets. beer-and-pretzelsTwo highlights were stopping at one of Bamberg’s nine breweries to sample three kinds of beer and eat huge salty pretzels just out of the oven. bambergAs it grew dark we stood outside the huge Catholic Church to listen to the bells ringing carols through the cold air. catheral-in-bamberg-germanyOn board our ship that night our Christmas dinner ended with the waiters turning off all the lights in the dining room and then parading to our table with trays of flaming Baked Alaska.

Other posts…….

The World is Full of Interesting People

German POW’s in Manitoba

One of my Photos in a St. Louis Essay

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Christmas Question #2- Chili Soup

What is a traditional food served in your family at Christmas?  That’s the second question I pulled from my bag of Christmas conversation starters.

Christmas with my cousins and my grandmother who made chili soup

Christmas in Drake Saskatchewan in the mid 1950s with my cousins and my maternal grandmother, Annie Jantz Schmidt who made chili soup for Christmas

My maternal grandmother made chili soup for supper on Christmas Day. The noon meal was turkey with all the trimmings. The afternoon was spent playing games, doing puzzles, opening gifts and visiting. Then just before it was time for everyone to go home the chili soup came out often accompanied by Grandma’s homemade buns.

Celebrating Christmas with Mom's family in Saskatchewan

Celebrating Christmas with Mom’s family in Saskatchewan 1960s

My Mom says when she was a child her mother’s chili soup was the perfect way to warm up all their relatives before they began the chilly ride home in their horse drawn sleighs. Grandma’s chili soup recipe was in a cookbook she gave me when I got married. I still make her chili soup and not only on Christmas Day. It’s delicious anytime.

Other posts……….

Christmas Question #1

My Mother’s Childhood Christmases

Chicken Noodle Soup


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A Christmas Carol Saved Our Lives

What is your favourite Christmas carol?

Singing Lo How A Rose with our family in 2002

Singing Lo How A Rose with our family in 2002 at my parents’ home

My favorite Christmas carol is Lo How a Rose e’er Blooming.  That carol may have saved our family’s life.  Our children came to Hong Kong to visit us for Christmas in 2004.  We planned to spend part of the kids’ time in Asia in Phuket, Thailand holidaying at a resort there.  

Initially, Dave booked us to fly out to Phuket on Christmas Eve.  We would check into our resort on Christmas Day and we planned a snorkelling excursion for the 26th.  When the pastor of our Hong Kong church heard our children were coming for Christmas he asked if our family would sing at an international carol service on the 24th in the evening.  

We thought that would be a nice thing to do, so Dave moved all our bookings up a day, changing our flights to the 25th and our snorkelling trip to the 27th. That probably saved our lives since the tsunami struck on the 26th and we had initially planned to be out on the ocean snorkelling that day. Luckily the resort we checked into on the 25th was high on a cliff so we only felt some trembling from the tsunami and were safe. christmas singing tao fong shanThe carol we sang at our Hong Kong church Tao Fong Shan at the Christmas Eve service was Lo How a Rose e’er Blooming. We chose it because we had sung it together before.   We still sing it together every Christmas as a reminder of just how fortunate we were during the Christmas season of 2004 .

Other posts……

Christmas in Hong Kong

Christmas Carol Inspiration

The Nun’s Christmas

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