COLUM: Christmas cheer from a simpler time

At the hour of midnight Santa Claus began to lift from house to house with his reindeer team and sleigh laden with good things and toys.

Touchstones of Nelson

 

Dateline:

December 25, 1913

Brimming over with the spirit of a joyful Christmas, happy with the approaching culmination of days of planning and hours of shopping, during which presents for relatives and friends were selected with the care and thought which will make the gifts valuable for their associations rather than for their intrinsic worth, hundreds of people in Nelson last night wended their way home to put the final touches on Christmas trees and decorations in readiness for the celebration today.

At the hour of midnight Santa Claus began to lift from house to house with his reindeer team and sleigh laden with good things and toys for the stockings of children.

Hundreds of houses were decorated with holly, mistletoe and the native evergreens of Kootenay and Christmas trees galore loaded with presents and favors dipped their branches.

Tonight many-coloured candles will flicker their merry lights among the green branches, ornaments and presents.

On every hand last night were evidence of the Christmas spirit and throughout the day rigs and wagons delivered their loads of Yuletide articles.

Today special Christmas services will be held at the Church of Mary Immaculate and St. Saviour’s, and the Hume, Strathcona, and other hotels will have special Yuletide dinners.

At 8 o’clock tonight the Salvation Army will hold its annual Christmas tree entertainment.

For those whose circumstances did not permit them to make preparations for the celebration of Christmas the charity organizations made provisions.

Turkeys, good roasts of beef and toys and sweet things to eat for the children were delivered during the afternoon and evening to houses which were lacking the things which go toward making Christmas the happiest celebration of the year.

At midnight the bells of the Church of Mary Immaculate heralded the coming of the nineteen hundred and thirteenth birthday of Christ and the celebration of Mass began.

 

Dateline:

December 26, 1913

With all the appropriateness becoming the great day of festival, Christmas was yesterday celebrated in Nelson.

Nothing untoward happened to mar the day and nearly everybody entered into the spirit of the festival in a manner that did true justice to the event.

In the morning probably every home in the city was visited by Santa Claus, who cheered the hearts of the youngsters. During the afternoon also just enough snow fell to give the city and surrounding country that appropriate touch of white so necessary to give a real Christmas atmosphere.

As in past years, one of the biggest features of the Christmas celebration in Nelson was the festivities at the hotels. The Hume and the Strathcona were centres of the celebration where menus were such as could hardly been excelled by a restaurant in a metropolitan city.

The dining rooms were beautifully decorated and orchestras rendered excellent music. At the Strathcona a delightful formal dance took place after dinner and was much enjoyed by those who attended.

Christmas day, the one day of the year when prisoners are practically at liberty, was appropriately celebrated at the Provincial Jail, where turkey, plum pudding, music and refreshments reigned supreme throughout the day. Many of the prisoners, it was stated, had said that they had enjoyed the day to a much greater extent than if they had been at liberty for the occasion.

Throughout the day the Salvation Army visited various portions of the city, carrying good cheer to any who they thought deserving of it. Many private festivals were the order of the day throughout the city and everywhere there was quiet good cheer, such as annually features the Christmas festival.

And so ends 1913 with the last happy Christmas before four Christmas’s of War and one of  influenza descend on Nelson.