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Vierka Petkovsky-

Slovak Christmas in Canada

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Like many Europeans, we celebrate on Christmas Eve.  It was always a very special time in my family, with lots of work and preparation to be done.  Our household was made up of my grandparents, parents, my father's two sisters and me (then, later, my sister and brother).  The adults did most of the hard work shopping, cleaning, cooking but the children helped as much as we could.

I was the oldest and I got to go along on some of the shopping expeditions.  My grandmother and I would take the streetcar downtown to buy a table cloth. We would go to Eaton's and  Simpson's, where she would look at every single white damask cloth.  My grandmother would compare the quality and price, she'd check the combination of fabric.  It seemed like hours before she made her selection.  Then we'd take a break, and have cherry pie and coffee in the Eaton's cafeteria.  Sometimes, if she was having trouble deciding, we'd have a break and then go back to buy the linens.  It was fun, and I felt special being able to go with my grandmother.  I knew the table cloth would be used at Christmas and other holidays, and I'd remember how I'd helped her pick it out.

A few days before Christmas, we had to clean the whole house.  My job was to clean my room and my brother's, because he was just a baby.  I'd help my sister, too.  We were excited, thinking about Christmas Eve, singing carols and opening our presents.  The very best part happened about a week before Christmas when we put up the tree.  My father would string the lights and I would help my aunts decorate the tree with shiny, glitter-covered colourful glass balls, tinsel, icicles and angel's hair.  It was beautiful, especially when we turned off all the lights and lit the tree.  I could image Baby Jesus smiling on us and the sparkling, glowing tree we prepared in celebration of His birth.

 

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 Story and Photos © 1998 by V. Petkovsky - vpetkovsky@sprint.ca
All comments should be forwarded to Ondro Mihal at omihal@slovak.com.

All contents copyright © 1998.All rights reserved.
Revised: Dec 21, 1998