Christmas Past

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Christmas Past

Postby oneh2obabe » Dec 24th, 2017, 9:46 am

Christmas 1914 brought the First World War to a pause.

Here’s what soldiers who took part in the truce had to say about it.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial has published an online gallery of hundreds of accounts from soldiers who were in the trenches when gunfire was replaced by Christmas carols.

<snip> “This has been the most wonderful Christmas I have ever struck. We were in the trenches on Christmas Eve, and about 8.30 the firing was almost at a stand still. Then the Germans started shouting across to us, ‘a happy Christmas’ and commenced putting up lots of Christmas trees with hundreds of candles on the parapets of their trenches.” - Cpl. Leon Harris, 13th (Kensington) Battalion London Regiment

“At 2 am on Christmas morning a German band played a couple of German tunes and then ‘Home, Sweet Home’ very touchingly which made some fellows think a bit. After they played ‘God Save The King’ and we all cheered.” - Pvt. H. Dixon, Royal Warwickshire Regiment <snip> ... ut-it.html

How a German mercenary in Sorel, Que., lit up Canada’s first Christmas tree in 1781.

A German general and baroness put on a traditional celebration, inviting British officers. Their descendants in Ontario, and millions of their countrymen, carry it on 236 years later.

<snip> It was this collision of cultures against a backdrop of war that led to the first recorded instance of a tree being chopped down, dragged into the newly built home and decorated with candles — a German tradition that had not yet been adopted elsewhere.

History is made in such small gestures. Only after — sometimes long after — is the significance appreciated.

As Quebec historian Mathieu Pontbriand notes, 1781 marked the first Christmas feast that the von Riedesel family spent in freedom following years of captivity. They were in a garrison town, fearing invaders and spies lurking among Loyalist refugees fleeing the American states.

A Christmas tree would have meant comfort, a memory of their far-off home. <snip> ... -1781.html

In 1867, Toronto faced a frightened mare before Christmas.

One hundred and fifty years ago, as families were preparing to buy English cheese, Spanish sherries, and recently slaughtered livestock at St. Lawrence Market, a runaway horse was causing havoc in the downtown streets.

<snip> You could also purchase a $10 “Christmas case” from Lewis Gordon, filled with three bottles of port, three bottles of sherry, two bottles of brandy, one bottle of Scotch whisky, one Jamaican rum and one Old Tom Gin. <snip> ... stmas.html
Dance as if no one's watching, sing as if no one's listening, and live everyday as if it were your last.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.

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