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Christmas is about friendship and food for longtime local MP

Bruce Stanton has fond memories of family gatherings; Food and family always trumped gifts, but model rocket was a memorable present for youngster

Bruce Stanton, who recently was elected for his fifth term as MP for Simcoe North, shares recollections of family Christmases while growing up in Port Stanton.

As I look back on Christmas seasons past, I am pressed to recall many vivid details; specific gifts or events etc. But what stands out for me was the excitement and the anticipation of this special time of year. Narrowing in on why it was so exciting is harder to pinpoint.

School was out. The snow had just arrived for the winter season and the lake was frozen-over for skating. 

Our family members, many of whom lived in Port Stanton, made a point to visit each other as part of our Christmas tradition. It is what you did on Christmas Day and even on the days on either side. 

It was unclear to me, at the time, what all the visiting had to do with Christmas, but it was fun, and we could see what our grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles received as presents from each other and from Santa Claus.

The Stanton women - it always the women at that time - were tremendous bakers. At each visit, there was lots of food – sweets, Christmas cake, tarts and shortbread cookies. I am sure this added to my chubbiness as a youngster and likely explains my fondness for Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mincemeat pie to this day.

I don’t recall being overly eager and excited about Christmas presents until I was a little older; age 10 or 12 perhaps. It was around the time of the Gemini and Apollo space missions - events I followed with great interest on our black-and-white console TV. 

In 1970, I got a model of the Saturn V rocket (Apollo era) for Christmas. I likely had it assembled by Boxing Day.

Our grandparents on my Mom’s side, as we called them, Grannie and Baba, would visit us during the Christmases at Bayview Lodge (before 1967) and at the Wildwood house thereafter. They lived in Listowel, ON at that time. They were always fun to be with and Christmas was one of the few times per year that we’d see them.

So, when it comes to favourite Christmas memories, two things really stand out: friendship and food. 

These amazing people that we meet along our life’s journey, including members of our own family who, during Christmas, we came to know and appreciate more; and the food we shared with them at those very warm and welcoming occasions over Christmas, are the memories that last. 

They are part of the happiness we celebrate at Christmas along with the blessings we are given to recall in reciting glory to God; and on earth, peace and good will towards all people.


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