A Story by My Mom about our Christmas Memories

I wanted to share this story that my mother wrote for the Fort Erie Observer Paper about our Christmas experience!

Here is the link for the website:  https://forterieobserver.ca/2018/12/the-christmas-pie/

The Christmas Pie

By Jacqueline C. Anderson

Bill and Minnie Winn, my English grandparents, made many happy memories for me in their little house at Christmastime. I remember the warmth, the music and the atmosphere of exciting family gatherings. It was always so much fun to be able to see all of my cousins at one place.

Individual families spent Christmas Day at home but on Boxing Day, my parents with their five children, together with my mother’s sisters, their husbands and all of my myriad cousins gathered for what we knew as “Grandma’s Christmas Pie”.  How it got the name I’ve never learned.I’m nearly 73 now so you realize that things were done very frugally back then. Our ‘needs’ were always met but the ‘wants’ became dreams. Dreams seldom became ‘reality.’

Just walking into Grandma’s house transported us from our daily norm into a magical world. Every corner seemed to be full of pretty, sparkly decorations that were tucked into the most unusual places. The welcome of hugs from the grown-ups and the delightful squeals of children’s laughter greeted us from the minute we got our boots and coats off.

The longest table I’d ever seen was set up in the living room with tablecloths and beautiful centrepieces.  Grandma called it the ‘groaning table’ and it was full of all the specialty treats that she’d been preparing for weeks.  Her fridge was the back porch where most of the food was stored. My aunts would be constantly running back and forth refilling empty platters.

We all sat down to dinner together (kids at a separate table) and everyone had a Christmas cracker which we pulled at the same time.  Tradition demanded that we wear the silly paper crown hats and save the little decoration from the outside of the cracker which Grandma would use to embellish gifts next year.

Once everyone was all accounted for, the main event began. We were finally allowed to peek inside the other room to see a huge refrigerator box that had been decorated so prettily.  It was ‘The Christmas Pie.’

Inside the box, and overflowing, was a mountain of gifts that Grandad would be handing out.

Each gift was wrapped in plain tissue paper. The front page of last year’s Christmas cards became the ‘To/From’ and the pretty card added even more interest to each gift. The little bits of holly berries from the year-old Christmas crackers were somehow fitted into the bows.  Love was poured into each wrapped gift. Even getting mittens was exciting!

Parents were stationed strategically to gather the bows and ribbons and to fold the wrapping paper which would be used again next year. We were expected to try not to tear it. That also added to the fun.

Years later, I learned that Grandma began making a new pair of hand knitted mittens for every child on the day after the New Year began. Her efforts were a labour of love. I’ve often wondered if anyone ever realized it. Children seldom get excited over mittens.

At the time that Grandma began the mitten project, Grandad went to each of his daughters’ homes and collected all of the outgrown, broken, unused toys, dolls, bikes or roller skates. He took them to his workshop and spent the entire next year refurbishing them to be handed out in the next Christmas Pie … another huge labour of love. Each child got two gifts (that he had resurrected), plus the mittens (from Grandma). We all knew that all gifts were from both of them.

As the years passed, some of the eldest kids started to recognize their former toys and it became part of the fun to see who got what … and how it was changed or painted.

Both of my grandparents knew how to work as a team to make the impossible happen. In life, their profession was to work as a cook and butler for very wealthy families.  They used their skills and knowledge to pass along a lifestyle that is separate from the moneyed.  They taught whoever would listen, how to make the best of every opportunity.

Grandma played the piano and all the family’s cheerful (often off-key) voices sang familiar carols.  I miss the sound of the piano music in our home.

It was such a wonderful time in my life and has coloured the way that I prepare for Christmas.

So if you come to visit, look for the little things.  Coloured balls that have lost their hangers are now nestled in a glass vase … that no longer can hold water because of the crack in it … along with sparkly fabric and small ornaments that could not be hung.  Sprigs of berries are tucked in places that you might never even notice.  Nothing gets thrown away. It gets re-purposed.

It’s become my fun each year, to try to create new memories for my grandchildren.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Fort Erie Brunch with Santa – Sunday December 10th, 2017

Ray Rosettani from RE/MAX Niagara and his Selling Fort Erie team are hosting Brunch with Santa on Sunday December 10th, 2017 between 11am-2pm at Bridgewater Country Club in Fort Erie, Ontario.

Come out and meet SANTA , along with having brunch, doing crafts and enjoying a wagon ride out in the beautiful grounds of Bridgewater, while sipping on hot chocolate.

Cost is $5 for kids (12 & under) and $10 for adults. Limited space available and on a first come, first serve basis, unless you call Holly at 905-871-5555 to reserve seating, which payment will need to be upfront.

New listing in Ridgeway!!

3265 Hyman Avenue, Fort Erie, Ontario, For Sale by Ray Rosettani //

3265 Hyman Avenue

New listing in Ridgeway!!

•  1,500 sq. ft., 4 bath, 4 bdrm 2 story – $300,000.
MLS® #N30056873

– Beautiful well-kept 4 bedroom/ 3.5 bath home located in a quiet & friendly neighbourhood. Home is located near the Friendship Trail, parks, downtown amenities, schools and much more. Has been freshly painted throughout, large rear deck off kitchen, attached double car garage, finished basement and lots of extras!

Property information

3 Bedroom with In-Law in Fort Erie

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3 Bedroom with In-Law in Fort Erie

Close to Lake Erie, Great Bungalow

•  1,100 sq. ft., 2 bath, 5 bdrm bungalow – $189,900.
MLS® #N30054943

3 Bedroom with In-Law in Fort Erie – Great home centrally located. Main floor offers 3 bedrooms, 4 piece bathroom & sun room offering views of Lake Erie. This home is set up nicely for an in-law apartment. Large front porch. Home has new gutter guards, fresh painted inside & some new flooring. Fantastic home, ready for immediate occupancy.

Property information

Salvation Army – Christmas Cheer!

Salvation Army – Christmas Cheer!

Fort Erie Timber Mart challenged local people and businesses to team up with the Salvation Army to sponsor a family in our area for Christmas. The “SellingFortErie” team consisting of Ray Rosettani, Phil Rosettani, Herb Clayton, Cheryl O’hearn and Holly Johnston jumped at the opportunity to help bring Christmas cheer to a local family.

With a quick call to Cam at the Salvation Army at 905-871-1592, we were able to give a family that is struggling through this season presents to open on Christmas and meals throughout the day.

Help us and Fort Erie Timber Mart support our community by sponsoring a Fort Erie family as well. 8 days until Christmas is still lots of time!

Salvation Army, Sponsor a Family for Christmas, Ray Rosettani, REMAX Niagara

Salvation Army – Christmas Cheer!