The Sunday School Christmas Party
Oh, I remember the annual Christmas party for the children of the Christ Church Sunday School. The little one sang and played ring around the Rosie, little Sally Walker’s, and London Bridge is falling down. The older ones sang and played games such as “I wrote a letter to my love and on the way I dropped it, a little doggie picked it up and put it in his pocket. He won’t bite you, and he won’t bite you, but he will bite you. “Rachel and Jacob”, and ”Blind Man’s Bluff” were also popular games, the latter two being blindfold games. “Farmer in the Dell” was another group game. “It” stood in the centre as the farmer and we all sang, “ Farmer in the Dell, the farmer in the Dell, heigh ho, jerry o, the farmer in the dell. The farmer takes a wife (someone was chosen) the farmer takes a wife, heigh o, jerry o, the farmer takes a wife. Then the wife takes the child, and with the words changed to suit, it continued, “the child takes a nurse, the nurse takes a dog, the dog takes a cat, the cat takes a rat” and that ended the game.
Sometimes after supper of sandwiches, cake, and cookies, there would be magic lantern slides shown. At intervals the slides were changed by hand. Miss Kydd, a teacher in the local school as well as Sunday School teacher, and guild teacher, was usually the narrator. Miss Kydd would tap on the table with a thimble worn on her finger as a symbol that it was time to put in a new slide. The slides depicted as scenes from a story being told. I remember the Christmas Story being told this way.
The climax of the Christmas party was Santa’s visit. He gave out a bag of candy in little white net bags with a red drop cord to each child. These were mostly hard candies with a chocolate thumb or two. How we cherished those candies and tried to make them last.
Under the Christmas tree there was a gift for each Sunday school child, the wherewithal being provided by the Steele brothers of Toronto who had grown up in Rawdon. Having become successful businessmen this was their way of bringing happiness to children back home. In 1931 my gift was a big hard covered book called “Blackies Annual”. I asked my father to write my name on the flyleaf. He wrote :
I still have the book (1991 when Helen was 69 years old) albeit a little worn looking. That book was treasured and gave reading pleasure for a long time.