September 25th, 2018

Happy time with concerts, preparing a plate for Santa, and serving as Mrs. Claus

By Medicine Hat News on December 26, 2017.

Evelyn Kelis and Zane Webber skate for a "photo op" on Strathcona Pond around 1970.

The News asked three prominent Hatters to share a favourite Christmas memory. Here is the submission from local artist Evelyn Kleis. Others: MHPS Insp. Brent Secondiak and MHC dean of arts, education and business Terry Chapman.

Christmas time has always been a happy time for me. I was fortunate to have wonderful parents and two good brothers.

An early memory of my childhood Christmases living on a farm include the school concert and the “night before Christmas” preparations. We would prepare a plate for Santa which include my mother’s delicious shortbread cookies, a glass of milk and a small toy which we returned to Santa for him to re-gift.

In the early morning we would sneak downstairs in the dark and take our stockings upstairs. There would be a small toy, candy and a Christmas orange (mandarin) in the toe of the stocking. This held us until Mom and Dad were up and then we came down and were allowed to open our gifts. We noticed dusty big boot prints on the furniture and the glass and plate nearly placed in the kitchen sink. Those were wonderful days.

In my young adult years I took on the role of Mrs. Claus. The Ladies’ Aid Society of our church, St. John’s, were planning and preparing a Christmas dinner party for the clients of C.O.R.E. (REDI Enterprises). We tried to enlist one of our husbands to be Santa but none would accept it so I suggested I could be Mrs. Santa. I bought and assembled an outfit from the Salvation Army and gave out the gifts with a hug and a joke.

When the Medicine Hat News asked Zane Webber and I to do a Christmas ‘photo op’ around 1970, we laced up our skates and circled around the Strathcona Pond. In those days I could skate!

I still have that old Mrs. Santa outfit but not the skates. It was a lot of fun and remains a happy memory.

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