Looking Back


Back When Christmas was "Normal"

Christmas 2020 will be unlike any Christmas we have known. And Christmas 2021? Can't imagine!

But looking at some of the Christmas memorabilia at the Onoway Museum will bring back memories of all sorts. 

The December 18, 1984 issue of the Onoway Tribune is a good example. An article written by Pastor Wenzil Hanik of Onoway Baptist Church reports that a Food Bank has started in Onoway, and people are invited to drop food off in the containers at Eddy Dales General Store or the Village Handimart. "You will feel better for it."

Many of the utility companies (Northwestern Utilities, Calgary Power, Agriculture Canada, Canadian Western Natural Gas) published leaflets, recipe books, etc. which were given (complimentary) to their customers. Homemakers looked forward to new recipes but also got rules of safety, e.g. "Do keep a pail of water or fire extinguisher near the tree....Don't leave the tree lights on when you retire or leave the house." 

Until the 1950s, tuberculosis was widespread so the annual Christmas seal campaign run by the Kinsmen Club in Edmonton helped provide T.B. nursing services, free chest x-rays and rehabilitation for sanatorium patients. Their appeal: "No home is safe until ALL homes are safe. Let's make ALL homes safe from T.B."

One priceless piece of history in the museum collection is the Edmonton Journal Farm Weekly Christmas Supplement December 5, 1923. It is filled with stories of local Christmas activities at the time and many years earlier as well as intriguing advertisements. Come have a look at it at the museum!

As Christmas draws near, let's remember the times before the take-over by Internet and social media, the times when the school's Christmas Concert was the highlight of the year, the times of big family gatherings. Let's keep Christmas special and safe! Share warm memories of Christmases of the past.

                                      Power's Reddy Reader
Christmas Seals

Calgary Power

Calgary Power's Reddy Reader offers one way
to count down until Christmas

Christmas Seals

The Kinsmen Club made a special call in 1948 to the rural population for more money (than the usual $2.00 donation) since nearly half of the 500,000 free chest X-rays were given in rural districts.

                                      Ulmers Sheet Music
Overseas Cards

Sheet music

Who can forget "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"? This sheet music
was well used by Mrs. Ulmer during the 30+ years she taught
in and around Onoway (1940s 1960s).

Christmas cards

Christmas cards have long been a means of maintaining contact with family
or close friends. How long did it take for these cards to come across
the sea from England?

Edmonton Journal 1923
Smoking Advertisement

Edmonton Journal 1923

Edmonton Journal 1923 - Gifts for men seemed to be drawn from recent wars. It cost only $2.95 for two-piece underwear, less than $5.00 for army boots
and only $3.25 for a horse blanket.

Smoking advertisement

Magazines were the main advertising media for most of the 20th century.
This full-page ad for Chesterfield cigarettes in the December 17. 1945
issue of Life magazine was pretty ordinary.

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Last updated: December 18, 2020