Season’s Greetings! With its hustle and bustle, Christmas Day will soon be here. Before we celebrate the magic of the holiday season, let us look back at the wonder and charm of a simpler time. The extensive photo collections at the Provincial Archives of Alberta and the City of Edmonton Archives offer a unique glimpse into the celebrations of Christmases past in Alberta; the following images were selected from their holdings to create a photo montage dedicated to old-fashioned holiday memories and traditions. Enjoy!
Christmas sleigh ride, Fort McMurray, December 1926, (Provincial Archives of Alberta, A11935)
Dowdell House, one of first homes to display Christmas lights in Edmonton, December 1931 (City of Edmonton Archives EA-160-754)
Got Christmas tree, Mountain Park, Alberta [ca. 1943-1944], (Provincial Archives of Alberta, CL120).
Judy and Paddy Unwin waiting for Santa Claus to come; they sit by fireplace – December 22, 1948 (City of Edmonton Archives EA-600-1835a)
Santa arrives at airport. Patty Young sits on Santa’s knee – November 20, 1949 (City of Edmonton Archives EA-600-3320a)
Alberta Legislature grounds and building, Christmas lights – Dec 7, 1987 (Provincial Archives of Alberta, A15850)
PLUM PUDDING – A VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS MUST!
Not only does the holiday season include fun outdoor activities, festive bright lights and the sweet sounds of Christmas melodies, but it is always filled with an assortment of tasty old-fashioned baked treats. Thanks to our colleagues at Rutherford House Provincial Historic Site, we are pleased to share one of Mrs. Rutherford’s classic Christmas desserts, a treasured family recipe for plum pudding passed down from her mother.
GRANDMOTHER BIRKETT’S PLUM PUDDING
Chop fine 2# suet, add #2 seeded raisins cut in half, #2 seedless raisins, ½# peel, ½ # almonds cut in half or slices 4 cups bread crumbs. Beat 8 eggs, 2 cups milk and 2 cups brown sugar together. Add sifted 2 cups of flour, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, 2tsp salt, 4 tsp baking soda. Combine with fruit. Fill oiled moulds 2/3 full. Steam 3 – 4 hours.
Sauce for Plum Pudding (Foamy)
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp boiling water
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp nutmeg
Cream butter and sugar, beat egg lightly add with lemon juice and nutmeg, beat until light and fluffy. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time and beat well heated over hot water (double boiler?). Serve hot on pudding.
Should any of our readers decide to take it upon themselves to try and make Grandmother Birkett’s Plum Pudding recipe, please let us know how it turns out. Comments are always appreciated; we anxiously await your review!
Traditional Christmas Plum Pudding (from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, Food Plate of Puddings – 1890s edition)
Written By: Marsha Mickalyk, Archaeological Permits and Digital Information Coordinator & Pauline Bodevin, Regulatory Approvals Coordinator, Historic Resources Management Branch.
HERMIS (Heritage Resources Management Information System) – https://hermis.alberta.ca/
City of Edmonton Archives – https://archivesphotos.edmonton.ca