Fondest Christmas memories from local leaders

Four local leaders share memories of their families at holiday time

Wetaskiwin County Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers

Wetaskiwin County Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers

Leduc County Mayor John Whaley:

My favourite Christmas memory is the first years my daughters played in the snow in Canada after we moved from England. Today it is watching my grandsons climbing through the snow whilst wrapped up in all their winter gear.

Wetaskiwin County Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers:

I think Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. Maybe because of the special atmosphere that you can feel everywhere, but what I can tell you for sure is that I can’t think of anything more exciting than the image of my entire family spending time together playing games and sharing a great meal. The Christmases that stand out for me is when my children were very little. Us and four of our neighbor (all with small kids) decided to start an annual hay ride and go around the neighborhood and sing Christmas carols to everyone (mostly grandparents) at each of the houses they would come out and listen to us sing and would always bring out treats. All the kids looked forward to going each year, but what was really special was to watch how excited the grandparent would get to see us come. It turned out to be a special time for everyone.

City of Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke:

The first is from Christmas 1960. Our family moved to Leduc in November of that year. I turned 8 just a few days after we moved in and was excited to help shovel the walks when the snow came. Santa gave me a snow shovel that year. Best gift I received growing up.

The second is a Christmas tradition that started 15 years ago. Our family gathers on Christmas Eve after church, we give all the grandkids new pajamas and I read everyone a Christmas story.

Merry Christmas!

City of Wetaskiwin Mayor Bill Elliot:

I grew up in Edmonton and learned to skate and play hockey on outdoor rinks (they didn’t have indoor rinks).

At Christmas, we usually got hockey equipment and Detroit Red Wings hockey socks and jerseys (there were only six NHL teams and the Edmonton Flyers were the Detroit Red Wings farm team).

As soon as we finished opening presents, on Christmas morning, my brother and our friends would meet at the outdoor rink and play shinny hockey, all day, in our new hockey gear.

In the afternoon, some of the Edmonton Flyers, who lived in our neighborhood, would join our game. We would play until being called for turkey dinner (my Mom would turn on the porch light).

This was a tradition for my pre-teen years.