Every decorated Christmas tree is like a snowflake in design, as each one is truly unique. I like to add a flavour of Newfoundland & Labrador to my tree. it seems each year, I manage to add something handmade that relates to local lore and culture.
There are specialty stores that pop-up during the holidays and there are those that are open year round selling Christmas items. Imagine the opportunity we have on the Great Northern Peninsula to put our talents to use and make a variety of Christmas ornaments. An informal group, development organization or craft co-op can be formed to get this moving.
I got the seal skin boots depicted above as a gift from the late Aunt Stella Hoddinott. They hung from the mirror of my car for years. It certainly makes them easy to find in a parking lot.
My sister has been a modest entrepreneur throughout the years and made several handmade Christmas ornaments. I am pretty sure my mom and I helped her some 13 years ago and I proudly display the scallop shell angel on the tree.
I have a passion for the mummer’s and look forward to going around visiting before Old Christmas day. I’ve participated in all three Mummer’s Walks and there is a Mummer’s Dance on Saturday! I picked up the accordion ornament at a Christmas store on my first visit to Montreal in 2011. There is another pair of seal skin boots (came from Iqaluit), an Inukshuk (purchased at Grenfell Heritage Shoppe) and a set of snowshoes made by the late Tom Newcombe. I remember giving him a number of wire hangers to make several pairs.
The Newfoundland Boil-up is a tradition that many practise, especially at this time of year. A good ol’ cup of tea in the woods and a small scoff of roasted Newfie Steak (balogna) on a stick or sausages, canned beans and a slice of homemade bread- nothing like it! Also in the picture is “Little Sheila” an Inuk, I made in 2010, while on a cultural exchange in Labrador.
The gallery below depicts a few others: I’ve bought a lobster claw at the Craft Council’s Fall Fair, I have a matching capelin from Grenfell Heritage Shoppe. The amigurumi grey fish came from the Guardian gift shop at the French Shore Interpretation Centre in Conche, the Puffin was a gift from Amanda. The homemade ball with candy canes were made by the group from Community Readiness for People with Disabilities. The wooden ornament came from the Wind & Waves Artisan Shop in Joe Batt’s Arm, Fogo Island as part of the Shorefast Foundation. The killick is an old-fashioned anchor made by Frank Elliott of Main Brook, I purchased from him when I owned and operated Flower’s Island Museum & Mini-golf; in that same picture is my most recent addition of a hand painted ornament of Prague, Czech Republic (where I studied in Europe) and a pair of knitted mittens, made by the late Aunt Dora White. Also, a photo depicts hockey skates, which reminded me of the ones my Dad always wore when he played hockey and another pair of Uncle Tom’s snowshoes are on display next to the reindeer.
I enjoy adding more traditional ornaments to my Christmas tree. There is a real opportunity for hobbyists, crafters and those with an interest to start-up a home-based business, craft co-op or other enterprise to learn new skills and make an income. Let’s not let your talents pass up such an opportunity that can serve as a year-round business.
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
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