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a u o y h s i w e W s a m t s i r h C y r r e M

A Supplement To




Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Christmas traditions around the globe

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Families across the globe cherish their Christmas traditions. Customs may be unique to every family, but many countries boast their own unique traditions as well. • Australia: Many Australians celebrate Christmas by coming together at night to sing carols outside. That’s not as chilly as it might sound, as Christmas in Australia actually falls during summer vacation. In fact, many of the country’s most popular Christmas traditions occur outside. • England: Contrary to Australia, England’s weather around Christmastime is much colder. Many of England’s traditions resemble those popular in North America, including wrapping gifts, hanging stockings over the fireplace and gathering around the Christmas tree. Kids inEngland write a letter with their wishes to Father Christmas, but unlike mailing those letters like many North American children do, English children toss their letters into a fire so their Christmas wishes can go up the chimney. • France: Christmas celebrations in France begin several weeks before Dec. 25, but Christmas Eve is most special to many natives of France. On Christmas Eve, church bells ring as people sing noels, or carols. The following day, a feast is enjoyed upon returning home from church. • Germany: In Germany, the weather is cold during the Christmas season and in the weeks leading up to Christmas families bake sweet bread, cakes with candied fruits and spicy cookies. Advent wreaths are popular in Germany and are purchased four Sundays

before Christmas begins. The wreaths have places for four candles and families light a candle on the wreath each Sunday. • Mexico: Families in Mexico celebrate Christmas by decorating their homes with lilies or evergreens. Because the weather is warm, many families also cut designs into brown paper bags before inserting a candle and then setting the designs, called farolitos, along the sidewalk, on windowsills, on rooftops,

and along outdoor walls. Many communities in the southwestern United States have adopted this tradition, which they often refer to as luminaria. • Sweden: Christmas celebrations in Sweden begin on Dec. 13, the day the country celebrates St. Lucia’s Day. Celebrations for St. Lucia, the patron saint of light, are intricate and involve the whole family. A couple of days before Christmas is when many families select their Christmas tree.

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012


German student lives the Canadian Christmas

Justine Spitzer has lived in Canada for several years, and while they also decorate Christmas trees in Germany they tend not to decorate their houses for the holiday. Photo by Amelia Naismith

Filipino food extravaganza By Amelia Naismith Just like in Canada, Christmas around the world is jam-packed with delectable Christmas food. It’s a time to be with family, friends and enjoy their merry company, no matter where you call home. Carl Zacate, a Grade 10 student at St. Augustine School, moved to Ponoka in August with his family from the province of Rizal in the Philippines. Although his family isn’t planning on adding anything new to their holiday lineup, Zacate says their usual traditions will stay in the family. “Every year, before Christmas we go to church, it’s called Simbang-gabi,” said Zacate. “Fifteen days before Christmas, I think, we wake up early. I think it was 3 a.m.” At church Zacate would sing and worship with his family. On Christmas Eve the family would roast a pig

over charcoal. “It had some kind of sauce, gravy I think.” The pig was called lechon. Zacate also recalls a number of other tasty dishes around the holidays. “Our parents cook Filipino delicacies.” The family would have afritada, which consists of tomato sauce, peanut butter, potatoes and tomatoes; adobo, a dish that can have chicken or pork and sometimes a sauce; bibinglca is sticky rice cooked with sugar and has food coloring added; and puto. “It’s like a muffin, but it’s fluffier,” said Zacate. Around the holidays families will hold big gatherings, and although it isn’t the new year Zacate says there can be fireworks after the meal. Zacate’s favorite Christmas memory takes place in his hometown of Cainta. “When me and my friends gather at a friend’s house and. We sing while having Christmas Eve food. After eating we have gift-givings.”


Merry Christmas


On New Year’s Eve there would be a present wrapped in several layers of newspaper. On each layer there was a trivia question about the holiday. The person who answered the question right would be able to unwrap that layer and try the nest question. If answered wrong the present was passed to the next person. Whoever answered the last question correctly got to keep the present. However, Christmas and the holiday time wasn’t just for staying in, and Spitzer’s favorite Christmas memory takes place in the streets. “It was when my sister was already married and she came over with my nieces. And my grandma and grandpa, they were both there. We usually went out and made trouble and stuff. We’d put ice on the street and take eggs and throw them on houses. We just did that just for fun.” However, there where some Christmas activates that Spitzer says work better in Canada than Germany. “There wasn’t much snow in Germany, in Canada there’s lots (of snow).” Spitzer said in Germany with hills and arenas were smaller go skating and tobogganing wasn’t as fun. On Spitzer’s first Christmas in Canada she was able to build an igloo. “That was our biggest Christmas in Canada because we got the most presents. It was a little weird, different,” Spitzer said, referring to having Christmas in a new country.

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Best wishes for the New Year.

By Amelia Naismith In Canada, aside from Christmas, Halloween is one of the best days there is. In Germany they’ve combined the best of both events and each year German children trick or treat on Christmas Eve. “We did trick or treating for Christmas,” said Diamond Willow Middle School student Justine Spitzer. “We used to always put our shoes out and in the morning they’re filled with candy. Spitzer moved from Germany to Canada when she was seven and since then she says a lot of her family’s Christmas traditions have changed because the holiday is celebrated so differently here. In Berlin, Spitzer said people from across the city would gather together at tables filled with food. “We would do a celebration with our stockings,” she added. “We would have lots of candy, and also bread on sticks roasted over a fire.” In Germany, once New Year’s Eve rolled around, the city would be decorated with lights and fireworks would be set off in celebration. “You could see the whole sky with fireworks, the whole day,” said Spitzer. Around the holidays, Spitzer said her grandparents and cousins would also get together for a family gathering, which was easy because Spitzer lived on the same street as many of her cousins. Along with German traditions, Spitzer’s family also celebrated with their own personal touches.

In this Christmas season there is no more appropriate time to say “Thank You”, and to express to you and yours every happiness during this beautiful season and throughout the coming year.

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Christmas has changed and evolved over the years Many people prepare for the arrival of Christmas months in advance. The first traces of wrapping paper and decorations arrive in stores as early as September, transforming the holiday into a much more secular celebration than its modest Christian beginnings. Despite Christmas being an important date in the lives of today’s Christians, the holiday failed to gain prominent status until relatively recently. Research indicates that as late as the 19th century, Christmas was not even a legal holiday requiring a day off from work. That’s why 19th century readers of the classic Christmas tale, “A Christmas Carol,” were not shocked at Bob Cratchit having to work on Christmas Day. The United States Congress used to meet on Christmas Day because it was not a national holiday. In 1836, Alabama became the first state to officially recognize Christmas but it didn’t become a legal holiday across the country until June 26, 1970. Today’s Christmas celebrations include traditions from around the world. Some ascertain that it was the Church’s doing to schedule

Christmas at a similar time to the pagan festivals, such as Saturnalia, that took place during the winter months. But many biblical scholars argue that this was not the case. Some pagan influences, such as holly and mistletoe as well as the burning of a yule log, have long been a part of Christmas traditions. Santa Claus is one of the more recognizable symbols of Christmas. He is based on St. Nikolas of Myrna, an area that is part of modernday Turkey. St. Nikolas is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint and is one of the saints most portrayed by artists. Early depictions of St. Nikolas show him as a stern man who delivered his share of discipline. Eventually, those depictions changed to show a figure more associated with generosity. Throughout history there have been characters from around the globe, such as the Viking deity Odin, who were precursors to Santa Claus. Myth states that Odin rode his eight-legged flying horse in the winter. Odin gave out gifts to wellbehaved children and punishments to those who misbehaved. Children would fill boots or stockings with

treats for the flying horse. Regardless of the origins of Christmas, today it is hard to deny that Christmas is a commercialized success. It is a national holiday not only in the United States but also in other areas of the world, and it is best known for the tradition of giving presents to others. In fact, many people head to the stores well in advance of the Christmas holiday to purchase all of the presents on their shopping lists. The shopping season tradition may be traced back to the time of the Second World War, when it was necessary to mail gifts early to the troops serving in Europe so that they would be able to open them in time. Merchants realized that this concept could be used when gifting troops as well as private citizens, reminding shoppers to make their holiday purchases early so they could mail them to relatives near or far. As a result, the advanced shopping season was born. Although many people feel Christmas begins when the first bag of tinsel appears on a store shelf and ends when the last present is opened

on Dec. 25, the true religious holiday does not coincide with merchant schedules. While most people are bustling to and from department stores and malls, Christians are participating in Advent, which was traditionally a solemn season of reflection and fasting. Christians are supposed to spend Advent preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ and the joy that ensues during the weeks leading up to Dec. 25. Similarly, the joyous time of Christ’s birth is a day of celebration that does not end on Dec. 26 but continues for 12 days until the Epiphany, also known as Little Christmas, when Magi were reported to have visited the infant Christ and give him gifts. Although the more traditional day for gift-giving would seem to be on the Epiphany, by the time that day arrives many people have already taken down their Christmas decorations. Christmas is a holiday steeped in many different traditions, and many people have their own ways of celebrating all through the month of December.

Wishing you the peace of God’s love at Christmas and always. Getting reacquainted: While shopping at Bower Mall in Red Deer, the Johnson sisters stopped to have a picture taken with Santa Claus. With the jolly elf are Susan Johnson, Betty Hauser, Gene DeWit and Anna Cline. Photo submitted

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! From left: Lynda, Kathleen, Maddy, Alyssa, Heather and Shauna.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to serving you in the New Year Thirsk Automotive Distributors Ltd. 6603 - 44 Ave. Ponoka


along with heartfelt thanks for your friendship and goodwill. WE WILL BE CLOSED DEC 24,25,26 JAN 1 OPEN FOR BUSINESS:

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Warm wishes for a Merry Christmas



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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Santa Claus dishes the Christmas secrets

By Amelia Naismith In an exclusive interview with Ponoka News, Santa Claus reveals the importance of the magic of Christmas— and a few of his own Christmas secrets. “(There’s) nothing better than a little bit of magic and I think everybody needs a little magic in their lives,” he said. Year in and year out Santa Claus has delivered presents to all the boys and girls of the world and although the population of Earth has increased exponentially since he started getting the job done is no trouble. “You’ve got to be really fast, and you can’t do that without magic,” he said. However, Santa doesn’t have to work alone. The elves help him year long, and so does Mrs. Claus. She’s the one who keeps an eye on the little details and makes sure each present is perfect. When Santa Claus does have some time off he uses it to kick back and relax. “The best thing to do is go with Mrs. Claus, and we’ve got a really nice hot tub. And sometimes we go on a nice walk.” The reindeer are also very

important to Santa’s job. However, to increase their lifespan, he makes sure they eat a healthy diet of reindeer moss and take time off to play. “It (reindeer moss) grows up at the North Pole, it doesn’t grow anywhere else.” Santa Claus also revealed a long-time secret; the Official Reindeer Games. The games consist mostly of jumping and sliding. “It’s cold enough in the North Pole they can slide in the summer too.” He also revealed his personal favorite form of magic is the perfect cup of hot chocolate. His favorite cookie to go with the annual glasses of milk is oatmeal raisin, sometimes sprinkled with chocolate chips as a surprise. His favorite Christmas movie is the feel-good tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas. “Because the Grinch gets the magic of Christmas. He finally understands and it was a little girl that made him understand.” Although it isn’t Dec. 25 yet, Santa Claus still had a special message for the people of Ponoka. “Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Santa Claus visits and gets his picture taken with Jayla and Meaka Kinnaird. Photo by Amelia Naismith


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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

The Sonrise Choir performs a glowing rendition of Mary Did You Know? At the recent Kinsmen Carol Concert. Photos by Amelia Naismith

Sheila Van Alstyne sings a mash up of Away in a Manger and The Greatest Gift of All at the Kinsmen Carol Festival.

Wishing Everyone a


Christmas! – From All of Us at –

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Jaret Matthews and Andrew Jacobs, two of the tree kings, travel west under their guiding star, bringing presents for the newborn king, during We Three Kings.

Merry Christmas

from all of us

May the coming year bring peace, joy and enlightenment to you and those you cherish. For all the joy you’ve brought us, we will always be grateful.

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Kin Carol Festival

Kinsmen, Kinettes and their families sang the opening number, Away in a Manger, at the 51st annual Kinsmen Carol Festival. Photos by Amelia Naismith

Members of the Ponoka Elementary School Choir present their grand finale during a performance of Light Up the Tree.



to say,

– And wish you all the trimmings of a very merry and festive season.

Syd & Joyce Vopni Backhoe Services Res: 403-783-3833 Cell: 403-350-1946

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6

With exceeding great joy, we wish you and yours peace, joy and enlightenment throughout this holy season and beyond.

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Create new holiday traditions with family Much of what makes the holiday season so special is the traditions that people hold dear. While families have traditions that stretch back decades, there is plenty of opportunity to embrace new means of celebration to breathe new life into Christmas, Hanukkah or the season’s other holidays. Chances are you’re already hanging stockings or going caroling this year. You can add some of these and modify as they fit for your family. • Feed the wildlife. During the cold days of winter, birds and small animals that don’t hibernate may find it difficult to forage for food. By trimming an outdoor pine tree in edible snacks you’ll have a beautiful tree and one that benefits the wildlife as well. String peanuts and other nuts for the squirrels. Make little ornaments out of suet and string for the birds. Berries and corn can be enjoyed by all. Be sure to choose a tree that is far enough away from the home, so you don’t have too many scavengers hunting and pecking around the house. • Create a photo Advent calendar. Make your own Advent calendar that has small doors that open up to photos of different family members. Or use a collection of children’s pictures that showcase how they’ve changed as they’ve grown older.

• “Adopt” a child for holiday gifts. Each year you can bring a smile to a child in need by purchasing a present for an underprivileged kid. Some post offices sponsor “Letters from Santa” events where participants can respond to one of the thousands of letters mailed to The North Pole. Or work with a local charity that organizes events to bring gifts to children in hospitals or in foster care. • Holiday story countdown. Every night in December watch a movie or read a story that tells an uplifting holiday tale. Use this as a method of counting down until Christmas. On the night prior, reading “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” should suffice. • Remember someone who has passed on. The holiday season is one made beautiful by lit candles and twinkling lights. Remember a loved one or a friend who has passed away by lighting a remembrance candle in his or her honor. It’s a way this person can still be part of the festivities. • Have a holiday sing-a-long. Sure it may be tradition to go around the neighborhood singing carols, but it’s just as fun indoors. Have a singing party where guests are given lyrics to popular tunes they can sing around the piano or karaoke machine. • Bring some joy to a public

Holiday traditions are fun. This year it may be time to begin some new ones to add even more enjoyment. servant. Police officers, firefighters, military personnel...many of these workers do not get off for the holidays. There are a certain number of public servants who must remain on call in the event of an emergency. Treat these people to something enjoyable when they may be missing their own festivities. Cook or cater a meal for a fire hall, deliver cookies to the police station or put together care packages for people living on a military base. • Banish the holiday blues. When the holidays

are set to go for another year, many people find they become a little down. After all, a home that was once filled with merry trinkets may now go back to the bare essentials. Create a tradition where everyone in the family receives one more gift — a personalized ornament that can be packed away for use next year — that’s given in January before the decorations are packed away. It’s another opportunity to open a present, and it symbolizes looking forward to the joy of next year.

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

At Christmas, remember God has love for all

A short while back, I saw a wonderful performance of Fiddler on the Roof, a story about the people of an impoverished Jewish village in rural Russia in the early years of the 20th century. Jews spread westward into Europe after the destruction of their Temple in the seventh year of the Christian Era. Many became urbanized and educated but vast numbers of them settled in tiny rural schtetles all over the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in Poland, Germany and the Balkan states. There, Jewish communities developed a unique culture and practiced their faith for almost 1,900 years. They numbered in the millions. It is sobering to recall that by 1945 more than 95 per cent of these people had died in the ovens of Dachau, Auschwitz, Treblinka and the like. It is also shocking to recall that the people who perpetrated this immense crime against humanity came from the country judged by many historians to be the most Christian nation in Europe in the19th century The Jews of Europe were incinerated because they were different, they were not Christian, they were “Other.” Society, Christian as it was, could not tolerate those who were “Other.” The ultimate decision of the anti-Semitic rulers was that they should be exterminated. You are probably wondering why I would resurrect such hideous memories in our time and in our place? What on earth do they have to do with us? Are they not best forgotten as a blot on the human story? I think not. As George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” Our part of the world is seriously Christian, and we need to remember what is possible even for Christians to do. For example, many will be surprised to know that Ukrainian people were “interned” (imprisoned) in Canada during the First World War because the empire from which they came was an enemy of Great Britain. Probably more of us know how the Canadian government interned Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, and confiscated all their property and possessions — which were never returned. I wonder if anyone is aware the Canadian government refused to accept at least one shipload of Jewish refugees in the years leading up to the war, and thus were complicit in Hitler’s holocaust. Of course, it is impossible to forget the consequences of decisions made by very good Christians that native children should be educated and integrated into white society. Thus were born the Indian Residential Schools. And most of us have shivered at the horrors visited on aboriginal people in residential schools in the name of Christian care! There is an unfortunate tendency in much serious Christianity to affirm its identity over against some “Other.” In the past, it was “the Jews.” Very recently, it was “the Indians.” It can always be “the unsaved.” Currently, it is “the Muslims.” We have seen what good Christians can do to those considered “Other” in the name of evangelism or polemical behaviour. It is important to remember this sort of oppression can and does occur all the time in the name of the people who follow Jesus. The problem is that “true believers” of virtually any faith group — Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc. — need an “Other” to bolster their own identity. The “Other” becomes an enemy of sorts. You either eliminate them, or convert them. We, in our part of the world, usually think of these options in terms of the Islamic world. It’s important to remember that for centuries, the Christian world dealt with the “Other” by converting them on pain of death by the sword. Today, we are a little less barbaric; now we attempt to convert by threats, fear and abuse. “Come to Jesus, or go to hell!” is too often the rallying cry of the Christian community. My own take on this is: the overwhelming

message of the Hebrew Scriptures is the love of God for all humans, and that despite the expressed frustration of the Almighty, God’s care for all remains constant. The Jesus of the Christian Gospels welcomed and included all manner of people — “the world” in fact. Perhaps we contemporary Christians need a much more inclusive theology, one that takes seriously the oft misused word of John 3: 16 and 17 – “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but the world might be saved.” The world is the ‘oecumene’ — the ‘whole inhabited earth.’ God’s love is universal,

according to the Gospels. True believing Christians could — and should — be spending energy sharing God’s love by working actively for the betterment of those who are most in need of care. More than 70 years ago, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, in the context of Nazi Germany, “Only he who cries out for the Jews may sing Gregorian chants.” If he spoke today he might well say, “Only they who cry out for aboriginal justice… for improvement in support for welfare recipients…or for the 90,000 Alberta children who live in poverty…have the right to sing Blessed Assurance.”

James Strachan United Church of Canada Not a member of the Ponoka Ministerial association

Christmas Services FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH 5109 - 57 Ave. 403.783.5533 Come Celebrate With Us! Christmas Eve Service December 24, 7:00 pm


December 23 – Sunday School 10:30 am December 24 Christmas Candlelight Service 4:00pm & 7:00pm December 25 – No Service December 30 – Carols Service

SEVENTHDAY ADVENTIST CHURCH 6230 57 Ave • 403-783-6404

December 22 Christmas Service 10:45 pm Lunch to follow December 29 Regular Service

CHURCH OF THE OPEN BIBLE 3704 42 St. 403-783-6500

Sunday, December 23 Regular Service 11:00 am Monday, December 24 Christmas Eve Service at 7:00 pm May your Christmas & New Year be filled with God’s many blessings!

ST. AUGUSTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH 5113, 52 Ave. 403.783.4048

December 24 Christmas Eve Mass 9:00 pm December 25 Christmas Day Mass 9:00 am January 1, 2013 New Year’s Day Mass 9:00 am

Come Celebrate the Birth of Christ. Everyone Welcome!

Ponoka United Church


December 21 Blue Christmas Service 7:00 pm at St. Mary’s Anglican Church December 23 Sunday School Christmas Play 10:00 am December 24 Christmas Eve - Candlelight Communion 7:00 pm December 30 Carols and Cocoa 10:00 am

December 21 Blue Christmas Service 7:00 pm December 23 Lessons and Carols Service 10:00 am December 24 Christingle Service (Family Service) 7:00 pm Midnight Mass 11:00 pm December 25 Christmas Day Service – 10:00 am All Welcome!

5020 - 52 Avenue 403.783.4087

PARKLAND REFORM CHURCH South on Hwy 2A, West on Spruce Road. 403-783-1888

December 25 Christmas Service 10:00 am December 31 New Year’s Eve Service 7:00 pm January 1, 2013 New Year’s Day Service 10:00 pm

5120 - 49 Ave. 403-783-4329

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” Francis of Assisi


CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH Dec 24 Christmas Eve Drama & Carols @ 7:00 pm Dec 25 Christmas Day Program @ 10:30 am 46 St/RR 255, .5 km past Alberta Hospital

Information: 587-729-0700 •


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Christmas significance of Midnight Mass Christmas is one of the most celebrated dates on the Christian calendar. Commemorating the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ is only surpassed in importance by the celebration of Easter, a time when Christians remember Christ’s sacrifice of life for His people. Christmas is celebrated with much joy and fervor all around the world, with exchanges of gifts and special acts of charity all month long. One component of the Christmas celebration that has long been tradition and holds special meaning to celebrants is the Midnight Mass. Churches all around the world hold four different Christmas celebrations, including three masses and a Christmas vigil. The Midnight Mass is perhaps the most cherished. Mass, a Christian liturgical rite that often involves the sacrament of the Eucharist, may begin prior to midnight and include biblical readings that focus on the story of Christ’s birth depending on the church. At midnight on Dec. 24, carols may be sung and the ringing of church bells to signify the birth of Christ as Dec. 25 arrives. In Israel, a procession takes place from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. In the Catholic Pope’s home of Vatican City, the Pope himself heads the Midnight Mass and people in large numbers pray for

peace among mankind. Many theologians say that the Midnight Mass evolved from individuals making pilgrimages to Israel and the actual birthplace of Christ. Because the Bible states Jesus was born at night and in a manger, to fully immerse oneself in the story and the liturgical significance of the moment, a Midnight Mass seems the best place to achieve these goals. The darkness and the gentle hush that nighttime provides helps set the scene and enhance the spiritual component of Christmas. The Nativity of Jesus takes place in two Gospels of the Bible: the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew. The version of Luke goes much more deeply into the story of Mary’s virgin conception through the time of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Here is Christ’s birth according to the Gospel of Luke: In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Later, the Gospel continues, “He was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Midnight Mass has become an important component in the celebration of Christmas for the faithful. While secular celebrations may focus on the arrival of Santa Claus at the midnight hour, religious celebrations often involve filling churches at midnight to spread the word of Christ’s arrival.

Some traditions are dangerous Many Christmas traditions are older than some celebrants might think. The tradition of lighting up a Christmas tree, for example, dates back to the days before Christmas lights. Before electricpowered twinkle lights were invented and even before electricity was discovered, people used actual candles to adorn the Christmas tree. As one can imagine, having an open flame next to a dried-out tree was risky, so it was customary to keep a bucket of water next to the tree in the case of fire. As if fire wasn’t enough, the tinsel used to decorate trees was made from strips of silver and even lead — something that is now known to

be a health hazard to adults and children alike. Although we’ve come a long way since candles and lead, even now trees that are overly dry and decorated with lights that have frayed wires can just as easily lead to fires. Plus, plastic tinsel can be a choking hazard for children and pets. One Christmas staple that has lost its status as a safety hazard is the poinsettia plant. It has long been thought that poinsettias are poisonous to people and animals. While there is some toxicity to the plant, it would require the ingestion of hundreds of leaves to get a toxic dose of a plant’s poison.

A Note Of Thanks Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season.

Merry Christmas

At The Holiday Season

Thank you, customers and friends. We appreciate your support and look forward to serving you in the New Year In times like these, we are especially grateful for the loyalty and support of people like you, and would like to express our best wishes for a very merry


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Wishing you a Joyous Holiday Season and a New Year filled with Health and Happiness.

Christmas and a happy New Year to each of you.



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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Celebrating the season of Epiphany

Celebrants of the Christian faith and Eastern orthodox Christian religion may want to wait a few days after Christmas to start packing away their decorations and cease celebrating the holiday season. That’s because it is customary to commemorate the Epiphany, which marks the day Jesus Christ was revealed as the Son of God. Epiphany is known by a few different names. In addition to Epiphany, the holiday is sometimes called Little Christmas and the Feast of the Three Kings. Spanish-speaking individuals refer to it as El Dia de Los Tres Reyes, which essentially translates to Day of the Three Kings. In Western faiths, Epiphany takes place on Jan. 6. However, in Catholic dioceses in the U.S., it is observed on the Sunday between Jan. 2 and 8. Eastern Christians follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, Epiphany occurs a few days later for them, on Jan. 19. According to Christian tradition, Epiphany marks the day the travelling magi arrived from

afar to bid welcome to the Baby Jesus. They presented three different gifts:gold, frankincense and myrrh. “And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary, His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11 Although the Bible doesn’t specifically mention that there were three wise men, biblical historians interpret that there were only three due to the number of gifts that were presented. The names of the magi were Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, but this is something learned post-Bible as well. Gold represented a gift worthy of a king. Frankincense was an expensive gift valued for its wonderful fragrance and medicinal values and worship. It is thought Frankincense spoke to the worship of God. Myrrh was used as an anesthetic and in burial embalming. It is also used to anoint one in faith.

The meaning of the word “epiphany” is a revealing or an opening of one’s eyes. Although Epiphany is much known for the three wise men, the significance of the day is that God revealed Himself to everyone through the human person who was His Son, Jesus. God reveals that the true God is Jesus, the Messiah, and Savior of the world, who was sent to the people for this express purpose.

The day of the Epiphany actually marks the first day of the Epiphany season, which lasts until the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday. Through the Epiphany season, God reveals many intricacies of His Word through scripture in the Bible. Although many Christians celebrate the better-known holiday of Christmas, Epiphany may have even more spiritual meaning during this holiday season.

December hosts many religious holidays Christmas and Chanukah may get the bulk of the attention come December, but the final month of the year includes other religious holidays as well. The following are just a few of the religious celebrations taking place this holiday season. • Feast of Saint Nicholas: Typically falling on Dec. 6, the Feast of Saint Nicholas, or Saint Nicholas Day, is a festival for children in many European countries. In commemoration of Saint Nicholas, gift-giving occurs in some countries on his feast day, while some countries’ celebrations are more low-key. Children are typically the recipients of gifts, and the legend of Saint Nicholas, whose reputation as a gift-giver was widely known during his lifetime, is said to have inspired the idea of Santa Claus. • Bodhi Day: A holiday that commemorates the day Buddha received enlightenment, Bodhi Day is typically celebrated on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month. Bodhi Day is celebrated in many Buddhist countries and communities, and many celebrants choose to meditate in commemoration. • Feast of the Immaculate Conception: This feast, which is celebrated on Dec. 8, celebrates

the belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a celebration of the belief that Mary was kept free of original sin from the moment of her conception. The day is a Holy Day of Obligation within the Catholic Church. • Chanukah: Some may instantly associate Chanukah with exchanging gifts, but this wellknown December holiday is not a celebration of giving and receiving gifts, but a commemoration of the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Chanukah is celebrated for eight nights and days, and in some years can begin in late November. • Christmas: Celebrated every year on Dec. 25 (though some Orthodox Christians use a different calendar and celebrate on a different day), Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Traditions associated with Christmas include attending Christmas Mass, decorating for the holiday and exchanging gifts with family and friends. Once celebrated strictly by Christians, the holiday is now celebrated by Christians and nonChristians alike and includes both religious and secular traditions.

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Spirit of Santa lives in Christmas magic

more than even for Throughout the myself, I desperately ages there has always needed my brother, been a great deal of who loved kittens and controversy about cocoa and the Toronto Santa Claus. Maple Leafs pretty Is he real? Is he much in that order, to not? The question, as believe there really was far as I understand, a Santa Claus and that has never been many unsuspected resolved, but remains good and wonderful one of those illusive, things would happen unsolved mysteries to him in his lifetime. everyone seems to Treena Mielke Magical things. have a different theory On the other side He was only a boy about. after all; a boy who When I was about six or seven and was supposed to came home from school every day be asleep but wasn’t, and caught with the certainty that he would see sight of a guy who looked a lot like his mom in the kitchen when he my brother stuffing my little brown glanced in the window. And then stocking with a bow and arrow, (my one day when he hurried home, brothers were convinced I needed he looked in the window, but the kitchen was empty. boy toys) I was convinced. They told us our mom had gone Santa was my brother. However, years later one my to be with the angels, but for some other brothers told me that our reason, that didn’t seem particularly brother (aka Santa) had told him comforting at the time. And so we both became to “Grow up, and quit looking for hoof prints on the roof because disillusioned about Santa and my brother no longer checked the roof there was no Santa Claus.” My belief was shaken, because for hoof prints and neither he nor I

expected to see our mom after school or at any other time, for that matter. But, just to throw a little controversy into the pot, I do believe the Leafs won that year. And I still wonder if that was the year Santa was disguised as a goalie or maybe he was a really good forward dressed in a blue and white jersey emblazed with the familiar maple leaf. As for me, I was done. Santa did not exist. What I had suspected was true. But then one icy, cold morning in November when the world was all quiet and puppies and children and all good people were sleeping still, I became a mom. And when I first laid eyes on the sleeping face of my newborn son, Santa, who had somehow vanished from my life so many years ago, suddenly re-appeared. Two years later, during a time when white city streets got all dressed up in red and green and silver bells, their notes playing frozen tag in the air like a bunch of happy, carefree children,

rang out good tidings, my second child, a daughter was born. And, when I first held her close to me, devouring the magic of her soft baby sweetness into the very core of my being, I swear I could hear the tinkle of sleigh bells over the hospital roof. We held a little birthday party for our very own December child the other day. Of course, now she’s a grown up lady with babes of her own and her very own reasons for believing in the mystical jolly old elf dressed in red and white. And, somehow as I sat there, over the gentle laughter of my children, I swear I could hear, once again, the tinkle of sleigh bells over the restaurant roof. But later when my husband put his glasses on to peer at the astronomical numbers of the bill for our meal, then simply smiled and said, “I’ll get this,” I knew I was wrong. Santa wasn’t on the roof. He was sitting beside me.

Reindeer not all Rudolphs While Rudolph might be the most famous reindeer, there remains no documented evidence of a red-nosed reindeer guiding Santa’s sleigh on an especially stormy Christmas Eve. But just because no one has yet to find the real Rudolph, that doesn’t mean we don’t know a few things about Santa’s sled buddies. • Reindeer are also known as caribou in North America. • Females generally weigh between 170 to 260 lbs., while males are often much larger, weighing as little as 200 lbs. but as much as 460 lbs. • Reindeer reside in both the Arctic and Subarctic, and hunting of wild reindeer and herding of semidomesticated reindeer is important to several Arctic and Subarctic

people. • Reindeer fur can vary considerably. In northern populations, reindeer tend to have white fur, while southern populations are darker in color. • Reindeer size can also vary depending on location, as southern reindeer populations tend to be larger than their northern counterparts. • In most reindeer populations, both males and females grow antlers. Among deer, reindeer have the largest antlers in relation to body size. • Males often battle with each other by locking antlers for the right to mate with certain females. • During migration, some reindeer reach speeds of 50 to 80 km/h.

Call Glenda or Maxine to discuss all your Financial Needs. Specializing in Personal & Commercial Banking to serve you better.

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012



Colourful Ponoka nights

Santa behind the scenes: Look close and you can see Santa and his reindeer making their way up the roof of this home east of Ponoka on 431048 Range Road 253. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

lighten up. It’s Christmas! Christmas lights, western style: Harbin Welding is in the holiday spirit with festive lights and a wagon wheel at their office location. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Season’s Greetings!

Rejoice! We have much to be grateful for, including your friendship and goodwill.

CRAWFORD AGENCIES 5023 51 Ave • 403-783-4033

We appreciate your support this past year. Since 2011 Ponoka is over 3,000 lbs. lighter. We have enjoyed celebrating your success with you. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year.

Candice & Barb

Ideal Transformations Weight Loss Center

Ponoka 403-785-7166 Red Deer 403-342-7167

With a string of glad tidings to our customers, neighbors, and friends at this joyous time of year.

It’s been a privilege and a pleasure serving you and we look forward to your continued support!

Cindy’s With More


Bay 6, 4502 50 Street


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Safety First When Stringing Holiday Lights never be used on a metallic tree. • Routinely check all cords’ temperatures. If a cord feels too hot, unplug it and find a replacement. • Don’t leave the lights on when no adults are home. If the home is empty or if just kids are home, make sure the lights are off. Avoid using timers that automatically turn the lights on, as it’s possible they will turn on when no one is home. Unplug all cords when going away for the holidays just to be safe. • Make sure all cords are visible. Don’t bury cords underneath rugs or floor mats to avoid personal injuries. • Hanging lights shouldn’t be a solo project. Whether hanging lights inside or outside, never do so alone. A stiff wind might come along and blow the ladder away or an unstable ladder might lead to a fall. Accidents happen when hanging lights indoors as well, so make sure to have an adult partner on hand to avoid injury. • Make sure kids cannot reach lighting displays. Kids often adore holiday lighting displays and their natural curiosity is to reach for lights. Avoid potential accidents by keeping lights well beyond the reach of children.

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Holiday lighting displays are a beloved tradition but one homeowners must carefully consider and layout to avoid accidents.

Tips for holiday decorators (MS) Taking holiday decorating to extremes is fun. But accidents can happen, especially when using a lot of electronic decorations on the outside of the house. Follow these safety precautions for outdoor decorating from CSA Group, a leader in electronic product testing and certification, to help make sure your house gets noticed for the right reasons: • Put your faith in the magic of the holidays but don’t fall for fakes: Whether it’s a waving Santa, rocking sleigh, or light-up Rudolph, avoid counterfeit electronic decorations that haven’t been certified for safe use. Look for the mark from an accredited certification organization like CSA Group on light strings, extension cords, and animated displays. Make sure they are marked for outdoor use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. • Keep old holiday traditions, not old holiday lights: Carefully inspect light strings each year. Discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections. • Sparkle without the spark: Turn off the electricity

Wishing you all the creature comforts for a purr-fect holiday season. We couldn’t have asked for better friends than you.

to the supply outlet before working with outdoor wiring. Unplug light strings before replacing bulbs and check to ensure replacement bulbs match the voltage and wattage of the original. To avoid a shock from damaged wire, use insulated fasteners rather than metal nails or tacks to hold light strings in place. • Stay dry: Keep electrical connectors for outdoor lights above ground, out of water, and away from metal gutters. Connect outdoor lighting into receptacles protected by weatherproof ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). These can provide protection from electric shock by sensing ground leakage and cutting electrical power. • Don’t be silly with strings: Make decorating a family activity by planning this year’s theme with the kids, but don’t let children or pets play with light strings. • Don’t overextend yourself: Use heavy duty extension cords for high wattage decorations and large electronically-animated displays and don’t overload extension cords. • It’s more than a faux-pas to keep lights up all year: Outdoor holiday lights are made for seasonal use only; extended exposure can lead to damage. After the holiday season, take down decorations and store them in their original packaging to keep the proper use instructions for next year. You can find more safety tips at

Perhaps no holiday tradition is more visible than decorative lights. Whether on the house or on the tree in the front picture window, holiday lights help create a festive mood for all. While aesthetically appealing, holiday lighting displays can also be quite dangerous. Older lights or poorly planned lighting projects can quickly turn tragic. However, this much beloved holiday tradition does not have to cease and desist. Instead, some simple safety precautions are all it takes to ensure this year’s lighting display is both stunning and safe. • Make sure exterior lights are designed for outdoor use. Not all lights can handle the elements, so those old Christmas tree lights might not be able to enjoy a second life as part of a home’s exterior lighting decor. • Plug lights directly into the electrical sockets rather than relying heavily on extension cords. Employ surge protector strips if there are not enough outlets available. Before plugging anything in, consult the fuse box to determine how much each circuit can safely handle. • Don’t use damaged lighting sets, including those with frayed strings, unstable connections, exposed wires, or broken or cracked sockets. • Make sure all external lights are securely attached. Wind can do significant damage to bulbs, which can lead to additional safety risks. As a precaution, attach all lights firmly to walls or anything else that will not blow away when a stiff wind arrives. • Inside the home, be extra careful when using an artificial Christmas tree. Electric lights should

We would be real “heels” if we didn’t wish you

Merry Christmas!

5102 46 Ave, Ponoka Phone: 403-783-4648

Your hometown dealer store

Wishing you the best & brightest holiday season! Sheila, Jim, A.J., Donelda & Loi 5101 51 Ave • 403-704-8000


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Cheerful night. Motorists on Highway 53 just west of the Highway 2 overpass at the Dykman residence are given a pleasing view of these Christmas lights decorations. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Tread Pro Tire Centre


We are sending you our Best Holiday Wishes! along with our thanks for your valued business 5503 54 Street • 403-783-6804

As Visions of Sugarplums Dance in\ Our Heads—

All we want for Christmas... is to wish you the very best! Here’s hoping nothing’s missing from your holiday season. May it be filled with family, friends, great times and holiday cheer. Thank you for your patronage.

Ponoka Reddi Mart

4508 - 39 Ave.


May the spirit of Christmas ring in your heart echo throughout the new year.

We’d like to acknowledge all the folks who have helped to make this past year a sweet one for us.

Happy Holidays and heartfelt thanks!

Custom Catering Baked Goods & Deli 5026 51 Ave 403-783-2285

“ The Stolson Team” Darcy Stolson Mortgage Professional Office: 403-704-1692

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year May this holiday season give to you & your family all the gifts that really count -

peace, love, friendship and joy.

Marissa Stolson Mortgage Professional Office: 403-783-3746

Vold, Jones & Vold Auction Co. Ltd. Phone: 403-783-5561 Fax: 403-783-4120

4410 - Hwy 2A


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Roy Kinnaird displays two of his wood-lathed pieces. Photo by Amelia Naismith

Lifelong passion, striking presents By Amelia Naismith Roy Kinnaird as been working with wood since he has 14 years old, and now that he’s retired he shows no signs of slowing down. Although he took a break from wood and his lathe for several years his passion eventually called him back, and that’s how he and his wife, Eileen, ended up at the Ponoka Christmas Farmers’ Market for the first time. After giving away a beautiful wedding bowl and presents to family members there was no one left to give to and his finished masterpieces began piling up in the house. “There were too many to keep in the house so we thought we’d try and sell some,” explained his wife. While the Dec. 5 market was only the Kinnaird’s second Christmas market they say things are going well. “There seems to be a fair amount of interest in it,” said Kinnaird. “I think for Christmas I think it’ll be OK.” Of the wares he had for sale,

Kinnaird said his favorite was his wooden bells. “I guess what started me is my mother and father. They had a 50th wedding anniversary; they had a brass bell given to them. I was curious if I could make them out of wood.” “I like the surprise that I’m going to find inside. The design of the grain, the colour of the grain,” Kinnaird added. The colour of the grain that was brought out of the wood also seemed to be one of his wife’s favorite parts of the creations. Anyone who stopped to look at the wooden pieces was shown an array of purple, red and blue wood. Over the summer Kinnaird stocked up on wood and brought a half-ton back from the Northwest Territories — in his motorhome compartments. “He brought it into the motorhome . . . and I said no way. If it can’t fit under the carpet it ain’t coming,” his wife recalled with a laugh.

Holiday Greetings From Our Family To Yours

Jean-Marie Riess has been working hard, carving dozens of Santa ornaments for the holidays. Photo by Amelia Naismith

Carver fashions holiday pieces By Amelia Naismith Christmas is a time when artisans from around the province come out of the woodwork and gather at Ponoka’s Legion to sell the products of their passion. Like many others, Jean-Marie Riess set out a beautiful display during the Christmas Farmers’ Market; she however, brought the woodwork with her. Riess displayed an array of intricately carved pictures, sculptures and Christmas tree ornaments; set to make perfect Christmas gifts. It’s a craft she learned long ago, and has honed to near perfection. “I went to university and got my bachelor of fine arts. I majored in stone carving.” However, because stone was heavier and harder to get a hold of Riess expanded into woodcarving. She started with basic, crafty, rustic products, such as outhouse toilet

paper holders and worked her way up to threedimensional pictures. When she went to school Riess never thought she’d get the opportunity to sell her work at events like the farmers’ market. “I’ve always been interested really in art and I had the opportunity to go, and I’ve never regretted it.” Riess’s parents were teachers and she inherited her passion for learning from them. She says she’ll never be able to make a living off her carvings but it’s something she’ll continue doing. Some of her bigger projects can take 50 hours of carving. “But you can’t work at it eight hours a day, that’s why I do the smaller stuff.” As a way to take a break from the bigger projects, and to get a finished project out for sale, Riess has turned her attention to Christmas tree ornaments. “Right now I really like doing Santa.” However, Riess is starting to make the ornaments periodically over the course of the year so there’s not a big rush at the end.

CHRISTMAS IS HERE! The perfect time for joy, love & togetherness and to say We are proud to serve you!

Merry Christmas & Many Thanks Please accept our best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year. We feel truly honored to serve this community and appreciate your trust in us.

Ponoka Funeral Home ~ A Wombold Family Funeral Home ~

5115 - 50 Ave.


It’s been a real treat serving you, and we hope your holiday is as special as you are.

Ponoka Fertilizer


6305 - 48 Ave. 403-783-5555

Merry Christmas! Thank you all for a very special year and your continued support & patronage

6024 - 49 St. 403-783-4103 Service From the Word Grow

4814 - 50 Street, Ponoka 403-783-8721 locally owned


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Admirable hobbies create thriving business By Amelia Naismith It started with a husband’s hobby and transformed into one woman’s passion. Susan Batsch, owner of Just Tooling Around, started hand-tooling motorcycle seats and bags because her husband was into riding. “I just really like working with tooling leather.” Although Batsch’s company is based out of Kelowna, B.C., she’s travelled all across British Columbia and Alberta to six different Christmas markets, showcasing her custom leatherwork. Batsch recalls her favorite custom piece was for her grandson last Christmas, he was also into riding bikes and rodeos.

“I took a picture of his horse and put it on the seat,” she said. Batsch embossed the picture onto the tooled leather, but it didn’t end there. Both the front and back fenders of the bike were also redone with leather. Batsch doesn’t only work with leather, she also dabbles in her other passion; copper work. Over the summer she picked up and began selling the Canadian line Copper Reflections. “I’ve just expanded. I think it’s a really nice complement, copper and leather.” “The leather is definitely my passion,” she added. “I like to do things that are special to each costumer.”

Holiday shopping time saving tips

Just Tooling Around owner Susan Batsch displays some of her handmade ornaments. Photo by Amelia

If you feel stressed by the demands of the holiday season, you’re not alone. With so much to do — shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, entertaining, and spending time with family and friends — many people feel overwhelmed and exhausted before the holidays even arrive. By using some simple time-management strategies, you can spend less time shopping and more time enjoying all that the season has to offer. The best way to manage your time while shopping for the holidays is not to shop during the holidays. But if there are some last-minute gifts on your list, here are some tips that can help you save time. • Set up a gift-wrapping station in a corner of your home so that you can easily wrap items as you buy them. • Check with stores about free wrapping or take advantage of gift-wrapping services in malls that benefit charitable organizations. The fees are generally reasonable, so you can save time and donate to worthy causes.

• Plan your driving route. Before heading out to multiple shopping destinations, it pays to plan your route ahead of time. If you’re already out and about on other business, check to see if any stores you need to stop at are on the way. • Avoid peak shopping and traffic hours by shopping during early or late store hours. Check to see which stores offer extended holiday hours and take advantage of them. • Shop alone whenever possible. Children and even friends can be a distraction. You can always arrange a separate holiday shopping trip with friends to socialize. • Organize a family shopping day. Get it out of the way in one trip so you can remain focused during future outings. • Plan for next year by buying this year. Many holiday items, such as decorations, cards and wrapping paper, are heavily discounted during the week after Christmas. Take advantage of the sales and you’ll be one step ahead at the start of the next holiday season.


Best Wishes from Pharmacists

Dwayne, Courtney, Jamil and all the Staff

Home is where the heart is and ours is with all the good folks who have helped to make us feel so at home here.

Thanks, friends!

Sincerely, Jamil & Katrina Rawji, and Family HOLIDAY HOURS: Dec 24 9 am - 3 pm Dec 25 & 26 Closed Dec. 31 9 am - 4 pm Jan. 1, 2013 Closed

“Promoting Your Health”™

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Make your own holiday ornaments Holiday decorating is a big part of the holiday season. Bins are taken out of the attic or garage, and decorations are once again given their opportunity to shine for several weeks before being packed away again. Among the many decorations families use to deck the halls are ornaments that were made by hand. This year creating homemade ornaments can be a crafty project that helps families make new holiday memories. Christmas tree ornaments come in all shapes and sizes and often tell the stories of holiday traditions. Val Brimacombe stitched together an array of holiday, and other, placemats for the Ponoka There are several different ways to create personalized, do-it-yourself Christmas Famers’ Market. Photo by Amelia Naismith ornaments and leave the cheap, easily broken ornaments from the dollar stores behind. Photo ornaments Fun photo ornaments showcase how a family has changed and I’m done with these I don’t know grown over the years. Experiment By Amelia Naismith Christmas is a time of merriment, what I’m going to do with them,” with different ways to create these and especially around the holidays Brimacombe said, indicating to ornaments. You can glue a photo a little kindness can go a long way dozens and dozens of colorful to a ceramic ornament and cover for someone in need. placemats. “With the hoodies I it with decoupage glaze to set it Val Brimacombe, one of the can donate them and they can permanently. Try purchasing clear, artisans at Ponoka’s Christmas send them overseas. I love sewing glass ornaments, then remove the Farmers Market, has been sewing children’s clothing.” top of the ornament, which is usually She’s been attending Christmas spring-loaded, before slipping a since she was seven or eight years old, and she never imagined her passion markets for seven years both in photo inside and replacing the top. Ponoka and Lacombe because she You also can laminate a photo, would lead her to the market. “I like making polar fleece finally ran out of room to keep all punch a hole in the top and affix a hoodies and vests best. When her sewing in her house. ribbon. “Before the markets I knew I Ceramic ornaments was always going to The popularity of paint-it-yourself sew but I didn’t know pottery has led to an increase in what I was going to ceramic and crafts shops across the do with them,” said Brimaconbe. “I started country. During the holiday season selling to get rid of it such shops offer many holiday items and now I just keep that can be painted. Often the store will then fire the pieces after they are adding more.” painted so that they are Mona, Randy and staff shiny and would like to give a huge hardened f o r thank you for your patronage I would like to express my display.

Passion leads to pastime

Greetings of the Season

gratitude to the ratepayers of Division 3 for your continued support. It has been my pleasure to represent you and hear your concerns/ideas. I would like to wish all the ratepayers of Ponoka County and especially Division 3 a very Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring you all your wishes!

through out the year.

May you all be blessed with a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

With Warm Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season and Prosperous New Year! EC


Home: 403-783-3712 Water Well Services Cell: 403-704-3413



In the spirit of the season, we extend heartfelt thanks and best wishes for a happy, healthy season.

Thank You George Verheire 403.783.2589 403.350.8395 - cell

Those who want to do their painting at home can visit their local craft or hobby shop, where typically there are unfinished ceramic ornaments that can be painted with acrylic paints found right in the next aisle. A finishing coat of clear glaze will help protect the ornaments from year to year. Wood crafts Many of today’s craft centers have expanded to include sections devoted to unfinished wood items. Everything from letters to animal cutouts to boxes and rocking horses can be purchased and finished. Turn keepsake boxes into painted and ribbon-adorned gift boxes. Stain a treasure chest that can be used to store reindeer snacks for Santa’s crew. Turn small decorative pieces into ornaments for the tree. Paint and affix wood initials onto stocking holders to identify to whom each stocking belongs. Crafty individuals also can turn plain wood plaques into signs with clever sayings, such as “Park your sleigh here.” Scavenge around the house Young children can use any medium for making ornaments. Garlands made of macaroni or popcorn are traditional. Fabric scraps can be sewn and stuffed with potpourri for homemade scent satchels. Hand-drawn pictures can be made and laminated and hung on the tree. The only obstacle with regard to DIY ornaments is a limited imagination. Homemade items can add whimsy and a personal touch to the holiday season.

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DOT’S FABRICS YARNS & CRAFTS 403.783.4091 5023 - 51 Ave.


Wednesday, Dec. 19 2012

Has gift wrapping become a lost art?

Have we become a society too busy for gift wrap? When a birthday arrives or the holidays come around in full force, where do most people turn? To the ultra-convenient gift bag, that’s where. Gift bags have largely taken over the party aisles at most stores, where rows and rows of gift bags in all shapes and sizes are not uncommon. If you’re trying to find a roll of wrapping paper, good luck. For birthdays, anniversaries and even baby showers, paper designs have essentially become obsolete. It’s true that wrapping paper seems to make a rebound come the holiday season, when stores begin to devote aisles of space to holiday supplies. But even when shiny foils and smiling Santas beckon customers from the tightly packed rolls, many people still choose gift bags. Gift bags do have many advantages. They are easily portable, generally inexpensive and come in some very clever designs. They’re also touted as a “green” product because they can be reused. But there are plenty of people who feel the elimination of intricately wrapped presents takes some of the magic out of the holidays. Carefully wrapped gifts show that a person put in time and effort to present a gift in a way that is sentimental and personal. Although it may take mere minutes to pry away the paper and find a treasure inside, there’s something to be said for paper-wrapped gifts. It means the gift-giver sat down, pondered the paper design and carefully chose the bow or ribbon with the recipient in mind. Before you eschew wrapping paper for a gift bag this holiday season, think about all of the advantages to spending some time and reacquainting yourself with the art of gift wrapping. Here are some reasons to save the gift bag for another time. • Wrapping can be green, too. Wrapping paper can be reused if it is carefully removed from a gift. You also can create your own wrapping paper by decorating brown postal paper with a rubber stamp or having children color their own special murals. Don’t overlook newsprint as wrapping as well. • Paper is more cost-effective. You are bound to get more bang for your wrapping buck by choosing wrapping paper. Although there are scores of discount stores that sell low-priced gift bags,

Madison Fleck and Adrianna Slomp wrap presents with the Central Ponoka 4-H Club at the Chamber Christmas shopping party, Dec. 1.

Photo by Amelia Naismith often the quality isn’t the same, and the handles could tear after one or two uses. Wrapping paper per inch is definitely more affordable than gift bags, particularly when purchased on sale. • Wrapping paper lets you be creative. Cover a box with a patchwork of different paper scraps, choose to stagger colors of paper with boxes towered one on top of another or tie on the biggest bow you can find. • Paper is traditional. Look back to the classic stories of yuletide and you are bound to find images of Santa Claus pulling wrapped boxes out of his enormous gift sack. Also think about how department stores used to (and some still do) offer complimentary gift wrapping. • Wrapped gifts travel better. When carrying your bounty of gifts to friends and family, carefully wrapped boxes tend to stand up to travel better than gift bags. No one wants to receive a gift bag that has been wrinkled and crushed into some amorphous shape. Plus, wilted tissue paper can be off-putting. • There’s something magical about wrapping paper. The anticipation, the drama, the build-up to peeling aside wrapping paper and revealing the gift has brought smiles to children’s (and adults’) faces for generations. It is hard to improve on something that has been successful for years and years. Although the public may be swept up in rushing from here to there, there are traditionalists who appreciate sitting down and spending time creating holiday magic by way of beautifully wrapped gifts.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! Grace and peace to you and your family this Christmas season We would like to thank all our customers for your patronage in 2012 and are looking forward to serving you in 2013.

Our entire staff wishes you and your family members a sparkling holiday season.

Merry Christmas and a very blessed and Happy New Year. Jim, Norlyn, Vern, Josh, Daneel, Todd, Larry, Alix, Elsbeth,Tim, Caitlin & Jamie

Signs of the season are everywhere -The snow on the ground; the chill in the air But our hearts are always warm, this is true, When we turn our thoughts to friends like you! With gratitude and best wishes for a happy holiday season from all of us.

Rowland, Parker & Associates LLP Chartered Accountants


403-783-5225 403-783-5235 5118 - 51 Ave., Ponoka, AB

403-783-3315 5027 - 51 Ave • 403-783-4000

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Keep kids engaged and occupied during holiday shopping trips Holiday shopping with kids can be fun. Kids enjoy giving gifts, and bringing them along on shopping excursions to offer their input can make the season that much more special for youngsters. But bringing the little ones along on a holiday shopping trip also can be tricky, as kids can easily grow tired or bored at the mall. The following are a few tips to ensure kids and adults enjoy their holiday shopping trips together. • Bring backup. Kids might find shopping enjoyable at the outset, but visiting store after store can drain them of that enthusiasm. To quell the inevitable boredom, bring along some backup, such as a handheld video game or a tablet or e-reader on which kids can watch a favorite film or television show. • Choose your shopping destination wisely. All malls and retailers are certainly not equal, especially when kids will be accompanying you for a day of shopping. Some malls offer attractions for kids,

such as a merry-go-round or a live performance with a holiday theme. Such attractions provide some balance to a shopping trip, giving kids something to look forward to between store visits. • Don’t be a Scrooge. An ice cream cone, some holiday cookies or a hot chocolate might not be the healthiest fare for youngsters but such items can make a shopping excursion that much more enjoyable. When shopping with kids in tow, relax a youngster’s dietary restrictions so they can enjoy some holiday treats while shopping till they drop. • Give kids some spending money. Kids are more likely to engage themselves in a holiday shopping trip if they have some spending money of their own. Offer children some money before leaving the house, and tell them the money is theirs to spend on gifts as they see fit. Kids might just enjoy looking for the perfect gift and hunting down a holiday bargain as much as Mom and Dad.


Dylan Giles helps Emily and Jackson Cline with their Christmas shopping.

Evan Sperber helps his mother at their retail booth at the Ponoka Chamber of Commerce Children’s Christmas shopping party. Photos by Amelia Naismith

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and many thanks for your valued patronage.

Paterson & Company Law Office

5016 51 Ave • 403-783-5521

Happy Holidays!! Let It Snow, Let It Snow Let It Snow Snow

Nothing can dampen our appreciation for customers like you! Merry Christmas and many thanks. Keith Stebner

Ponoka First Call Towing Ltd. 6701 - 46 Ave


To all of those who have passed by this way, Go our very best wishes for a bright holiday – For your support and goodwill too, We’re very grateful to each one of you!

Central Office Supplies Ltd. 5026 Chipman Ave 403-783-2299


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Think twice before giving pets as gifts Many people consider pets great holiday gifts. In spite of their popularity as presents, pets do not always make the most appropriate holiday gift. Giving a pet as a present seems like a great idea, but shoppers might want to give it more consideration before giving a gift that is such a considerable responsibility. A puppy at Christmas or a bunny at Easter may be given with good intentions but that well-meaning sentiment can easily backfire, ending with the pet being given up for adoption when recipients don’t feel up to the task of raising a pet. In such instances, the companion animal pays the steepest price. According to the Humane Society, most puppies and kittens born in the United States never reach their second birthdays. They die from being hit by cars, are euthanized by their owners, succumb to starvation or suffer fatal injuries in fights with other animals. Though it often is, buying a pet should not be an impulse purchase. You see sad eyes looking back at you from behind a cage door and want to give that animal a new home. However, introducing an animal into a family is not a decision to take lightly. You must factor how well the pet will fit in with the family dynamic. Do schedules allow for quality time spent with the animal? Is it a financially good time to care for an animal that will cost money? Are you aware of how long the pet will live? Making those big decisions for a person on the receiving end of your well-intentioned gift may be crossing a line. Would you want to have such a life-changing decision made for you? Furthermore, the holiday season is not one ideally suited for making careful decisions. People are often swept up in emotions and even stress, and shoppers may not be thinking rationally. The hectic nature of the holiday season can be a difficult time for a pet to grow acclimated to its new environment. He or she may be frightened to assimilate or take longer to settle down. Pets often need several weeks of quiet and constant care to become comfortable in their new environments. Here are some other reasons why the holidays are not a

Pets don’t always make the best holiday gifts.

Peace, Joy, Harmony

T hanks!

good time for new pets. • Holiday visitors may frighten the new pet and he or she may become weary of strangers at the outset. • The activities in the household may pose safety hazards for the young animal. An abundance of rich foods and various decorations could be ingested, potentially causing illness. • New pets should be carefully supervised around children to see how they behave. A child may not be accustomed to handling a puppy or kitten and could injure the animal. Similarly, the pet may be skittish and lash out at the child. Adults busy with holiday obligations may be easily distracted and miss how their child is interacting with the new pet. • Once the glow of the holidays wear off, children may be disillusioned with the new responsibility that has fallen into their hands. They may not like

the responsibility that comes with being a good pet owner. Reputable pet breeders and animal shelters often discourage individuals from adopting or purchasing pets as holiday gifts. Many organizations and animal businesses require a careful vetting of potential pet parents to ensure the animal will be placed with a family and in a home that is suitable. Animal welfare groups warn that an estimated 50 per cent of pets adopted during the holidays end up right back at shelters. This can scar the pet. Avoid the temptation of giving a companion animal as a present. If it is your intention to gift an animal, talk to the gift recipient and discuss the pros and cons beforehand. Then you can work together and make the right decision for all parties involved, including the pet.

HOURS With bestHOLIDAY wishes happy December 17-21 9for am - a 9 pm December 22 am -of 6 pm holiday from 9all us. December 23 December 24 December 25 December 26 December 31 January 1, 2013

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There is no better time than the Holidays to express our appreciation for you business and friendship.

May all of the joys of this Christmas season be yours!

Bob Tiltgen

Todd Reed

Jane Wierzba

Deb Stevens

Lisa Smith


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Reflections of Christmas

Festive season brings family and friends together By Mike Rainone One of the most magic happenings of the Christmas season is when family and friends from near and far can gather together for countless functions, not only in their homes, but also in hospitals, care centres, and community settings. Whether these special festive events include small families or auditoriums full of visitors, it is always a unique opportunity for people of all ages and all walks of life to share the joy, spirit and true meaning of the traditional occasion. In 1959 a young social worker set out to find ways to increase contact between the patients at the Alberta Hospital Ponoka and their immediate families, and since Christmas is a family time, George Crowhurst felt that this would be the perfect place to start. Together with Margaret Jongman, the newly-hired dietary supervisor, the idea of a Family Christmas Dinner came into being. Together they worked hard to get the joyous event in motion, with Mr. Crowhurst and staff writing letters to those families who did not regularly visit their relatives in the hospital, while Margaret began to use the resources of the dietary department to plan the meal and all the trimmings. As well as contacting and inviting all of the families of the patients, Mr. Crowhurst also enlisted the assistance of nursing staff and everyone else who were willing to give of their time for this very special day. The Mental Health Association in Calgary vigorously solicited donations from meat packers and bakers, who quickly responded and had truck loads of turkeys and pies sent to the hospital stores. The hospital dietary department also happily agreed to supply all the vegetables, potatoes, stuffing,

and other treats for everyone who would be sitting down for this jolly first Christmas Family Dinner at the hospital. Mrs. Jongman and her staff would be spending countless hours preparing and setting up for the magnificent meal, which would be served in four dining rooms. But the efforts were all worthwhile, as the first White Cross Family Christmas Dinner was hosted on a Sunday in December 1959 at Alberta Hospital Ponoka, was thoroughly enjoyed by 1,100 patients who did not have family present, as well as 120 whose relatives were able to be a part of this delightful day. The overwhelming success of the White Cross Dinner grew quickly, as family members came to look forward to this festive event, arriving in everincreasing numbers, and also being encouraged to return throughout the year. When the patient population began to decrease at the hospital, the ratio of patients to guests changed drastically, and a free bus service was added (courtesy of the Mental Health Association) to transport families of the patients to the dinner from Calgary, Lethbridge, and other areas of the province. Over time, the Ponoka community and surrounding districts graciously became involved in the Christmas event with kindly donations of money, gifts, and volunteer time. Eventually the PMHA continued to sponsor the busing but moved away from soliciting food and began to provide funds for the purchase of gifts for the patients to give to their family members, thus allowing the joyful experience of giving and sharing. In later years, the Alberta Hospital supplied and prepared everything for the gala dinner, which was served in a one sitting format in five dining halls, as well as to four areas on the nursing

Photo courtesy of Fort Ostell Museum

The boys from the Alberta Hospital stores are shown sorting out the massive pile of turkeys that were to be prepared for the 1959 White Cross Family Christmas dinner. Shown in the picture are Bev Umbach, Arthur (Speedy) Williams and Ted Clyburn. unit. A visit from entertainers was also much appreciated after dinner in the gymnasium, which was always interrupted by the much anticipated arrival of good old Santa and his sleigh full of goodies. The warm and friendly

Remember when The annual White Cross Christmas Family dinner for patients and their families was a gala festive at the Alberta Hospital, which began in 1959 and was hosted by the staff for over 30 years.

tradition of the White Cross Family Christmas Dinner carried on for many decades at the Alberta Hospital, and numerous festive celebrations are still hosted for clients, family, and visitors at the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury. We will never forget the At Home family party For those of us children who had parents working at the Alberta Hospital Ponoka, we will never forget the annual At Home Christmas party hosted for all of us each December. This exciting evening featured a scrumptious dinner with all the trimmings and treats in the big dining hall, and then we all got to dash down those long hallways to get a good seat for the entertainment in the recreation hall. As well as more candy and treats, each one of our tiny-to-teens gang looked forward with glee for a visit from the jolly old gent with the long white beard, who had great gifts for everyone. No matter how much these Christmas events may have changed over the years, we must always cherish the precious opportunities to get together with family and friends and to share the love and joy with old and new acquaintances. An ongoing salute of appreciation must also go out to everyone, both then and now, who have always willingly given of their time, talents, and recourses to support the countless events and fundraisers that have been organized to bring a little joy to others in and around our community.


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Double Fudge Irish Cream Cookies

Members of the community flock to the Fort Ostell Museum to gather a box of cookies before the delicious, hot commodities sell out. Photo by Amelia Naismith

Cookie Walk draws crowd By Amelia Naismith A small Christmas army recently infiltrated the Fort Ostell Museum—an army of gingerbread men and other assorted holiday cookies. The sixth annual Cookie Walk, held at the museum on Dec. 5, featured a gathering of 225 dozen cookies— that’s almost 3,000 sugary, delicious treats. “The very first one I made 100 dozen, there were 15 dozen left over. That was the last time there were leftovers,” said museum co-ordinator Sandy Allsopp. This Cookie Walk had approximate 50 different kinds of cookies and Allsopp said they took about two weeks to make. All but one kind was baked at the museum. “This year is special. We made all the sugar cookies, the iced sugar cookies, and the Torch Club from the youth centre came and decorated them,” said Allsopp. “We had them come over, they did all the safety stuff . . . and we decorated them, that was a big help,”

she added. Allsopp said it was interesting to have a child’s perspective of what a decorated cookie is supposed to look like. She recalled one young girl mixing different colours together to make a dark tan icing. The girl then slathered it on a gingerbread man. “She said, this one spent too much time in the sun,” said Allsopp, with a laugh. “They just went to town, it was cute.” The Cookie Walk began six years ago because the museum needed a fundraiser to keep the building going. Staff was too busy in the summer, so they looked at the winter season for an answer. “Nobody else was doing this, so we decided to do a cookie walk.” Allsopp says the Danish Canadian Society runs a successful cookie walk. “So I thought if other museums are doing it we should do it too.” The boxes of cookies at the walk sold for $6 each and the whole event brought in approximately $500.

1 cup butter, softened 1½ cups sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 2/3 cups flour ½ cup cocoa powder 1¼ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder 8 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor 1 cup white chocolate chips ½ cup chocolate chips Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add in Bailey’s one tablespoon at a time. Add flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Fold in all chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough 4 6 hrs. Makes 30 - 40 cookies. Roll into balls and set on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8 -10 minutes.

With Best Wishes For A Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year From All Of Us To All Of You We appreciate your support this past year and look forward to the opportunity to serve you again in 2013

Happy Holidays!

Greetings of the


It’s been a pleasure serving you this year. Thanks!

Wishing you a jolly good time whatever you do. It’s been our pleasure serving you. Management and Staff


6707 Hwy 53 403-783-3644

Best Little Lingerie Shop in Central Alberta

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Ponoka Industrial Park

5020 - 50 Street, Ponoka • 403.790.2878 Email: service@busted/


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Special service for the grieving By Amelia Naismith Christmas is a time to enjoy and be thankful for the merry aspects of life, and look forward to a fruitful new year. But Christmas can also be a time to look back and reflect what once brought joy. Each year Ponoka’s United and Anglican churches team up to host Blue Christmas. “We do it Dec. 21, the longest night of the year, to give those who are grieving of having lost someone some quiet time,” said Rev. Beatrix Schirner of the United Church. “It’s really a time for people to take time apart and reflect,” she added.

Season’s Greetings Whatever you do this holiday season, please know our warm wishes are with you.


#115, 4501-55 ST Box 4325, Ponoka, AB

Those who attend the joint service will be given the opportunity to light a candle in memory of past loved ones. However, Schirner says the service is not only for people grieving loss, but also for anyone suffering around the holidays. “It’s for anyone having a tough time while the rest of the world is merry.” Although it’s a Christian service, Schirner believes the message is good for people of any denomination. The service begins at 7 p.m. at Ponoka Anglican Church.

SANDRA LYON Broker/ Owner


Ponoka Physiotherapy and Acupuncture Clinic Ltd. set up an elaborate beautiful train and Christmas village to decorate their office. Photo by Amelia Naismith


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

25 most popular holiday songs

Silver bells: The Diamond Willow Middle School handbell choir plays a Christmas concert at Rimoka, Dec. 7.

Even though the first decade of the 21st century witnessed a change in how nearly everyone acquires and listens to music, some things about music -- especially holiday music — may never change. According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the following 25 songs were the most performed holiday songs of the first decade of the 21st century. The data was compiled with the aide of Mediaguide, the most comprehensive digital audio performance tracking technology in the world. 1. Winter Wonderland Written by: Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith Performed by: Eurythmics 2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) Written by: Mel Torme, Robert Wells Performed by: Nat “King” Cole 3. Sleigh Ride Written by: Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish Performed by: The Ronettes 4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Written by: Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin Performed by: The Pretenders 5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town Written by: Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie Performed by: Bruce Springsteen 6. White Christmas Written by: Irving Berlin Performed by: Bing Crosby 7. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Written by: Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne Performed by: Michael Buble 8. Jingle Bell Rock Written by: Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe Performed by: Daryl Hall & John Oates 9. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Written by: Johnny Marks Performed by: Gene Autry 10. Little Drummer Boy Written by: Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone Performed by: The Harry Simeone Chorale & Orchestra

11. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year Written by: Edward Pola, George Wyle Performed by: Andy Williams 12. I’ll Be Home For Christmas Written by: Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram Performed by: Josh Groban 13. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree Written by: Johnny Marks Performed by: Brenda Lee 14. Silver Bells Written by: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans Performed by: Anne Murray 15. Feliz Navidad Written and Performed by: Jose Feliciano 16. Frosty The Snowman Written by: Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins Performed by: The Beach Boys 17. A Holly Jolly Christmas Written by: Johnny Marks Performed by: Burl Ives 18. Blue Christmas Written by: Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson Performed by: Elvis Presley 19. It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas Written by: Meredith Willson Performed by: Johnny Mathis 20. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus Written by: Tommie Connor (PRS) Performed by: John Mellencamp 21. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) Written by: Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman Performed by: Gene Autry 22. (There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays Written by: Bob Allen, Al Stillman Performed by: Perry Como 23. Carol Of The Bells Written by: Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich Performed by: David Foster (instrumental version) 24. Wonderful Christmastime Written and Performed by: Paul McCartney (PRS) 25. Do They Know It’s Christmas? (Feed the World) Written by: Midge Ure (PRS), Bob Geldof (PRS) Performed by: Band Aid

Spirit The

Lilly Wolfe and Tyson Cunnington play with handbells at Rimoka, with the rest of the Diamond Willow Middle School handbell choir. Photos by Amelia Naismith

As Christmas draws near, we wish to express our sincere gratitude to our wonderful clientele.

wishing you a

Merry Christmas

is Building!

May your home be filled with laughter, From the floorboards to the rafters. And may all your hopes and dreams come true That’s our holiday wish for you With best wishes and gratitude from all of us

Christmas Hours:

We wish everyone much health and happiness for 2013.

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May Him whose birthday we celebrate, bring you blessing of peace, joy and time to reflect on the important things in life during this special Christmas season


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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Ponoka leaders share their favourite Xmas songs By Amelia Naismith As the weather gets colder and the icicles grow longer, the cheer of Christmas warms the heart as families get

Charlie Cutforth

together to enjoy each other’s company, all the good treats that come with the holidays and a few treasured Christmas songs. County CAO Charlie Cutforth’s favorite carol dates back to when his children were young. His favorite Christmas song is Joy to the World, for a special reason. His daughter, Jennifer, used to sing it and that stuck with him. “Oh my daughter will love this,” he said with a laugh. “She hates to be reminded of it. We all remind her of it periodically.” Scott Lewis, principal of Ponoka’s Outreach School, says his favorite festive

Scott Lewis song is Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. “It’s just so much fun, i t ’s so much fun to sing

along to.” Lewis plays guitar a n d he says, around the holidays, it’s a good song to bring people together for singalongs. “They at least know the chorus.” Wolf Creek School District superintendent Larry Jacobs has two carols that make his holiday cheer complete. “I’m probably going to have to reach back across my life and say Jingle Bells, those light-hearted ones.” Jacobs’ second favorite is White Christmas by Bing Crosby.

Gordon Svenningsen

Larry Jacobs He saw the movie White Christmas and likes how it was about good times and people coming together. “I think the song always tied me back to the movie.” Even the county councillors take time away from their busy schedules to enjoy the festive music of the season. Coun. Gawney Hinkley appreciates the writer behind his favorite song. “It’s Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, because Gene Autry wrote and sang it.” Silent Night is Reeve Gordon Svenningsen’s favorite holiday song. “It has a lot of meaning,” he

explained. “It’s what Christmas is really about, it’s not the commercial part.” Like his colleague, Cutforth, Coun. George Verheire’s favorite stems from his family. The song is Six White Boomers. “I’ve got relatives in Australia. I think of them when I hear it,” he said. C o u n t r y superstars Doc Walker, who spend their time making music, also hold a few traditional, and not so traditional, carols close to their hearts. Touring member and support bass player, Brent Pearen, likes Bing Crosby’s hit Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow. “It’s awesome, it’s really croony.” Although he couldn’t remember its title, Chris Thorsteinson named his favorite as being White Christmas by The Drifters, which is recognizable from the 1992 movie Home Alone. Guitarist Dave Wasyliw takes a less traditional route

George Verheire when it comes to his holiday playlist. His favorite is the Crash Test Dummies’ cover of Jingle Bells. “Because Jingle Bells is such as happy song, and it’s in a major key. He made every major third into a minor third, and he made it very industrial sounding. It sounded like a big, Russian stomp song.” Even the man of the hour, Santa Claus himself, has a favorite. In an interview with Ponoka News, Santa said his favorite Christmas song is Here Comes Santa Claus because it’s about him.

Joy Love Peace



to the world

—And many thanks to all of you this holiday season. It’s been a privilege and a joy serving you.

May all your dreams come true during this magical season. Blessings of theWeseason and sincere couldn’t have wished for better thanks to our many kind friends than you. Thanksseason. for everything! neighbors this holiday

T hanks!

In this season of goodwill, we thank you for the gift of yours.


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Tis the season to say



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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Letters to Santa from Grade 2 kids at St. A’s Dear Santa: I have been a good boy. I want a toy dirt bike and a new hockey set. My brother would like a game. My sister would like some headbands. My Mom would like a new dress. Is your sack heavy? Can you help the homeless people get gifts? Tyler S. Dear Santa: I want spy stuff. I want Lego. My sister would like a bike. My mom would like a good day. My dad would like tools. I want the homeless people to have a house. Is your sack heavy? Zachary Dear Santa: I was good because I help my mom wash the dishes. Nevaeh wants a American doll bed. Edyn wants American doll piano. My brother wants a play gun. Mom wants new earrings. Dad wants new tools. I want a Wii game and jack and Annie Books and Geronimo Stilton books. Am I on your good list. Santa can you get a extra blanket for the poor? Josiah Dear Santa: Have I been good this year? Did the reindeer like the carrots that I left? Can I have a Barbie house? Also my brother would like Call of Duty Black Ops. My dad would like a box of cookies. My mom would like a new book. Shayla Dear Santa: I have been a good boy because I have been trying to be good. I want a Furby. I want a Lego Ninjago Great Devourer set. I want a 3DS with Mario Sticker Star. My brother wants Furby too. My dad wants new tools. My mom wants a unicorn toy. Have you been to Bethlehem? Santa please give some toys to the poor. Dakota Dear Santa: I want a Furby and a teddy bear that looks like Santa. My sister would like a Furby. My brother would like a Creationary. My mom would like a new fishing rod. My dad would like a new hunting bow. Masen Dear Santa: I have been a good girl. I want Bratz. I want some Littlest Pet Shop. I want a sheep stuffy. My mom would like some new couches. My dad would like some new black shirts. My little

brother would like some Lego Ninjago. My big brother would like an IPod. I would like you to give the homeless people clothes. Eden Dear Santa: Am I on the good list? Am I on the naughty list? May I please have a toy quad? May I please have a toy boat? I feed my dog and cat. I thin k mom wants new jewelry. I think dad wants new tools. I think my sister wants a ITunes card. Please help the poor. Tyler C. Dear Santa: I have been a good boy. I try hard in school May I have a sniper Nerf gun, machine gun of Nerf and all of the magic Tree House books. May mom wants a new lamp. May dad wants Call of Duty 2 on Wii. My sister wants a Furby. How do you get in a house if there is no chimney? Please help the poor buy a present. Brock Dear Santa: I am a good girl. I want a Barbie. My mom wants an IPod. My baby sister wants a tricycle. My brother wants the Lord of the Rings movie. My sister wants glitter. Can you get the homeless people a blanket? My dad wants an IPod. April Dear Santa: I want Just dance 4. I do not want to be on the naughty list. I wants a DS. I would want a Princess Barbie for my sister too. I want two teddy bears. My dad wants a cookbook. Give the poor people money. Clara Dear Santa: I am trying to be good. I would like a Furby. I would like a Wii. My sister would like a Furby. My mom would like an owl statue. My dad would like a new toque. My baby sister would like a Snuggable. Is your bag heavy? If the people do not have a chimney what do you do? The homeless people need food. Vinny Dear Santa: I want a Jessie doll. My sister wants a laptop and a internet cord. I want a MP3 player. I want a Just dance game too. My dad wants to be rich. My mom wants a dog. Do you like cookies and milk too? Can you give the poor some presents too. Jessica

Holiday Wishes Our heartfelt thanks for your continual support & friendship

Leisure Lanes

Merry Christmas Our hearts are filled with gratitude as we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We value your patronage and look forward to the opportunity to serve you again, soon.

4812-50 Street 403-783-4515

Dear Santa: I have been a good boy this year. I am helping my mom to clean our rooms. I want a Magic Tree House book and a Nerf gun. Can you help the poor that have no money. And my mom wants a =iron. My dad wants a tool box. How many rein deer do youy have? Ian Dear Santa: Why do you wear red? How many elves do you have? I would like a Monster High Doll Blue Lagoon and I would like a necklace that says I love you mom. My Uncle Blair needs a new saw to cut wood. My mom needs a new blanket for her bed. My dad needs a new toque. Can you get the homeless food. Emily Dear Santa: I want 1400 points on xbox 360. My baby brother would like a new rattle. My dad would like new tools. My step mom would like a fishing rod. I was a good boy. Is your sack heavy? Make sure everybody gets a present. Rydell

Dear Santa: I have been a good girl today. I want a Monster High Doll. Can I have a pretty doll dress? My mom would like a dress. My dad wants new tools. Ate len len would like new clothes. How big is your sack? Please give the poor good food to eat. Geraldine Dear Santa: I have been a good boy this year. I want a Furby. I want Skylanders Wii. I want Skylanders Giants Wii. My sister wants a new book. My sister wants cowhorn. My other sister would like a Furby. My dad needs a hat. My mom needs a jacket. Liam

Lov J Joy, Jo Joy oy o y, y , Peace P ce ce

Laughter L ughter ug gghter hter hhte ht ter tte er er Here’s hoping the holiday season contains it all! With gratitude from all of us.

Ponoka Dental Centre McDonald’s Restaurant 4419 - Hwy 2A • 403-783-8927

Dr. Leslie Gill & Dr. Jen Kobi



Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Ponoka entertained with Holiday Train performers

Santa joined Doc Walker and Miss Emily on stage during the Holiday Train’s Ponoka stop, to entertain the crowd with his Christmas boogie. Photo by Amelia Naismith

By Amelia Naismith Since it first left the station in 1999, the CP Holiday Train has raised more than $6.4 million and collected over 2.6 tonnes of food for across Canada and the United States. This year’s entertainment line up included country sensation Doc Walker, who were grateful to have the opportunity to be involved with the train’s beneficial message. “We’re were just lucky enough that they chose us to come and do it. I’d love to do it again so we’ve been dropping hints the whole time,” said band member Chris Thorsteinson. In an interview with Ponoka News, Thorsteinson and support bass player Brent Pearen agreed being on the train and seeing the faces of the crowds as it pulls into each community is one of the best parts of the experience. “Favorite thing so far is the kids, I’ve got three kids of my own. To see Santa come out, and the kids, for me that’s just heartwarming,”

Season’s Greetings At the special time we would like to acknowledge all the folks who have made this year a good one for us.

said Thorsteinson. “I was at the station when the train pulled up to get on and I was like a five-year-old kid.” “It sort of feels a little bit like riding the Polar Express, which we’ve all watched a million times with our kids,” added Pearen. “I guess the travelling experience for us is pretty amazing. And I think, for the towns themselves, like a show that rolls in and the train opens up, this giant decorated train, and the stage folds out . . . I mean that’s pretty different.” The train also makes the band, and those who come to see it,

appreciate Christmas and the goodwill feelings of the season even more, says Thorsteinson. “And also it sort of brings back the romance of railroad,” he added, gesturing to the car they were riding in, which was built in the early 1900s. Thorsteinson says a cause such as the Holiday Train is so satisfying for the band because it hits close to home. Both he and fellow band member Dave Wasyliw grew up together in Portage La Prairie, Man. “There was a lot of people around there with not a lot of money. So to go to every little town and see the amount of people who come out, and the amount of support they give is unbelievable,” said Thorsteinson. “The one thing I love about it, it’s basically about Christmas and the holiday, and giving and supporting your fellow human.”

The colourful CP Holiday Train rolled into Ponoka Dec. 10 to bring a little Christmas cheer to Ponoka residents.

Hundreds of people came out to see Doc Walker and Miss Emily perform. Photo by Amelia Naismith

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Home Décor and Gift Store Wishing you a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Our real joy of the season is the chance to put aside the routine of the daily business to wish you a Very Merry Christmas! We truly appreciate your patronage. 403.346.5533 405, 4901 - 48 Street, Red Deer, AB

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012


Holiday Train supports food bank

Jessica Scott loads food donated to the Ponoka Food Bank during the holiday train festivities. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Country sensation Doc Walker performs some of their own songs during their Holiday Train performance. Photo by Amelia Naismith

Miss Emily tells the crowd to get up and dance to her rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

have a joyous

Photo by Amelia Naismith

NOEL! With warm wishes and gratitude this holiday season from our entire staff. We thank you for the privilege of serving you and hope to see you again soon!

We wish you a Merry Christmas! Many thanks for your loyal support and look forward to serving you again next year!


HAPPY HOLIDAYS! From the Staff of

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Useful tips when buying a natural Christmas tree Many people harbour strong opinions with regard to which type of Christmas tree they want to purchase. Some cannot live without a natural, freshly-cut Christmas tree, while others prefer the convenience of artificial trees. Those who insist on a natural tree might want to consider the following tips when buying what’s likely their biggest decorative item of the holiday season. • Ask when the tree was cut down. Precut trees may be cut down weeks before they’re sold. So if you’re buying a precut tree, chances are the tree was cut down much earlier than you think. This doesn’t mean the tree won’t make it through the holiday season, but a tree that was cut several weeks ago should have some of its bottom trunk removed before it’s placed in the stand. This will make it easier for the tree to consume water. This step likely isn’t necessary if the tree was cut down the same day you bring it home. • Have the tree shaken before taking it home. A tree should be shaken in a shaker before you put it in your car and bring it home. A shaker removes any debris or dead needles from the tree, which can save you the trouble of cleaning up all of those dead needles from your living room floor later on. • Have the tree wrapped before taking it home. A tree should also be wrapped in twine before taking it home. The twine should be tight enough to keep the tree’s branches from blowing in the wind when you attach the tree to the top

of your vehicle. If possible, keep the tree wrapped in twine as you place it in the stand. This makes the tree easier to control. • Choose the right location. When looking for the right place to set up your natural tree, it’s best to choose a spot that’s cool and free of drafts. The tree should not be placed near heat sources, including appliances, fireplaces or vents, because such heat sources create a safety hazard and can make it difficult for the tree to retain moisture. There should also be ample space between the top of the tree and the ceiling. • Place some covering on the ground beneath the tree. Even a freshly cut natural tree will shed needles over the course of the holiday season. Before placing the stand in the location you’ve chosen, put some type of covering, such as a tree bag, beneath the stand so it’s easier to gather all those needles once the holiday season has ended. • Remember that natural trees are thirsty. People who have never had a natural Christmas tree in the past might be surprised at just how thirsty natural trees get. The stand’s reservoir should have lots of water, which should never dip below the stump. If the water dips below the stump, you might be forced to cut a little more off the bottom of the trunk to ensure the tree will make it through the holiday season. That can be a hassle once the tree has been decorated, so be sure to check the water in the reservoir at least once per day to maintain adequate water levels.

Best tree lighting tips Lighting a Christmas tree may seem like child’s play but time and again people struggle with the task. Untangling wires and wrapping them around boughs can be nerve wracking but lighting a tree doesn’t have to be a chore when you follow some tips from the professionals. First, keep in mind that wrapping lights around the tree horizontally is more work

and often doesn’t produce a multi-dimensional effect. Rather, string the lights from the trunk up to the top, working vertically. This is actually how the tree decorators at Rockefeller Center in New York City do the famous tree year after year. This method helps eliminate tangled wires and empty spots. Remember to plug in the strands of lights before you begin to check for burnt out bulbs and to adjust

the spacing of lights to prevent dark spots. Think about varying light bulb sizes to add more dimension. String an inner layer of small LED white lights to produce an inner glow on the tree before adding larger, colored lights on top to increase visual appeal. Just be sure to match the same wattage of the lights so that you do not have power surges and can prolong the life of the bulbs.

It’s been a pleasure serving you this year! We’re hoping that your holiday is the best in every way!

Thank you for your valued business this year.

This cheerful tree at Ponoka News from Fir Ever Green Tree Farm creates a warm and friendly atmosphere. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

In the spirit of the season may you find tranquility and contentment in your homes and hearts. Murray & Staff

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012


School raises money for Third World countries

St. Augustine School Grade 8 student volunteers raised approximately $350 during their Loonies for the Less Fortunate Christmas fundraiser. Photo by Amelia Naismith

Working hard in the holidays By Amelia Naismith Christmas is known as a time to spend with family and appreciate the holiday cheer. However, not everyone is guaranteed that family time. Ponoka’s Mounties work shifts, leaving some on duty during the holidays. The firefighters who are in town are also permanently on call this time of year. Fire Chief Ted Dillon doesn’t recall many times when he was taken away from his family at Christmas, but the times it did happen stick out clearly in his mind. “I had just sat down for Christmas dessert and we had a house fire,” recalls Dillon. While the damage wasn’t as a bad as it could have been and the family still had their house when it was over, Dillon says even little emergencies can be devastating around the holidays. Another time there was a 14-car pile up on Christmas Eve that the fire department responded to. “Only one person was injured, with a broken leg,” said Dillon. Another large pile up occurred again, the day after Christmas. “That really set the tone for Christmas. It wasn’t a very merry Christmas for some of us,” he said. Although it’s work that has to be done, Dillon says it can be hard leaving family to face such dangerous situations, around the holidays. “Especially if you’ve got younger children or grandchildren. They’re on your mind,” said Dillon.

“It tugs at your heartstrings. It bothers you more at this time of year because, as they say, it’s supposed to be Christmas cheer and that isn’t very cheery.” For RCMP Const. Luc Richard, working around the holidays isn’t a hardship. “For myself, all my immediate family is back in Ontario. So it isn’t that different from other days.” Richard says the holiday season can however get busy, between impaired drivers, Check Stops and preventative measures. However, he says there can a decrease in the number of fights because people want to get along more during the holidays. “And then going into domestic complaints when people have too much to drink and forget the spirit of the holidays,” said Richard. “It’s difficult sometimes when you know others are having a good holiday with their family and kids,” he added. Richard has come to accept the shift work that comes with the job because he feels it’s a job worth doing. “It’s always good to know that when stuff does happen, or when it doesn’t, that you’ve helped out.”

May peace and contentment be yours, as together we share in the magic of this special time of year. Merry Christmas!

Committed To Your Comfort With tidings of comfort and joy to our neighbours, customers, and friends. We offer our warm wishes for the best holiday season! Thank you for choosing us!

We have truly valued your support this year 6701-44 Ave Ponoka, AB 403-783-6037 Toll Free 1-877-783-6020

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Paquett, who came two hours early for her shift because she saw a hole in the volunteer schedule. “It’s a really good thing to help charities because there’s a lot less fortunate,” added Emily Gartner. Even the students who are less interested in the direct relationship with their school and Third World countries leant a hand. “I knew I was going to be bored for the rest of the day so I came and did something good for my school,” said Zachary Hubert. “I’m a big believer. I think you should pay it forward because someday you’re going to need something,” said Ken Malterer, who bought one of the first cups of coffee from the students.

Joy to the World

May you enjoy the Yuletide season

Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth Peace, Good will towards man – Luke 2:14

By Amelia Naismith Loonies for the Less Fortunate has become a Grade 8 tradition at St. Augustine School and this year’s fundraiser was held during the Chamber’s Children’s Christmas Shopping Party, Dec. 1. According to Grade 8 teacher Sylvia Brendal, students raised approximately $350. Last year they raised $316. Proceeds from the concession fundraiser go toward purchasing necessities such as goats, roosters, chickens and seedlings for families and communities in less fortunate counties. After the fundraiser the money is divided between different classes and each one decides, out of the Chalice Christmas 2012 Gift Catalogue, what they want to purchase. This is the third year Brendal has gotten the school involved in the Catholic charity program. “Part of our desire is to educate our kids to be of service for others, and it’s in our curriculum—to be of service.” The program is also a hit with the student volunteers. “It feels really good to be a charity and help people less fortunate than us,” said Kristen


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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Jordan Cire and Laci Bell step up and add some spice to their Ludacrismas junior hip hop performance. Photos by Amelia Naismith

Dancers deliver Christmas treats Sabrina Pritchard gracefully dances the Snow Fall, the senior ballet number.

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By Amelia Naismith An array of colorful Christmas dances was presented to the community by the students of Got 2 Dance Productions for their Christmas recital, held Dec. 8. Proceeds from the gift baskets raffled at the recital will go to a charity, as they do every year. However, it hasn’t been decided which charity. The dancers have been hard at work learning their routines since October. Got 2 Dance Productions staff were also busy choreographing the different routines. “Every year we just try to find a mixture of upbeat and some classical songs to get everybody in the Christmas spirit,” said dance instructor and owner Anne-Alisa Cook. “I think it went well . . . all the kids, we’re very proud of them,” she added. Two of Got 2 Dance’s senior dancers, Sam Quinn and Karen Kirk, were grateful the recital gave them the opportunity to perform in their home town. They were proud to be able to show the community what the choreographers taught them. “I like that it’s (the recital) a little event and all these people come to watch,” said Quinn. The

Season’s Greetings From Our Home To Yours This Christmas Season We Wish To Give A Special Thank You To Families And Friends Who Contribute So Much Throughout The Year.

dancers’ second recital of the day was to a full house, despite the bad weather. “I was pleasantly surprised how many people came.” “For me, it’s not really for us, it’s for them,” she added. Quinn likes that community performances, such as the Christmas recital, make it easy for anyone to come watch. “I like how it brings in the holiday cheer. No matter how corny the dances are hopefully it makes people smile,” added Kirk. Quinn agreed, saying people she doesn’t know will still congratulate her on the Christmas recital months later. The girls also agreed the recital is a great experience for the younger dancers. ‘That’s the next generation, right?,” said Kirk. Kirk started dance as one of the young dancers she was referring to. At three years old she got into tap dancing, then highland dancing at six. Eventually Kirk settled in Ponoka and joined Got 2 Dance Productions. Quinn has been dancing for only five years. Before that she played hockey. “I was kind of a tomboy but I used to watch dance movies and I loved the hip-hop.” She decided to take a year off hockey to try dance and never looked back. From hip-hop Quinn got into other dances, such as ballet; something she really enjoys, which surprised her. “Along with other things I want to keep doing it the rest of my life.”

To all our friends both far and near, We wish a very bright Christmas and a happy New Year!



Christi Ferguson-Huston, CRSP Lacombe 403-782-0455


Warm & Bright




Northcott Care Centre

4209 48 Ave. • 403-783-4764

It has been a privilege and a pleasure serving you. 6526 – 44 Ave 403-783-8866


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Members of Got 2 Dance Productions Kinderdance II class get ready to perform Sleigh Ride at their Christmas Dance Recital. Photos by Amelia Naismith

Lezah McGinnis and Kendra Feragan make it clear All They Want for Christmas… is an audience during their novice combo performance.

With You In Mind at Christmastime With our gratitude to you for your goodwill towards us this past year.

Have a happy holiday! The intermediate ballet dancers dance to Skaters Waltz.

To our customers & friends we extend our Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season.

We will continue providing good food & service to you in the New Year.


2010 Customer Service Award

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Deck the Halls! with a round of best wishes to all our good friends at Christmas

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Saint Santa Claus’ ancient history explored

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus by Adam C. English c.2012, Baylor University Press $24.95 U.S. and Canada 245 pages Naughty or nice? Yep, you’ve been both this year. You’ve been nice because it’s the right thing to do, it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, and you want to make the world a better place. You’ve been naughty because it’s fun. You’ve been both but not because of some fat guy in a red suit. You stopped believing in Santa years ago, but read the new book The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus by Adam C. English, and you might change your mind. You know him as Santa Claus. He also goes by Sinterklaas, Kriss Kringle, Père Noël, and Father Christmas and he, in his familiar jolly old elf incarnation, has been around about 100 years. Santa as gifter is a few centuries older than that, but the real Santa showed up some 1,750 years ago. His name was Nicholas and he was born in the ancient Mediterranean city of Patara sometime

after the year 260, according of children, and his generosity to an eighth-century is legendary. The main story biographer. The biographer, attributed to him involves like most literate people of the dowries of three destitute his time, was given to florid sisters bound for prostitution. language (straightforward On three successive nights, prose, says English, was Nicholas threw money in their “gauche and uncouth”) father’s window, to save the and facts were “disdained,” girls — possibly his earliest so it’s no surprise that gift. He took his ministry Terri Nicholas’ story is filled with seriously and his kindness Schlichenmeyer fanciful miracles and other was widely known throughout The Bookworm phenomena. Europe. Nicholas was, by any Nicholas died at around account, loved by his upperage 70. class family. He was well-educated and Through the centuries, because of was given a solid religious base on miracles and anecdotes connected to which to grow. The latter allowed him him, Nicholas became the patron saint “remarkable signs of spiritual maturity of pawnbrokers, newlyweds, bankers, at a young age,” and he was ordained a voyagers, firemen and pilgrims and priest at age 19, about a year after having others. And he’s beloved by generations lost both his parents in a plague. of children who know him by a different Nicholas was known as a great lover name…

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus is steeped in ancient history, Biblical teachings, legend, and Roman society. t’s sweeping in depth and intelligence. That gives it an interesting flair that teeters on the sometimes-not-so-interesting. Author Adam C. English starts with modern pop culture and quickly gets to the nitty-gritty of Santa’s roots. He then dives into pagan and Christian history and pulls us out with a centuries-long story of a saint who some doubt ever existed before plunging back into fourth century Rome. That back and forth sometimes kept my attention but was more often too much for me to follow. Still, I think biblical scholars will enjoy this book more than I did, and if that’s you, or if you’re very interested in ancient history, ask for it. The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus might be a gift that’s nice.

Present captures holiday enchantment The Lost Christmas Gift by Andrew Beckham c.2012, Princeton Architectural Press $29.95 / $34.95 Canada 40 pages This Christmas, you’ll find lots of surprises beneath your tree. Some of them, of course, will arrive from Santa. Others will come in the mail from Grandma or a favorite aunt who lives far away. Then there are the be-ribboned packages that somehow manage to sneak under the tree, courtesy of someone special. Emerson Johansson never expected a gift, especially not something sent decades ago. But in the new book The Lost Christmas Gift by Andrew Beckham, he received a box full of memories… Two days before Christmas, a box arrived at Emerson Johansson’s house. It was wrapped in paper that was old and fragile and he was surprised to see his father’s handwriting on the outside. His dad had been dead for years. During the Second World War, Emerson’s father worked as a cartographer in France and, judging by the postmarks, Emerson knew that was where the box had come from,

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For your patronage, we are sincerely grateful.

some 70-odd years ago. He wondered where it had been all this time. With excitement, he wondered what was inside it. When he opened the box, he found a book. Memories came flooding back. It had been a special father-son outing, the kind that boys eagerly anticipate each year. They had set out to find the perfect Christmas tree; Emerson had taken his new camera to mark to the occasion and a flask

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Wishing you tidings of comfort and joy this holiday season.

Thank You for lighting up our year


of hot coffee to keep them warm. It was a good thing, too, because the clouds rolled in about noon that day and it snowed very hard. Soon, Emerson and his father were lost and they knew they’d have to spend a cold night in a hastily-dug snow shelter. But before they could huddle down for the night, Emerson saw something in the woods: it was a small man who carried twigs, and Emerson took a picture. Then they saw another man through the trees, who left some coal. The gifts were just enough to get them through the cold night. As he looked through the book his father had made for him all those years ago, Emerson was amazed. His pictures — the ones he thought were missing — were in the book, along with drawings his father had made. Drawings made with love. Pictures with Christmas magic behind them… Okay, I have to admit that author Andrew Beckham had me there for a minute. In his brief introduction to The Lost Christmas Gift, he says he’s known Emerson Johansson for years, which starts Wherever you go this this delightful story season we hope joy off on just the right note. From there, we’re and laughter follow treated to a bookall the way. within-a-book and side-by-side, across the years comments about a special day shared and the incredible things that happened. I’m not going to give 4714 50 Street • 403-783-6169 you one more hint here, except to say if you’re not a believer in holiday enchantment now, you will be when you’re done reading this tale. This Christmas, Thank you for doing start a new tradition by business with us. reading this exquisitely illustrated, wonderfully JOEL KOEHLER told story together with Tree Topping your family. For you and Truss Hanging and for them, The Lost Christmas Gift is the Serving Ponoka and area 403-783-3794 perfect holiday find.


ROBB FEA EARON Office e 403.7 403.783.4800


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Toys through history that caused a frenzy

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the store; Parents seek the hottest toy, while sales clerks shout, “No more!” Few holiday seasons have come and gone without a must-have toy causing pandemonium among shoppers. In the months leading up to Christmas, one toy always seems to grab kids’ attention and become a must-have item. These could be quirky digital-voiced animals or video game consoles. Naturally, children put these gifts on their letters to Santa or wish lists. But as the days wind down to Christmas, manufacturers often cannot meet the demand for the season’s most popular item. It’s then left to parents to find the toys and gadgets by whatever means necessary. Certain toys throughout history have caused a frenzy that results in desperate parents scouring wiped-out toy stores or making black-market deals to land themselves a hot toy. Here is a list of them, courtesy of MSNBC. • Shirley Temple Doll (1934): Shirley Temple was the inspiration behind the first recorded toy to cause a shopping frenzy. The demand for the doll elevated after the actress’ breakout film, Bright Eyes, was released three days before Christmas. • G.I. Joe (1964): Hasbro came up with the male action figure after watching Barbie dolls become such a popular toy for tots. The action figures were an instant hit, garnering over $16 million in 1964 alone. • Star Wars Action Figures (1977): No one expected

speaking its own language and slowly learned English over time. The animated pet/friend became the musthave toy of the year but production numbers were scant in comparison to demand. • Nintendo Wii (2006): Video game aficionados were wowed by the motion-sensing game controllers of

George Lucas’ franchise to become such a smash hit. The merchandising company associated with the project didn’t have time to make associated toys beyond a few board games and coloring books once Star Wars fever took hold. Therefore, “Early Bird Certificate” vouchers were sold and the action figures were shipped out a few months later. These action figures can still thrill, with eBay auctions bringing in $1,200 and up for figures that once retailed for just a few dollars. • Cabbage Patch Kids (1983): What little girl in the mid-1980s didn’t want a chubby-faced Cabbage Patch Kid to adopt as her very own? The demand for this fad doll became so heated that adults fought over them and price gouging ensued. • Teddy Ruxpin (1985): If kids weren’t seeking a Cabbage Patch doll, they may have been hoping to find a Teddy Ruxpin doll under their tree. Teddy Ruxpin was an animatronic bear who interacted with the child and told stories. It was based on the animated figures kids would see at theme parks or at their local play areas. Shortages around the holidays played into frenzied behavior. The doll was expensive for its day, coming in at around $68. • Tickle Me Elmo (1996): Sesame Street fans fell right into the hype offered by Tyco Toys and Children’s Television Workshop. Stampedes occurred in toy stores, people were injured and reports of extreme price gouging ensued, all in an effort for people to get their hands on the giggling, red furball. • Furby (1998): This creature reminiscent of the popular 1980s film Gremlins came out of the box

We wish you a

Merry Christmas and a

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this new system. This helped push the Wii to the top spot for video game consoles for that year and created a demand that led to limits on units purchased, diminished inventory, and even vouchers or wrist bands being offered by stores to get your hands on the Wii.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We just can’t thank you enough—we’re really grateful for your generous support this year!

With i h all ll our b best wishes i h to everyone we know. We value your patronage and look forward to seeing you in 2013!

Robert, Irene & Staff

R. JOHANSEN SALES LTD. 403-783-5185 Sales: 1-800-662-7135

Happy Holidays! 5010 50 STREET 403-783-6671


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Above: Taylor Mathieu etches the bricks into chocolate fondant for her gingerbread castle. Right: James Hemingson adjusts the band members on his Led Zeppelin gingerbread concert experience. Photos by Amelia Naismith

Gingerbread fuels competition By Amelia Naismith The students of St Augustine School were working hard, pouring blood, sweat and sugar-coated jujubes into their one of a kind gingerbread creations for the annual gingerbread competition. As it does every year, the school will donate the proceeds of the competition to the Good Samaritan Fund. This year’s competition raised $284.12 The winner was Dragons Keep by Zachary Key, Katrina Hoffman, Brenna McCaughey

Greetings of the Season And many thanks for your generous support all year long.

and Taylor Mathieu. The second place winner was The First Noel by Mason Wittal and Frankie Middleton. Each creation was voted on twice, once by other students with raisins and then again during the Christmas shopping party, a joint event with the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce. Each delicious masterpiece looked wonderful, good enough to eat in fact. However, hours of hard work went into every gingerbread piece, icing stroke and candy placement. Any student was able to enter the competition but for the Grade 9 students it was mandatory. “It’s part of your Grade 9 mark,” said student Alyssa Klinger. Both Klinger and classmate Zachary

Our thanks and best wishes for a holiday season filled with lots of good times and good cheer!


Merry Christmas

River Crossing Tack Shop Dave Pohl | 403.704.7677

With Gratitude and Best Wishes For a Merry and Bright Holiday Season Greig Holdings Inc. ~ Ernie Anderson #6, 5012 - 50 Street 403.783.8580

Key put a lot of effort into their creations, and the friendly competition heated up long before the judging began. “Ours is Once Upon a Time,” said Klinger. “It’s a church made to look like a book . . . and book worms get married.” Klinger and her teammates thought the theme would appeal to the younger students, and that it would be funny. “We’re making a castle with a dragon in it,” said Key. “I had the idea for a dragon and they wanted a castle.” There are two Grade 9 classes in the school and although

Klinger and Key’s class didn’t have as much class time they don’t believe it will affect the outcome. Key said they were given out of school time to keep things fair. “We made up all of our time and we used it wisely,” said Klinger. “You just hope and pray it stands up and stays together.” For the competition the students had to make everything from scratch, except the candies. Key says after this experience he definitely likes the pre-made gingerbread kits better. Even though the competition was a lot of work, Klinger and Key say the fun they’re having is worth it. “There’s a lot of wars you can have when you’re making gingerbread. You can stick it on someone’s w h e o s h o av e of th forehead,” said Key. To all passed our way, go Neither Klinger best wishes or Key have been our very involved in the ight holiday! for a br g i n g e r b r e a d competition before but Klinger says she might compete again in her senior year. As for Key, this year will be his first and last. With hunting, snowboarding and We thank you for your patronage and football, he says wish you and your loved ones the there wouldn’t be very best the season has to offer. enough time to Rose & Gina compete again.




A Very Merry Christmas to You!

5033 - 49 Ave. 403.783.6210

Once out of Grade 9, students aren’t given school time for the competition.


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Last-minute Christmas shopping ideas It’s Dec. 19 and you’ve just barely made it through half of your holiday shopping list. The panic may have set in that you just don’t have enough time to get everything done. This is a common scenario around the holidays. Shoppers have the best intentions to get their gifts early, but whether because of work obligations or social events, the task seems to get pushed further and further into December. Soon many are staring down the calendar experiencing sweaty palms. Many others may be putting off holiday shopping simply because of the current state of the economy and affordability. According to a Steelhouse Marketing Consultants poll of 1,000 consumers, 62 per cent predict they will spend less money on the 2011 holiday season. Plus, 56 per cent of families predict they will comparison shop more than they have in the past. These factors may contribute to just how long shoppers put off actually getting into stores or going online to shop.

Boxing Day survival guide By Keith Lau (NC) For millions of Canadian shoppers, Boxing Day is the most important shopping occasion of the year. Shopaholics, spendthrifts, and people who didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas will flood to stores and online checkout lines for big savings. Just showing up at the store doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want, however. Preparation and research beforehand will help you get the most out of this once a year shopping bonanza. A great place to start is online. Do Internet research beforehand so that you’re not forced to ask questions, wait for customer service representatives, or hold up cashiers. Bargain hunting websites, such as, are great resources. You’ll find much of the work will have been done for you — store flyers and the hottest deals will be posted for easy perusal, often before the sales actually start. Once you’ve picked out what you want, you might think about any upcoming occasions that you may be able to shop for now – birthdays for

friends and family members, Valentine’s Day, and anniversaries to name a few. Shopping after Christmas for next year’s holiday decorations can save a bundle as well. If you’re keen on getting the absolute best deals, often called “door crashers”, you might want to get the family together and open presents on Dec. 24, because the most committed bargain hunters will be lining up outside of stores a full day before the sales begin. For its part, the online shopping experience can be bumpy as well. With the huge surge of online customers, websites can be slow to load or experience other problems. No matter where you’re shopping, take care to double check exchange policies. If you buy something on Boxing Day (or during Boxing Week), you might not be able to return or exchange it right away -- some retailers will suspend or limit those services during their busiest week of the year. Above all else, have fun and don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get the deal you wanted, either. After all, what better way to save money than to not spend it in the first place?


The beauty of the winter season reminds us of how blessed we are in so many ways, including the friendship of neighbors like you.

In this season of hopes and dreams, it is our hope that all your dreams come true this year.

Happy Holidays!

For helping us to realize ours, we offer you our heartfelt gratitude.

403-783-4319 6602 - 42 Ave.

this periodical is on the way. No one will suspect that the gift was a lastminute thought. • E-certificates: Retailers like music or book sellers will e-mail a gift certificate code to the person of your choice on a selected date. For those who are never without an e-reader or mp3 player, digital gifts could fit the bill. • Gas card: It may sound funny and tacky, but a gas card from a brand-name station is a universally acceptable gift for anyone who drives regularly. With fluctuating gas prices, filling up the tank can be an expensive venture. Having a prepaid gift card can help. Online retailers are also there to help last-minute shoppers. Many online retailers guarantee in-timefor-Christmas shipping even on gifts ordered as late as Dec. 23. However, overnight shipping charges will cost more. But it’s all worth it to get the item in time. Waiting until the last minute for shopping can induce some anxiety. But knowing about easy gifts for procrastinators can take the stress out of this type of shopping.

Peace On Earth

A Wish For You


For the scores of shoppers who consciously or subconsciously wait until the last possible minute to shop, there are ways to survive and surprise friends and family with great gifts. • Gift cards: They may not have sentimental meaning behind them, but gift cards are fast and easy. Chances are you can run into a store and be out with a handful of gift cards in less than 15 minutes, depending on lines at the checkout counter. Also, many supermarkets, bookstores and other retailers offer gift card kiosks enabling you to shop for different gift cards all in one place. • Food and beverages: While everyone is heading to the mall in droves, you can be stepping inside of a gourmet food or spirits store. Splurge on fine cheeses or that trendy bottle of liquor a gift recipient has mentioned but not yet purchased for herself. • Magazine subscription: A magazine subscription is an easy fix as a last-minute gift. Purchase one copy of the magazine at the newsstand and wrap it up nicely. Put a note that a year’s worth of

WITH WARM WISHES We would like to express our gratitude and cheer with everyone who has stopped by here.

Christmas Guest Special Dec 23 to Dec 26/12 Rooms ONLY



#1 - 6707 Hwy 53 West, Ponoka, AB. 403-704-1177 • Fax: 403-704-1199

Season’s Greetings From the Staff and Board of Directors of Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Have a plan when hosting holiday dinners When it comes to the holidays, tradition tends to reign supreme. Be it when a family opens their presents, where they open those presents or what they eat for dinner, customs rule the roost for most. A tradition many families share during the holidays is the annual holiday party. An informal way of getting together with family and friends, a holiday party is a time for people to let loose during a season where friends and good cheer go hand in hand. However, as any police force can attest, some tend to overdo it at holiday parties and the results can be anything but jolly. The average number of fatalities in crashes involving at least one impaired driver was 40 per cent higher for the Christmas holiday period than the rest of December in 2006, and 60 per cent higher for the New Year’s Day holiday period that same year. Those statistics illustrate the tendency for people to let their alcohol consumption get out of

control during the holiday season, a potential problem not only for those driving the roads this holiday season, but those hosting parties as well. Hosts should consider the following tips. • Enlist designated drivers: While everyone wants to let loose during a season many people find stressful, enlisting designated drivers in advance of the party is a good way to avoid disaster. Choosing a designated driver can be done by either asking certain guests days in advance of the party, or by using the services of a local taxi or limousine service and informing guests beforehand that the taxis are available and will be used if necessary. If guests know this in advance, they’re more likely to be cooperative should the need for a taxi arise. • Don’t make the party all about alcohol: Provide at least as many non-alcoholic beverages as you do alcoholic beverages. Parties with an abundance of alcohol available will only encourage

guests to drink to excess. Also, make sure a hearty meal is served. With a full stomach, guests are less likely to overdo it with alcohol. • Take keys when guests arrive: While taking keys might offend certain individuals, if you make it known on the invitation that all guests must hand over their car keys upon arrival then it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Those who balk at the idea can simply choose to not attend. Once a host takes a guest’s keys, the host is then responsible for determining if they can drive home. That said, hosts themselves must drink responsibly so they’re capable of making the best decision once the party ends. • Have a first aid kit on hand and preferably someone trained in CPR: Hosts are not only responsible for their guests when they leave the party, but also while they’re still at the party. Whether a guest overdoes it with alcohol or simply has an accident, it’s the host’s responsibility to have all potential accidents covered. If no one on your guest list is trained inCPR, get trained yourself.

Holiday safety tips It is that time of year again, Christmas is just around the corner followed closely by New Year’s Eve. The RCMP would like to provide some easy tips on how to make celebrating with your family, friends and loved ones enjoyable and safe for all when it comes to travelling on highways. • Decide early who will be driving. Choose a responsible person who will take being the designated driver role seriously. • If you are going to be going out more then once and with the same group of people, switch up who the designated driver will be so one person doesn’t always have to remain sober if they don’t want to. • If you are meeting people somewhere and know you will be drinking, do not take your vehicle to this location. Take a cab, or have someone take you

And so do our customers! Thank you all for your support this year.

there. You can’t be tempted to drive home if you do not have your vehicle there with you. • Put the cab services in your area in your cell phone contact lists Under “Cabs” or “Taxi” so they are easy to find when you need them. • Separate money you will need to get home from the money you will be drinking with so at the end of your evening you do not feel stuck with no way to get home (Keeping in mind that the amount for the cab fare is far cheaper then an impaired driving fine, possible wage loss from losing your licence or any lawyer’s fees). • Have a back up plan on how you can get home if the one you had planned falls through. • If hosting a gathering, have a space prepared for additional guests, let your guests know ahead of time you will not let them drive away from your residence under the influence of alcohol and that you have a safe place for them to stay the night if they need it. To ensure the safety of the public and our communities, there will be an increase in Check Stops and as always, a zero tolerance for impaired driving.

We look forward to 2013 and hope you have a great holiday!

Mike, Bobbi & Staff




With thanks from our entire staff for your goodwill this past year.

5010 50 Street


Ponoka Veterinary Clinic 5502 - Hwy 2A Ponoka, AB T4J 1M1 24 Hr. Emergency - 403-783-4348

Dec 25 8am – 9pm Dec 26 7am – Midnight Dec 31 6:30am – Midnight Jan 1/13 8am – Midnight

STAMPEDE ESSO #2, 4800 60 St 403-783-8272

May you enjoy all the best of the Christmas season with family, friends and neighbours


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Keeping kids occupied during winter break Winter break can be the perfect respite for school-aged children. Although not quite halfway through the school year, the timing of winter break does come when kids might be preoccupied with the holiday season and all that comes with it. Kids may be distracted about parties and presents, but parents maybe preoccupied with finding ways their kids can spend their time during winter break — a typically two-week hiatus from school that begins shortly before Christmas and ends with kids’ return to school shortly after New Year’s Day. Parents facing the dilemma of finding

something for kids to do during winter break should consider the following tips. • Take a vacation. Vacation is the easy way out. Winter break might mark the only time until summer parents can spend quality time with their kids completely away from the distractions of everyday life. Vacation can mean a trip to warmer climates or simply packing up the car to go spend time with the grandparents. If there’s any vacation time to spare, consider hitting the road. •Teach kids some practical lessons. Kids likely won’t miss the classroom during winter break,

Bird fans join Christmas Bird Count More than 12,000 volunteers across Canada – and over 60,000 continentwide – will be counting birds from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5. Many will rise before dawn and brave winter weather to participate in the world’s longest running wildlife census, begun in 1900. The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a project of the National Audubon Society in the United States and is co-ordinated in Canada by Bird Studies Canada. The count will undergo several significant changes beginning this year as both organizations build on the program’s success to entice birdwatchers to lend their eyes and ears year round. Fees to participate in the count will be dropped to encourage greater participation, and the annual published report, American Birds, will go digital in 2013, saving more trees for the birds. The 113th CBC is expected to be larger than ever, expanding its geographical coverage and accumulating information about the winter distributions of various birds. Today, volunteers from every Canadian province and territory, all 50 of the United States, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies and Pacific Islands, count and record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area. “This is not just about counting birds,” says Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada’s program coordinator. “Data from the Christmas Bird Count are at the heart of hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies and inform decisions by wildlife managers across Canada. Because birds are early indicators of environmental threats to habitats we share, this is a vital survey of North America and

Best Wishes and sincere thanks to all of our good friends this holiday season.

Scizzor Wizzard

increasingly, the Western Hemisphere.” Christmas Bird Count data have revealed the dramatic impact climate change is already having on birds, and a disturbing decline in common birds, including the Rusty Blackbird. The many decades of data not only help identify birds in need of conservation action, but also reveal success stories. The Christmas Bird Count helped document the comeback of the Bald Eagle and significant increases in waterfowl populations, both the result of conservation efforts. Last year’s count shattered records in Canada. A total of 412 counts involving over 12,000 participants tallied 3.9 million birds of 303 species. The count began in 1900 when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore (which evolved into Audubon magazine) suggested an alternative to the holiday “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most small game, including birds. Chapman proposed that people count birds instead. To participate, visit the Christmas Bird Count webpage and click on “Find a Count Near You.” Bird Studies Canada is dedicated to advancing the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. BSC is Canada’s national body for bird research and conservation, and is a non-governmental charitable organization. Each year, more than 20,000 volunteers actively participate in BSC’s research and education activities. Learn more about the Christmas Bird Count at

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We’re Rounding Up Our Thanks You’re the best bunch of pardners we’ve ever had Your support and your friendship have made us most glad So we hope that your holiday brings you much cheer And enough good fortune to ride out the year! We wish you the best of holidays and look forward to seeing you soon.

Jim & Faye Avery & family Shandall Plumbing Ltd. 403-783-6372

Hair Design & Suntan Salon

Kelly & Lana Avery & family

5033 Chipman Ave



but that doesn’t mean there aren’t enjoyable ways for kids to learn while they’re away from school. Teach kids practical lessons, like how to cook a favorite meal or how to fix things around the house. This gives parents a chance to spend some quality time with their kids while encouraging kids to learn beyond the classroom. And who knows, such lessons at home may uncover a child’s hidden talent. • Encourage kids to read for pleasure. Reading improves vocabulary and can stimulate a child’s imagination. During the winter break, encourage kids to read a book or the daily newspaper for pleasure, assuring them there won’t be any quizzes or tests after each chapter. Get the ball rolling with a few books given as presents during Christmas or Hanukah. Or take a trip to the local library and let kids choose their own books. • Soak up some snow. Parents who work from home can liven up the day during winter break by heading outside with the kids to build a snowman or have a snowball fight. Moms and Dads will enjoy the break from work while kids get some fun in the snow.


More Models. More Parts. More Knowledgeable Staff.

6610 - 46 Avenue 403-783-3337


Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012


our Best

To all Our Readers, Advertisers, Friends and Associates

Go Our Best Wishes For a Season Filled With Good News and Good Times.

Your support makes it all worthwhile. Happy Holidays

and Many Thanks! Judy, Susan, Karen, George, Jeff, Amelia, Mike and Jessica.



Special Features - Season's Greetings  
Special Features - Season's Greetings