Mennonite Heritage Village

Of Christmas Past (Part Two)

Village News (December 20, 2018)

By Rebecca Kornelson


Of Christmas Past (Part Two)

A New Generation

Time passed by until one crisp wintery day near Christmas in 1957 young Larry Almon and his sister Rebecca Ann, living in Steinbach, took their toboggan and walked to Bush Farm where their grandparents, John C. Reimers, now lived. John C. had begun farming in 1944 on the land where Southland Church now stands. Larry and Rebecca had a saw to cut down their first Christmas tree. It was with great excitement that they pulled the pine tree home on the toboggan. Tonight they would decorate the tree and enjoy some of their mother’s homemade oatmeal-date cookies. Life couldn’t get a lot better!

Steinbach’s stores had changed a lot since Klass Reimer built his humble little shop which now stands on the Mennonite Heritage Village street. One very snowy evening Rebecca and her mother walked uptown to shop for Christmas gifts at the “5 cent to $” Store on Main Street. Rubber boots protected her feet from the deep snow, a little snow melting on the stockinged legs above. Her money was clutched in her blue hand-knit mitten.  Rebecca bought her younger sisters coloring books for only five cents each. She looked at the dime in her hand and saw the picture of young Queen Elizabeth and handed it to the cashier. She wondered what it would be like to be a queen. It couldn’t be as much fun as shopping for Christmas! What a successful shopping trip they’d had! Their arms were full of packages on the way home. Gusts of wind blew into their rosy faces. Rebecca had a warm scarf tied around her head, and snow and frost stuck onto the mouth area. Eyelashes were icy. It was good to get home. The door squeaked with the cold and the window in the door was beautiful with Jack Frost’s artwork. They pulled off boots, coats, and caps and warmed up in the heat of the coal furnace. Christmas music greeted them on the radio, and Rebecca sang along to ‘Away in a Manger, no crib for a bed’. Christmas was definitely the most exciting time of year!

Christmas programs in school and church celebrated the age-old story of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Larry and Rebecca joined in enthusiastically in the celebrations and family gatherings.

The Winds of Time

It was a very brittle, cold, stormy day in 1988. The John C. Reimer family gathered to celebrate Christmas. They had brought favorite foods, delicious foods, many not available in 1884. Almon’s sister, Mary, had spread the traditional red tablecloth on the serving table. Later they sang the old songs, ‘O Du Froehliche’, ‘Deinen Koenigstron’, and ‘O little Town of Bethlehem’. The Christmas Story was read from the Bible. Then Almon had a surprise for the great-grandchildren. He spread out on the floor a large, old horse hide named Frank and the small children sat on it – Larry’s, Rebecca’s and others. John C. Reimer sat near the children in a wheelchair, a colorful afghan covering his knees. He told the children a story about long, long ago. Almon played his harmonica. And the cold wind blew.

Calendar of Events

December 20, Accents Concert – 7:30 PM

December 23 to January 5: Closed for Christmas and New Year’s

January 10, Auxiliary Film Night – Seed to Seed – 7:00 PM





Caption for Photo:

“John C. Reimer in the wheel chair and Almon Reimer playing the harmonica at the Reimer Christmas gathering in 1988.”