Cathy’s Christmas Memory

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Me and my big sister at the Ottawa Firefighters Christmas Party, 1983.  (photo courtesy of my mom)

Not everyone knows this about me but I’m a firefighter kid.  Both my sister and I were born and raised in Ottawa where both my  dad and grandfather were firefighters. We lived on a street with other firefighter families, played with their kids and became part of the firefighting family.

Every Christmas, my mom  dressed me and my sister in brand new dresses, did our hair pretty, and took us to the Ottawa Firefighters Children’s Christmas party.  She told us how my grandmother did the exact same thing with my dad and my aunt. We were the second generation of fire kids! So cool.

One of my favourite things were the little pots of ice cream – complete with tiny wooden spoons!  I loved the helium balloons and being there with all my friends. Plus, my dad played the trombone in the Fire Department Band and joined us after the concert.

Being a firefighter’s kid rocked!

But like any good Christmas Party, the best part was Santa! No matter how many Shopping Centre Santas we encountered, my sister and I  knew the Santa at firefighters’ Christmas party was the REAL Santa.

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Me and my family at the Calgary Firefighters Christmas Party, 2015 (photo courtesy of Patton Photography and IAFF 255)

Working at the museum has brought me  full circle to this amazing Christmas memory. Best job ever.

This Christmas, the Calgary Firefighters Association extended an invitation to all CFD support staff  to take part in their annual Christmas party! I got my girls dressed up in their new dresses and did their hair up pretty for them and carried on the tradition for the third generation.

While saying our thank yous and good byes to Mr. Claus, he noticed that Anna’s bow on her dress had come undone. Being the good guy that he is, he offered to tie it up. Awesome.  

As he set to work, Anna stood on her tippy toes and whispered to me “Santa is tying my bow!” .

A perfectly placed bow and a million high fives later, I had the happiest kid in the world. No matter how many Shopping Centre Santas Anna and her sister will encounter this year, the Santa at the Firefighters’ Christmas party is and always will be the REAL Santa.

Wishing you the best of the holidays.

  • Cathy



Musings from the Board- December

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Russell Stratton, President, Firefighters Museum Society, Calgary, 2015

The festivities are often a time when we gather with family and friends and spend time celebrating together. However not everyone will get the opportunity to be with their families over the holidays.

I remember when growing up my late Father would often be working a shift over the holiday period. He would not only miss out on the excitement of Christmas morning, but would often return later that evening to eat his re-heated Christmas dinner, long after everyone else had eaten and had now retired to watch television or play games. I remember him sitting at the table, still in his uniform, eating his dinner whilst other family members passed through the kitchen wishing him a belated Merry Christmas.

So as we come up to the Christmas and New Year holidays please take a moment to spare a thought for the Emergency Services, Hospital Staff, Military Personnel and others who will be away from their families and working to protect the public and save lives this Christmas.

On behalf of the Staff and Directors of the Firefighters Museum of Calgary, I’d like to wish you all a very happy and peaceful holiday season.

Russell Stratton


Firefighters Museum Society, Calgary