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By donating in memory of a loved one during the holidays, you help to purchase items that will improve the comfort of patients in hospitals and health centres, right here at home.

Christmas is a time for family and friends to gather and reminisce about years gone by. After another year of COVID-19, sharing joy and togetherness, safely, is even more cherished. Traditionally, this is the season that draws everyone home. You see people you don’t see any other time of the year. Our strength is our connection to our community, family, and friends.

Over Christmas, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians set aside time, as much as we can, to be together and connect. Our culture is full of traditions passed down from generation to generation; mummering, trimming the tree, baking fruit cake and sharing Christmas cheer. These traditions, as unique as each family, fill us with nostalgia and joy.

Margaret and Joe’s Christmas Traditions

Christmas has always been really important in our family. Christmas was the one day we knew we had Mom and Dad home. Growing up, my parents owned Parkdale Pharmacy which was open 364 days a year. Mom was the Hallmark person, and was like Mrs. Ornament with Parkdale being renowned for their Christmas ornaments. I can still picture mom and dad’s first ornaments; dad still has his from almost 100 years ago. I remember our tree topped with the makeshift star dad made; the house beautifully decorated, and stockings lined with care.

When I met my husband (Joe), I was amazed at the contrasts in our family celebrations. Whether dinner is served on fine china or on Royal Chinet plates, it’s made special by the ones we share the table with. My family held many traditions; real trees decorated with carefully placed icicles and heirloom ornaments, a house decorated with greeting cards from around the world, and waiting in anticipation (that, as kids, we thought would kill us) to open gifts after our mid-day meal with our grandparents and mom’s delicious shortbread. Joe’s extended family celebrated on Boxing Day, in a house so full, guests sat wherever they could find room. As different as they were, I remember both of our mothers quietly taking it all in, happy. They loved to be surrounded by family and friends, and these gatherings were a highlight of the year. 

In 2020, I lost both my Mom (Helen) and Mother in Law (Lucy). That year, Hallmark’s Nostalgic Houses ornament was almost identical to the blue, two story house with a red door that Mom and Dad built, and our family had lived in since 1959. When Lucy was diagnosed with lymphoma in the spring of 2019, the first thing she asked Dr. McIntyre is if her children had cause to start saving up for her Christmas present. That’s how important this time of year was to her. While she was told to ask for a really nice Mother’s Day gift, we were lucky enough to have her for two more Christmases.

As our families change, we incorporate the time-honoured traditions that hold special places in our hearts. Like the tinsel and lights, our loved ones who aren’t here with us today shine brightly in our Christmas memories. Family members who are gone are represented by the decorations and stories that come out at Christmas time. My brothers and I will do Tree of Memories every year to honour our Mom. Joe and I will do the same thing for Lucy.

Memories of our mothers will always be with us at Christmas. Tree of Memories is our way to celebrate our moms with a new tradition, as we make a difference for the people in our hospitals and healthcare centres today and tomorrow. We can’t send Christmas gifts to our loved ones who are no longer with us, but donating to Tree of Memories is our virtual gift to them. 

– Margaret Butt

Together, we can make sure spirits are bright at Christmas.

Honour the memory of your loved ones while giving the gift of hope to fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Donate to the Tree of Memories today to make a difference to those who won’t be able to celebrate at home this Christmas season.