Sleds, Sleighs and Snow: A Canadian Christmas Carol

Reviewed: December 17, 2005
By: edited by Anne Tempelman-Kluit
Publisher: Whitecap Books
293 pages, $19.95

Former Star reporter Anne Tempelman-Kluit is at it again, producing her fourth volume of Canadian Christmas tales. The earlier books were focussed on specific regions of the country, but this one, as she notes in her introduction, runs from sea to sea to sea, and roves through the history of the nation.

“Through stories of the year’s most universal celebration, this book illustrates how Canadian life has changed over time.”

The eighty-four items in the book include letters, memoirs, newspaper clippings, a few pieces of fiction, some poetry and a one Christmas recipe. These are accompanied by a equal number of engravings, photographs, Christmas cards and sketches, each nicely matched to the text piece it accompanies.

The material ranges through time as well as space, beginning with Father Jean de Brebeuf’s 1642 “Jesus Ahatonhia - Jesus is Born” (better known as “The Huron Carol”) and  moving through the centuries until the late 1940s. Of the eighty-four items in the book,

Tempelman-Kluit has managed to include four items from the Klondike, all from the Gold Rush era to the time of Robert Service, who is included, along with short pieces from such well known names as Margaret Laurence, E, Pauline Johnson, L.M. Montgomery, Grey Owl, Emily Carr and Stephen Leacock.