A Canadian Yuletide Treasury


156 pages
ISBN 0-7720-1392-6





Reviewed by Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick is a librarian at Ryerson Polytechnical University.


This anthology is a delightful Christmas book, with something for everyone. Included are essays, short stories, and poems by such well-known Canadian writers as Emily Carr, Stephen Leacock, Robertson Davies, F.R. Scott, Morley Callaghan, and W.O. Mitchell. Many of the entries centre on nostalgic reminiscences of childhood Christmases, with passages evoking the memories of warm family hearths and crisp snowy outdoors, and of sensations of the taste and smell of special Yuletide food and drink. In fact, this is not a book for anyone on a diet, for in addition to the tantalizing descriptions of Christmas goodies, there is also a section of old-fashioned recipes, for those who feel tempted to join in the feasting with the characters in the book.

Several entries deal with Christmas in the isolated frontier. Particularly interesting is Duncan Pryde’s “Drum Dance,” which depicts an Eskimo festivity and the games and dances which take place in a large snow house at a Christmas party given by the traders. “Dawn and Diamonds” by Frederick Philip Grove stands out for its description of the exquisite beauty of a snowy winter landscape.

A humourous section of “Christmas Critics,” where latter-day Scrooges are allowed to give vent to their true feelings about Christmas, provides a welcome note of cynicism to the collection. Especially funny are Robertson Davies’ “Christmas Diary” and Stephen Leacock’s “Christmas Letter.”

This book fulfills all the expectations promised by its title. It makes excellent light reading for Christmas-time, and, of course, would make the ideal Christmas present.


“A Canadian Yuletide Treasury,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/38631.