When I initially came up with the idea for this anthology, I checked for any previous books about Christmas in Manitoba and I was surprised to find that there weren’t any. The closest book was Christmas in the West by Hugh Dempsey, about Christmas on the Prairies. But of the 57 stories in the volume, only nine of them were about Manitoba. The book was published in 1982 and is now out of print. A more recent book with a similar theme is Christmas in the Prairies by Rich Mole, but it too only contained a few stories about Manitoba. Finally, there’s Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada that has Christmas tales from across the country. Once again Manitoba is poorly represented: out of the 101 stories, only seven of them were about Christmas in Manitoba.
Other regions of Canada have books about their holiday traditions. There’s Cape Breton’s Christmas: A Treasury of Stories and Memories, A Klondike Christmas, A West Coast Christmas, A Maritime Christmas, and Christmas in Quebec. But none for Manitoba.
For the U.S., there are a slew of books about holiday traditions in various states and cities. A search of Amazon revealed that over half of the 50 states have a book about Christmas in their state. There’s Christmas in Minnesota, Christmas in Illinois, Christmas in Chicago, Christmas in Michigan, Christmas in Florida, A Nantucket Christmas,…, and the list goes on and on.
Is Manitoba not distinctive enough to have a book devoted to its Christmas traditions and memories? Or perhaps there isn’t enough of a market for such a book? I emphatically disagree on both counts. As Manitobans, I believe we have our holiday stories and traditions, and I think it’s time we shared them.