Few people have more memories of Christmas than Laura Ireland.
Ireland, a 102-year-old resident of Hillview Manor in Estevan, has experienced Christmas amid the backdrop of two world wars, the Great Depression, recessions and a thriving economy.
Thoughts of Christmas still bring a smile to her face, and cause her to laugh.
There were some tough times when her family didn't have much, but Christmas was always a fun holiday spent with loved ones.
And while Christmas has changed a lot since her youth in the Lumsden and Disley areas, some things haven't changed.
"We're waiting for Santa Claus to come," Ireland said with a laugh.
She doesn't remember everything that Santa Claus brought her, although she does recall that there was candy and other items.
Ireland said that she and her two sisters would eagerly wait to see the gifts that Santa had left in their stockings.
"We had to get socks of our own for our stockings," she said.
Christmas concerts were another experience that she enjoyed, she said. The children provided wonderful music for those in the audience, just like they do today. But the Christmas concert was the place to go for entertainment; there weren't as many events or celebrations as there are now.
Ireland eventually wedded a man who worked for a railroad company, which meant that they had to move around a lot.
They would have Christmas in several different communities. Occasionally they would travel to a relative's home for Christmas festivities.
Ireland expects that she'll spend Christmas this year with her daughter, Gale, who lives in Estevan.
Another resident of Hillview Manor, Audrey Sovdi, grew up on a farm near Avonlea. She said she still remembers how she and her five siblings would lay out stockings for Santa Claus.
"Mother would hang the stockings on the back of chairs and fill them with mostly fruits and small things that would fit," said Sovdi. "And then on the chair, she would put our one big gift, which would usually be a book, or a toy or a game."
Every year they would visit her aunt or uncle. The families alternated the host duties: one year her family would be the hosts; the next year they would hitch horses to a big sleigh and travel to the home of their extended family.
"Dad would let us put our toboggans, or our sleigh, on a rope behind the big sleigh, and we could get to ride on the toboggan," Sovdi said.
The Christmas meal was always big, and it featured many foods common today: turkey, potatoes, gravy, turnips and Christmas pudding. Her family would eat at about 2 p.m., so that they would have time to complete the chores afterwards.
Sovdi relocated to Outram after she married her husband. She enjoyed sewing, so she would sew winter clothing for her children's Christmas gifts: new dresses for the girls, and shirts, pants and possibly vests for the boys. And she has long been an avid baker, so baking was always part of her family's Christmas celebrations.
This year she'll spend Christmas Eve at her daughter's home, where they'll open gifts and enjoy Christmas supper. Christmas Day will likely be spent at Hillview Manor; Sovdi said the manor serves a delightful meal with beautiful china, silverware and centerpieces.
Louise Seipp grew up on a farm near Estevan. She said she remembers a Christmas that wasn't so slanted towards commercialization.
Her parents always decorated a nice evergreen tree on Christmas Eve. When Seipp and her sisters woke up on Christmas Day, there would be presents under the tree.
"We didn't give the gifts like we do nowadays," said Seipp. "You might have one special one and some little ones."
The special gifts could be a little tea set, a new sleigh or books. Smaller gifts included chocolates and fancy handkerchiefs.
The tree was decorated with real glass decorations. Her parents were from Chicago originally, and Seipp said they brought some really nice ornaments with them to Saskatchewan. An angel always topped the tree.
If weather conditions permitted, and if the roads were in good enough condition, her family would go to midnight mass at the church.
"I enjoyed the choir," she said. "They always had such a lovely choir on Christmas Eve."
They would go to her aunt and uncle's home on Christmas Day, or they would stay at home and entertain family members. The big Christmas meal was usually served at around noon.
"In the afternoon, you would go out sledding or something like that," she said. "You'd go for a sleigh ride, and they'd put bells on horses."
There was also a Christmas concert at her school each year.
The event was well-attended by everyone in the area.
Christmas celebrations didn't change much after she had a family of her own, she said. The most notable difference was that they would have the Christmas tree ready a few days before Christmas Eve.
Seipp said she looks forward to Christmas each year, and the opportunities that she will have to spend with family.