Our Christmas animals survey South Main Street on the third festival day.  Sunshine was not in the prediction and air temperatures proved warmer than promised.

On December 1 some additional serious snow had been promised and Mahone Bay (red circle) was on tenter hooks considering the failure of visitors to drive out of the snow belt.  This time the areas crucial to a successful event got heavy rain but other areas of Nova Scotia were again clobbered.

Rod often describes himself as having a Neo-Victorian childhood, and that's partly because the Golden Age of book illustration was seriously damaged by the Great Depression and World War II.  Fortunately he inherited his dad's books featuring images by N.C. Wyeth and Arthur Rackham. At certain times of the year children were apt to dream fanciful scenarios with or without books. During World War II there were not the people or resources to mount anything close to the Mahone Bay Fantasy which requires no effort to experience an adventure.

The 1940s created a practical world in which there was rationing of food, clothing and gasoline, so communities became insular and largely self sustaining.  At Christmastide Children fantasized receiving gifts which went beyond recycled and reconstructed clothing. They could always depend on getting a new shirt or blouse, stockings and a handkerchief, but hoped for better, in the best cases a repainted toy from years past, an orange, some candy and dried fruit; paper and wooden toys made in Canada. The Wyeth lad in the foreground stands before Rackham's early version of an elfin Father Christmas, which Ruth days is how she recalls this spirit, rather than the overfilled Santa Claus of North America.

The Dutch Sinterklass who was perhaps the earliest model for Santa was of human size.  A Captain Seaforth figure who brought gifts from afar after his latest year of travel.  In A Visit Form St, Nicholas, the American poet Clement Moore  introduced illustrations of an overfed "jolly old elf." That elf mutated into a larger than life spirit under the pen of artist Thomas Nash in the Victoria era. His outfit was of various colours until a Cola Cola ad produce in 1923 formalized his uniform as red in colour. The Golden Age illustrators of the early twentieth century continued to obey all these guide lines.

Every year at this time there is hand-wringing over the religious or irreligious aspects of the Season, whatever it is called. Those of us who live in Canada need to remember that Christianity has about 2.2 billion adherents, 31.5% of the world's population. The Roman Catholic Church makes up 50 percent of that total, with Protestants of all stripes comprising the rest.  The "Pew Study" conducted in 2010, says that Muslims comprise the largest number of Non-Christian faith, but suggested that the Islamic and Hindustani religions are poised for the most expansion. The remaining third of the world  appears to be unaffiliated.In this situation humility, peace and good-will toward all mankind seems called for if we are to survive as a species.

Rod's Festival pics from previous and present decades. Roman Catholicism is the wellspring of Christianity but those interested in the relationship between the pagan Yule and Christian Christmas might enjoy or decry the notion that "Most Christian traditions are rooted deep in ancient Yule rituals many coming from the Vikings (see skanland.com)."
He claims that the true importance of the Winter Solstice and the 12 days of the pagan Mid Winter Feast  continue to mark the growing warmth of the sun (rather than any birthday) and adds that it is still being ritually celebrated. Can't be sure how widespread that might be!

On thing that is clear is the fact that Christmas is hugely commercialized, sometimes to good ends.  Humans do need to sustain themselves and their communities and cannot really afford not to compete for the loose change which is spread widely in early winter. There are two ways of looking at this development. In times past John Muir railed, “These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and, instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar.” Then there is, more recently, Craig Ferguson: “I think commercialism helps Christmas and I think that the more capitalism we can inject into the Christmas holiday the more spiritual I feel about it .”

Our backyard. Mahone Bay had had a few days of overcast skies, wind, rain and ennui, but there were sunny breaks.  Other parts of Nova Scotia suffered a much worse time and one can imagine that there was a keen desire to attempt to escape cabin fever.

Across Main Street workers at Mailman and Kelley's marina spent the morning picking up articles blown about by that wind on December 2.  Having determined that the Lutheran Yard Sale actually commenced on Saturday, December 3, R&R set out to spend some money in the town.

These are truly the "days of the weak sun." At this hour store tills were not jingling and parking not at a premium.

Yard sales require cash, so Ruth stopped at the Bank of Montreal ATM. Rod took a moment to photograph that well-to-do Victorian couple in the bandstand. Their children were at Mahone Bay Centre as part of the "Fantasy Experience." Extra wide heavier bases had keep them upright during that storm.

Seen from the bandstand. You don't have to live here to get photos like this but you do need to be an early riser.

The food store parking lot. This place has very good fresh fish.

Parked on the water side of Edgewater.  A Chowder Lunch was advertised for this United Church hall at 11 pm, some time distant.

This is the Lutheran Church next door to the left of the United.

A billboard sign noted that their "yard sale" was already in progress. The third church hall sale was seen previously.

Largely used goods but of exceptional variety and quality. It was noticed that baked good, preserves and food products were not moving quickly. People were obviously Christmas shopping.  The best offerings went early so probably this is largely a local event.

Next the Legion Hall, set to open a half-hour later.  When R&R arrived vendors were still setting up on tables leased from the Legion.  A lot of handmade goods, but they did have stiff competition from church sales which as charitable affairs.

A last look at the Baptist Church indoor sale, which Ruth correctly guessed might have a few new additions on this second weekend. There are entire forests of mature pines within Mahone Bay and great walking trails.

Heme again for breakfast between 10 am and 11am when the United Church was open for lunch and its annual Christmas sale.

Arriving on time they discovered many cars entering the parking lot and a great deal more activity down town.

This is another big active congregation. That "No cash on premises" sign was hardly applicable.

R&R lingered over fish chowder before touring the commercial zone.

Realistically, the three iconic churches face an uncertain future since congregations are not large enough to keep their churches in top-notch shape.  This church hall was refurbished by a generous bequest, but wealthy patrons are diminishing with time. A foundation n has been put together by these three denominations with a view to raising money for infrastructure. That's what this table was all about.

The United Church folk have gone into recycling unwanted Christmas gifts, so these tables were offering brand-new items including "stocking stuffers." Many unusual objects, some no longer seen in stores at attractive prices.

Rod wanted to take one further trip down town but the next event was at high noon, so they shopped for food and drink and on the trip home paused at (Queen Victoria's) Jubilee Park so that Rod could snap this pedestrian walkway being built over a small stream.

At noon. Interest centred on the Old Station.

As my high school teacher, Ellen Gregg, liked to suggest, "If he tooteth not his own horn, the same shall not be tooted."

This shows the setting near the La Have Bakery outlet.

Passersby this year seemed more intent on shopping that getting a hug.

Rod waved Paul Seltzer an appreciative Merry Christmas.

Every store seemed to be doing quite well.

Final festive day! Ruth borrowed the boot-liner-liner "ear-flaps idea from the Mackenzie Brothers. Sadly, that beer bottle was empty but we never drink until the end of a working day.

It close to the freezing mark that morning, with a stiff wind blowing.

Usually an overcast sky is accompanied by warmer air temperatures.

People were dressed in warmer attire but most were still looking for chapped hands.

A lot of cars were seen sporting Christmas trees.

Cold weather cleanup.

Paul Seltzer was back on the job.

On this day signs advertising the fantasy at Mahone Bay Centre were relocated out of the wind.

We turned about and found Saint Nicholas, King of the Saxophone packing it in because of the inclement weather.

There were more cars on the road and more people in the shops, but fewer pedestrians than on the previous day.

A bit dark and seasonal in a few places but in most places where there were open shops parking was at a premium.

Still, by 1 pm R&R knew that weather had trumped the local yard sales. Books on this table were marked "Free," so they carried away three.

as seen from  distance.

R&R noted the opening of this micro brewery in time to benefit from the Scarecrow Festival in October. By this time it was fully operational and closed against the elements. They bought a growler of Nun On The Run for $15 plus a returnable bottle deposit after being told by the owners that the tap room was closed on Sundays until government regulations had been met. Martin Luther was pictured on the label, which led to bit of web research. While his wife manned the home front he travelled in support of The Protestant Reformation.

For many years Ruth's mum and dad lived beneath the shadow of the Lutheran Church spire. Their house showed a a roof line at right. Later R&R lived a bit further west with Mary back to back with the Lutheran manse. That's the official design for Canadian celebrations planned for next year, These will be significant for this church in Old Town Lunenburg since it was the second Lutheran congregation set up in all Canada and remains one of the largest.

Martin Luther and Eric Roberts, both good over-the-fence conversationalists and convivial drinking men.  He trained in theology but went one to become a truck driver until retirement. He was a home brewer, a task Martin left to his wife.

His wife, Vivian S. Roberts in her new Saskatchewan charge taken up after she and her husband returned from Guyana.  At right Katharine von Bora who became the "nun on the run." She and 11 other acolytes, unhappy with a severely ordered life, were assisted in their escape from a nunnery by Martin Luther. After a decently long courtship she married him.

Katharina was much more than a brew-mistress. She must have been good at it as the recipe was preserved through 14 generations and the produce is still on the market in Germany.

Martin Luther had a way with words, wine, a woman and song, as well as beer; but that's another long Christmas tale which may be considered at another time.

Some drinkers do indeed "think themselves great men." AS one of them, Martin Luther was a rare success in every respect,  except reforming the Roman Catholic Church from within.

The brand he espoused is still manufactured and sold.

The "Old Lutheran" trades in items like this.

This business, which has the blessing of the United States evangelical church, demands quiet knowledgeable conversation, which may be in short supply south of the border these days. Trump appears to be a lapsed Presbyterian. They combined in many places with Methodists to create the United Church.

The Methodist guru created alternate medicine. Ruth's mum's father was a methodist cleric, so I guess that explains her brother Edmund's resistance to  classic medical practice and the use of scientifically vetted drugs as medication.

Getting back on track, the above beer label is perhaps now understandable?

This is, of course Billy Bob Thornton standing in for one of the first American bad-ass version of Santa Clauses. Case claused for 2016.

Wishing you'll a very Merry Commercial Christmas. Stay off the roads if you drink any amount of alcohol! Otherwise R&R recommend  "Yeah, though I walk through the valley of death..."