Growing up, I loved being with my grandparents. They were wonderful people who know how to have fun. However, I could never understand their taste in music. Country, Western, and Bluegrass – that is all they ever listened to. Stompin’ Tom Connors, Humphrey and the Dumptrucks, and The Yodeling Cowboy Wilf Carter were some of their favourites.
It wasn’t until years later, and after they were gone, that I began to appreciate and then love these genres. Then began my search for the Holy Grail of Christmas albums in my family: “Christmas in Canada” by Wilf Carter.
“It’s Christmas time in Canada / Be merry while we can / It’s Christmas time in Canada / God bless our native land”
This album, which was released in 1965, seems to be a rare one. Most record store clerks have barely heard of Wilf Carter, let alone his Canadian Christmas album.
This past October, after years of flipping through vinyl at every thrift store, yard sale and record swap I’ve come across, I decided to go into a consignment store that is one block away from my house. I have walked by it almost every day for the past three years but had never gone inside.
The store had a mess of records piled all over the floor, but they were not organized in any fashion. After a few minutes, I asked if there was a country section. He pointed to a cardboard box under a bunch of old dishes. “Christmas in Canada” was the sixth record I flipped to, and I felt like Ralphie, when he finally got his official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock.