Christmas to me means many things. Food, classical music, family and friends, frantic gift shopping and many consecutive days off work.
Food commands a great deal of consideration on Christmas day. It brings people together and will become a part of your Christmas memories. In years to come you may still be reminiscing over mother’s legendary Christmas turkey come December. Whether a BBQ at the beach, a big family dinner at home or a picnic in the gardens, the nostalgic properties of food are seldom more potent than at Christmastime.
When I was younger Christmas meant scoffing the chocolate from our Christmas stockings by noon. A mid-afternoon smorgasbord of breads, crackers and brie with dips, and finally moving on to whatever fattening banquet my mother had concocted for dinner. Common items included macaroni and cheese, garlic bread, potatoes in various forms, bacon and egg pie, salads piled high with eggs and leafy greens… sparkling grape juice for the children. Everyone was there.
This year, my siblings and I have grown up and we have our own Christmas plans. I’ll spend my first Christmas with my soon to be in-laws. I’ll bring a huge dish of macaroni and cheese and a more grown-up form of sparkling grape juice. They key elements will be there: family, good food and this time, I’ll be helping out in the kitchen. The men can clean up though.
About 70 years ago, on 18 November 1947, should you have been wandering down Cashel Street towards Colombo shortly before four in the afternoon, you would have seen a strange sight: Ballantynes co-owner, Kenneth Ballantyne, climbing down the parapet of his storefront. Flames all around him, he is the last to escape the Ballantynes’ fire with his life.
41 other people were not so lucky.
This Saturday will mark the 70th anniversary of the Ballantynes’ fire. If you would like to learn more about the tragic sequence of events that unfolded in 1947, Christchurch City Libraries has a digital heritage resource containing transcripts and images, among other resources, to help you paint a picture.
Photos are our glimpses of the past, and you can browse spectacular photographs taken of the Ballantynes’ fire through the following sources:
Neighbourhood week is here! 27th October to 31st March 2018. Yes, you read that correctly. This year neighbourhood week is extended for the entire summer.
Do you know who your neighbours are? I don’t know mine as well as I should like. Neighbourly relations are important yet I have, for the most part, lived according to the wise words of Robert Frost:
“Good fences make good neighbours.”
I often come home to find my cat peering out from the neighbour’s bedroom window. If he’s living the double life over there, perhaps it’s time I followed suit and got to know them better. The only thing we may share in common is a boundary fence, but chances are they will be lovely, decent and hardworking people.
Thankfully, there are plans and resources to help us all get into the neighbourly spirit this summer. As part of the ongoing effort to help people connect in with their neighbours and strengthen community foundations, a small fund has been allotted by the Christchurch City Council Community Boards to help out with the planning and running of local events. Through this, you can register a neighbourhood event of your own and receive a small grant to go towards a fun event for you local neighbours and community this summer. Look now, an excellent excuse to throw a party! How could you refuse?
You can also check out our website and events calendar – Christchurch City Libraries events are always a great way to meet new people, socialise with your locals and build connections. Things to look out for include:
The 2012/13 New Zealand Health Survey reported that one in every six New Zealanders have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder at a point in their lives. The report also highlights a link between mental illness and poor physical health: mental disorders are the third highest cause of health loss in New Zealand. Chances are, you or someone you know has suffered from mental illness at some stage.
There is a wealth of information out there on mental health. It can be difficult to separate the good advice from the bad, the relevant from the not so.
With this in mind, a team of health professionals and librarians have created the Reading in Mind scheme. The scheme has sprung from a partnership between Pegasus Health, Christchurch City Libraries, the Mental Health Education Resource Centre and HealthInfo Canterbury/Waitaha.
The Reading in Mind scheme promotes the many benefits of reading for health and well-being, and really takes the hassle and doubt of choosing reading material for mental health issues. The scheme suggests a wide range of resources – including books, audiobooks and eBooks – on various topics including alcoholism, grief and divorce. Whilst nothing can replace the sound advice from your doctor or health care professional, it is a resource which can be used to assist with managing and treating mild to moderate mental health disorders. It is suitable for all ages and backgrounds.
A picture is worth a thousand words and there are few things more mesmerising than that tradition of perusing old photograph albums.
As Hal Boyle (1971) put it:
Memory is more than a dustbin of time, stuffed with yesterday’s trash. Rather, memory is a glorious grab at the past from which one can at leisure pluck bittersweet experiences of times gone by and relive them.
Christchurch City Libraries has a wealth of digitised photography, and who doesn’t like a good trip down memory lane?
New Zealanders have been celebrating Christmas in style and with flair for many moons, so in the spirit of the season, here are some highlights from our Christmas Images collection:
Father Christmas delights Cantabrians whether arriving in his old fashioned automobile or in his blow up dinghy:
The fashion phenomenon of the onesie goes way back:
It’s approaching that time of year. After slaving away at the gym all winter long, desperate to shave those extra pounds for summer, the season of overeating is descending upon us.
The matter is not helped by the vast assortment of Christmas cooking books flying onto the shelves. Check out some of our latest Christmas entertaining and recipe books, guaranteed to convert the most headstrong Grinch among us: