Trail library kids circa 1981. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail library kids circa 1981. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: Countdown to Christmas

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

With only 10 days left until Christmas — the countdown for Santa Claus is on.

These library kids from 1981 looked just as excited to see Old St. Nick as we are in 2022.

This photo was taken in the “old” Trail and District Public Library, which was housed in the Trail Memorial Centre until early 2018. Now in the Riverfront Centre, the library shares the building with the Trail Museum and Archives.

“We at the archives are front and center of the Santa excitement due to our proximity to the library,” says archivist Addison Oberg.“Needless to say, we are thrilled about this!”

Oberg encourages the community to check out all the great winter programs the library is hosting by visiting:

Musings of Christmas 1981

A quick internet search of “Christmas 1981” brought up some headlines that describe an economically dark year,

The first story that popped up is a Dec. 25 piece from the Washington Post, headlined “Christmas 1981: A Time of Fear.”

The writer says for hundreds of thousands of American workers, Christmas 1981 is a time of fear.

“Since October, nearly half a million workers have been added to the unemployment rolls with most of the rise accounted for by workers who lost their jobs because of layoffs—many of them permanently. Today more than 9 million are unemployed, the highest number since the waning days of the Great Depression. And most economists now expect the situation to get worse in the months ahead.”

In 1981, Ronald Reagan was in his first year as U.S. president and Joe Biden was a member of the senate judiciary committee.

Interestingly, a google search of “Europe” and “Christmas 1981” brought up this gem.

“Christmas 1981 Heralded The Collapse Of Communism In Poland.”

Forty years ago, Soviet communists tried to turn out the lights. But like a candle in the White House window, Ronald Reagan and John Paul II and the people of Poland kept a flicker of hope alive. This article can be found at:

Finally, include “Canada” in the search and the first story that pops up is “Christmas Tree” 1981 stamps costing 15 cents.

Then include “business” in the search and what pops up is a December 1981 archived story from Macleans titled, “The crunch that stole Christmas.”

Thomas Hopkins writes, “Shoppers elbowing their way through crowds in the underground canyons of Vancouver’s Pacific Centre Mall or Montreal’s Place Ville Marie may find the idea of a listless Christmas retailing season unlikely. But big city bright spots aside, high interest rates and tumbling consumer confidence have conspired to make this December’s buying festival at best mediocre and at worst a Christmas turkey for retailers across Canada. Last week, merchandisers who count on generating about 25 per cent of annual sales and up to 50 per cent of total profits in the frantic last quarter of the year could only adopt a cheerful stance toward what has so far been a disappointment … A soft economy produced a four-per-cent drop in the third quarter gross national product. While Canadian retailing has ridden out bad times before, the new worry this year is the consumer’s ravaged personal balance sheet. With stock market and house values falling, especially in the once buoyant West, retailers fear consumers will be stuffing Christmas socks with savings and not with gifts.”

Of note, in 1981 Pierre Trudeau was Canada’s Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was exactly 10 years old on Christmas Day 1981; his day of birth is Dec. 25, 1971.

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