Yes, Virginia, on more than one occasion Chelsea Chrismas, a university student and yoga instructor, has been asked if her middle name is Mary. At which point she replies that, in actuality, she had a great-grandmother named Mary Chrismas.
Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free PressBarb (left) and daughter Chelsea Chrismas.
“The look on their face is priceless, mostly in disbelief.” Chrismas remembers being kidded about her surname as far back as grade school, but not so much by her fellow students.
“Many more of the teachers made jokes about my last name than my schoolmates,” she says. “An ongoing joke was ‘Oh, looks like Christmas came early this year.’”
Chrismas says she and her parents haven’t done much research on the origin of their festive family name, but she is in possession of an old article from the Minnedosa Tribune about her great-grandfather Walter Elliot Chrismas, a preacher who became known as Father Christmas, after he immigrated to Manitoba from England in 1892.
“We have another article about my grandfather Doug Chrismas who made a joke of riding a turkey to the office every day, to work off the fat,” she says, adding there’s a definite advantage to having the last name Chrismas.
“At our house, every dinner is Chrismas dinner.”
My wonderful daughter Brandi, co-authored this article with me. I am proud of her.
From the Chief Editors’s forward to the journal issue:
“This issue of the Journal features our youngest contributor to date, as 22-year old Brandi co-authors with her father Robert their inter-generational perspectives to the question, “What are we doing to protect newcomer youth in Canada, and help them succeed?” (Chrismas & Chrismas, 2017). Here is another two-generation policing family potentially in the making, and one that might exemplify the evidence-based policing culture of the future. The younger is completing her undergraduate degree in criminology and hopes to begin a policing career soon after. The older is a 28-year veteran of the Winnipeg Police Service, who just last month earned his PhD in Peace and Conflict studies.
The younger also offers us some hopeful projections on the next 50 years with, “I think we are growing out of racism and sexism, so that is a good thing. We are not quite there yet, but now police agencies have a larger percentage of female leaders and racism is becoming unacceptable in the public discourse. This, I believe has changed a lot over the past 20 years.” At the same time, she cautions that perceptions of police culture among the public may not yet realize on this ideal, and that “mainstream and social media representations of the police hold the potential to enhance or deteriorate those perceptions” (B. Chrismas, personal correspondence, October 17, 2017).
If this young author is correct, we face some important questions. Whatever comes to define our society as a whole in the next half-century, our place within it and our influences upon it are already being formed by the choices we make and the actions we demonstrate today and in the years ahead. Will we chart a determined course? And, are we prepared to guide our own relationship with Canadians—all Canadians?”