We had a sermon and Mass; and after the sermon we gave the priest an offertory, according to ancient custom. A little morbid for the holiday season — but an interesting fact nonetheless! The parade continues to this day, though now it is in the care of Manitoba Hydro. It was published in in Punch magazine. Lots of snow indeed. You can read the full poem here. He picks up his fuzzy treasure, describes what the bear is wearing - a green sweater with "Punkinhead" stitched on the front and red stripes around the cuffs and bottom - and then reads a long attached poem that supposedly comes from the little bear's grandmother.
To say Punkinhead took off is an understatement. He was featured in a story about the little bear who ends up leading the parade and in a dozen other little books.
There were Eaton's-sponsored radio programs featuring both Santa and his little bear friend. Kids wore Punkinhead watches, toques, mittens.
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They ate out of Punkinhead bowls and drank from Punkinhead mugs. There was Punkinhead furniture - rocking horses, chairs - and even an official Punkinhead song.
He does, however, remember other things, in particular the close connection between the family business and the business of Santa Claus. Eaton and his brothers would stand with their father as the parade made its annual "pilgrimage" to the Toronto Queen Street store. The last float, the one with Santa, and later also with Punkinhead, would pull up behind on a side street that no longer exists, and Santa would then enter the main store through a window.
Eaton' and our father would say, 'Hello, Santa - here are my sons.
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The scenario would be repeated at the other major Eaton's stores in Montreal and Winnipeg, but the young Eatons would greet Santa just at the Toronto main store. For years they believed not only that he was the real Santa Claus but that he had chosen the Eaton family store as the logical place to launch each Christmas season.
The link was so strong - Santa arriving at the Queen Street store to launch the shopping season, the magically animated store windows, kids all over the country cutting their wishes out of the Eaton's catalogue to paste on refrigerators and hope that a parent might take the hint, long lineups of kids to sit on Santa's knee and be handed a Punkinhead book by the famous little bear himself - that it seems impossible to Fred Eaton that such innocence has somehow become so controversial.
Each winter, it seems, there are more and more politically correct absurdities to add to the list:.
In Ottawa, the gradesand-3 Elmdale Public School choir drops the word "Christmas" from a carol and replaced the word with "festive" so as not to offend anyone. Nick is shouting out street slang for "whore. In Washington, the United States Surgeon General, apparently concerned about rising obesity, slags Santa for being a lousy role model with his pot belly and fat cheeks.
Each December, he and old friends will gather in a private Toronto club where they get as politically incorrect as they wish in the lead-up to the big day. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Performer unidentified, T. Royal Art Pottery, England. Date unknown. Greer, The World Encyclopedia of Christmas. Canadian Living, Date unknown: Punkinhead The Sad Little Bear, 8.
Punkinhead The Sad Little Bear.
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Punkinhead in Animal Valley. Eaton Co. Punkinhead and the Clock that Fell Asleep.