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Throwback Thursday: In 1981, we polled Canadian celebs for their most memorable gifts

What do you give the people who have everything? According to well-known Canucks—like Wayne Gretzky, John Candy, and Liona Boyd—the best presents are the meaningful ones.

christmas book of lists[1]

The issue: December 1981

The times: American Elizabeth Jordan Carr becomes the first baby born as a result of in vitro fertilization; Spain is accepted into NATO; Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor separate for the second time.

The roundup: Canadian celebrities’ most memorable Christmas gifts. We at Chatelaine are no strangers to a holiday gift guide, but for our December 1981 issue, we decided to ask 21 big-name Canucks about past presents that held a special place in their hearts. Knowlton Nash, one-time host of CBC’s The National, vividly recalled a powder-blue parka he received from his mom and dad and wore on many a date; funnyman John Candy spoke fondly of his toy guns (of the ray and pump varieties); and Burton Cummings, lead singer of The Guess Who told us of the super-Canadian aluminum toboggan his grandmother gave him, saying it “really blew him away.” And, perhaps as a bit of foreshadowing, a blond-mulleted all-star centre for the Edmonton Oilers—one Wayne Gretzky—raved about a hockey net he was gifted with at age eight. He took shots on that empty net for seven hours a day. So no pressure at the mall this weekend, everyone, but as you can see, one well-chosen gift can have a quite a lasting impact. 

Every Thursday, we bring you selections from our archive of 86 years of Chatelaine, featuring weird and wonderful recipes, vintage fashion and décor, and stories that still resonate today. 

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