In his letter of November 24th, Cec was thinking a month ahead, worrying that his Christmas cards, which he’d ordered made up with a photo of his Cambridge College, St. John’s, were going to be late for mailing overseas to friends and family in Canada. At that time he was not sure where he was going to spend Christmas- with friends in Oxford, or with Cyn and her mother in Cambridge. Perhaps he visited Oxford later that season, but in the end he spent Christmas with Cyn and Carol.
Now present-giving was important to Cynthia, as her organized record of those given and received shows. What she remembered of that first Christmas with Cec was the pile of presents under the Christmas tree for the three of them, Cyn, Carol, and Cec: handing them round, opening the latest Agatha Christie hardback from Cec with great appreciation, and- not finding any more from him! (Families have different traditions, and the Costain family- a prairie farmer’s family with five children- obviously gave fewer Christmas presents per child than Cyn, an only child, was used to.) Her main present to Cec was a wooden shield in relief of the Coat of Arms of St. John’s College, which I remember hanging on the wall of our home with the framed antique maps they had bought themselves in Cambridge.
This Christmas there were not as many food parcels from America as there had been the year before, but Auntie Moo had sent a Christmas cake from the West Indies, and Cec was getting food parcels from his family, so we can assume they had treats!