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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

deck_the_halls_2007Miriam, at AnceStories, posted her first digital scrapbook page recently after reading Jasia’s post about a new Christmas Around the World digital scrapbook kit at her Creative Genealogy blog.  Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I’m posting this digital scrapbook page I made after Christmas last year.  I designed the paper and elements myself (since I also do “commercial” projects, I don’t want to have to buy licenses to use others’ kits!).  Since I do not own Photoshop and use Microsoft Digital Imaging, I had a pretty steep learning curve due to the lack of “instructions” on how to create digital elements on the web. 

Below is another digital scrapbook page I made to show off my grandson with the Christmas tree.  I didn’t add a whole lot to it as I wanted it to be very simple.

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The genea-bloggers are caroling!  footnoteMaven over at footnoteMaven will be hosting all of the carolers real soon! Please go visit her site.

For my carol, I’ve chosen “Mary, Did You Know” – the Kenny Rogers/Wynonna Judd version.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered,
will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know
your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby,
you’ve kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know,
that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding, is the great I AM.

(You can watch this video at YouTube.)  This song is on Kenny Rogers’ “The Gift” CD and was released in 1996.  It was written by Buddy Greene and Mark Lowry.  Lowry was asked by his church congregation in 1984 to write a song for Advent.  In Christianity Today, he said,

I tried to picture Mary holding the baby Jesus on the first Christmas morning and wondered what she was thinking about that child. She knew he was special—the Virgin Birth was her first clue—but could she ever imagine all the things that he would do while he was here?

Buddy Greene supplied the music for the lyrics six years later and the song was complete.  Besides Lowry and the duet of Rogers/Judd,  it’s also been recorded by about 30 artists including Rascal Flatts,  Reba McEntire and Kathleen Battle.

The first time I heard this song – several Christmases ago – I was in my room wrapping gifts, and felt such a peace settle over me as the music and lyrics touched the depth of my soul.  As a mother – and a mother of a son – I am inspired and awed by Mary.  I find myself wondering if, despite the knowledge of who and what her son was to be, she wanted to shield and protect him, just as any other mother would do.  I hear the words “baby boy”, and remember how I used to gaze at my newborn son many years ago, wondering what he was to become and knowing that there were so many opportunities for him and dreams for him to follow. 

Merry Christmas!

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Denise Olson, at Moultrie Creek is hosting the Christmas Tour of Blogs that will kick off on Dec. 15th. Genea-bloggers are encouraged to create a post describing their family’s Christmas decorations – past or present.

So sit back and enjoy my tour!

goldwreath
This is the gold wreath – made out of newspapers and painted with gold spray paint – that my mom made for our home when I was growing up.  It hung above our fireplace mantel.  On the mantel were Christmas decorations. 

 

 

60s-83This was the garland hung around the wrought iron railing by the front door.

 

 

 

 

60s-130Me in front of the Christmas tree probably about 1969-1970.  Notice the end table next to the tree has the red Christmas candles on it.  Our windows also had a single electric candle that we lit after the sun had gone down.  For a few years we even decorated the fir trees in our front yard with lights.   In the photo below, you’ll notice that our large, picture window had several of these “candles” on the sill.

 

christmastree

My first real “adult” Christmas in my own apartment included a wicker chair strung with garland and red satin balls because I was too poor to afford a Christmas tree!  The first tree I bought was in 1984 at the local Gibsons that cost $14!  It was pretty lonely looking (sort of like the tree on “A Charlie Brown Christmas”) until the lights, decorations and tinsel was put on.

We moved into our home 20 years ago, so we have had two decades of creating new and wonderful memories at Christmas time.  My husband would bring the tree and all the decorations down from the attic either the first or second weekend of December.  After setting up the tree and stringing the lights, I would hand each child one ornament at a time to place on the branches.  Of course as they grew older, they each had several of their “school” made decorations to use.  For the very first ornament, I took a picture and once the entire tree was decorated (after I hung the garland or threw the tinsel), I would position them on the floor gazing up at the tree in wonder for a photo.

christmas-looking-at-tree

Generally the only other decorations that go up are the Santa Stocking, given to our youngest daughter many years ago by some good church friends, the Christmas Wreath (it has changed only a few times in 20 years),

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and the gold “Jingle Bell” that hangs between our dining and living room.  The bell belonged to my grandparents and as a child, I loved to pull the string and hear the tune as Santa and his reindeer (on the outside) spun around it.  I was fortunate enough to end up with it many years ago.  If you look at to the upper right of the tree over the floor lamp, you can see the bell.)  My children have on occasion put lights in their bedroom windows and once I wrapped holly vines over the top of the living room arch.

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I’ve either strung regular silver garland on the tree or “thrown” tinsel on each branch.  However, the tree above (2003), I strung pearl beads as garland.  The tree to the right (2006) I draped ribbon down from the top with bows tied on each length at different intervals. (The Jingle Bell is more visible in this picture.)

We’ve had the tree in two different places in our home.  For the last ten years (at least) it has sat in this exact spot.  This tree was purchased at an after Christmas sale, many years ago for half off the sale price!  In 1999 some good friends were moving and gave us their pre-lit Christmas tree.  It had so many white lights on it that we could feel the heat as soon as we walked into the room.  Needless to say we gave it to our oldest daughter the following year and went back to using our well loved tree.

I hope you have enjoyed my tour of Christmases past and present.  And may your family have a very Merry Christmas!

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This post was written for the 62nd Carnival of Genealogy, 3 Wishes.  The topic suggests: Make a list of 3 gifts you would like to receive this holiday season from 3 of your ancestors. These have to be material things, not clues to your family history (we’re talking gifts here, not miracles!). Do you wish your great grandmother had gifted you a cameo broach? Or maybe you’d like to have the family bible from great great grandpa Joe? How about a baby doll that once belonged to your dear Aunt Sarah? This is a fantasy so you can dream up gift items. They don’t have to be actual items that you know your ancestors owned. However, they do have to be historically accurate to the time period in which your ancestor lived. Do your research. No asking for a new computer from your great grand aunt! Genea-Santa wouldn’t like that.

Dear Santa,

Could you please leave the following items under my tree:

  1. The Amore photo/scrapbook.  My Uncle Gail began this book back in the late 1960s.  The last we knew, it was in the possession of my cousin, June, who hasn’t been communicative with any of the relatives in a long time.  I believe there are pictures in there of the first Amore-Werts reunion as well as the other Amore reunions and the siblings reunions of years past.  All I want to do is scan the photos and memorabilia and then June can have it back.
  2. The box of “lost” photos.  When I was about 12, my mom and I went through a box that had lots of ancestor photos.  Some of those pictures were of “funeral” pictures (those who had died in their caskets laid out in the parlors).  When I finally had the nerve about 5 years later to look at them again, the box of photos went missing.  Try as I might, I can not locate them at my mom’s (we had moved in the mean time).  Again, if one of my relatives ended up with this box, all I want to do is scan the photos and they can have it back!
  3. DVDs of all the slides my grandparents took (I believe one of my cousins has  the slides!) and a CD of all their reel-to-reel tapes (I’m sure there are more than what my brother had in his possession) so I can see the world through their eyes via their pictures and hear their voices on more than one CD.

I’ve tried to be a very good genealogist this year!  And, Santa, I will leave you a wonderful snack so you can keep up your stamina as you visit all the other houses in the world on Christmas Eve!

Thanks so much!

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Several genea-bloggers have been playing along on a Christmas meme that Lori at Smoky Mountain Family Historian found. So I’ll bite!

Wrapping paper or gift bags?   Wrapping Paper (I only use bags for showers or birthdays).

Real tree or Artificial? – Artificial. I think it’s much safer plus I kill any live plants!

When do you put up the tree? Last couple years it has been Thanksgiving weekend because my oldest daughter has been here to help.  In the past it was usually around the 10th of December.

When do you take the tree down? New Years or a couple days later – sometimes we leave it up until Epiphany.

Do you like eggnog? Yes but since I don’t consume eggs (or try not to) anymore – I haven’t had any in 2 years!

Favorite gift received as a child?  A special doll I had requested.

Hardest person to buy for?  People who won’t give me their Christmas lists!

Easiest person to buy for? My grandsons.

Do you have a nativity scene? Yes – I got it for Christmas several years ago & it has sat on top of the TV set (it’s real small) all year round ever since!

Mail or email Christmas cards? I send them in the mail & then email my “letter” to people I don’t have a mailing address for or distant genealogy cousins!

Worst Christmas gift you ever received?  I’m a firm believer that it’s the thought that counts so I don’t consider anything the “worst”.

Favorite Christmas Movie?  It’s a Wonderful Life.

When do you start shopping for Christmas?  Sometime after Thanksgiving and before Christmas Eve!

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No.

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?  Cookies and Butterscotch Pie if I make it.  This year it will be Wing Stop wings on Christmas Eve after church.

Lights on the tree? You bet!

Favorite Christmas song?  Mary, Did You Know (Kenny Rogers/Wynonna Judd), Silent Night, The First Noel (sorry can’t pick just one!)

Travel at Christmas or stay home?  As long as Santa visits our house, we stay at home! 

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?  Yes.

Angel on the tree top or a star? We have an Angel but at one time I put a great big red velvet bow & my family thought I was nuts so we don’t do that anymore.  My mom put white doves on the top of her tree.

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Always Christmas morning – after the family sits down to eat breakfast.  My husband has had me open things on Christmas Eve but I prefer the next morning.

Most annoying thing about this time of the year?  The cold weather & people who take their kids to the store to shop for Christmas – especially when they allow said children to play with every single toy & then leave them in the aisles. 

Favorite ornament theme or color? I always said that someday I would do a theme but haven’t done that. Instead I’m doing the “sepia” or old fashioned ribbon & bows to drape on the tree.

Favorite for Christmas dinner?  Turkey dinner & all the stuff that goes with it.

What do you want for Christmas this year?  Good health for everyone & a prosperous new year coming up.  And a David Cook CD would be nice!

Julie also added a question: 

What is your favorite thing about the holidays?  The Spirit of the Season.  After Christmas Eve church service the family convening at our house for “appetizer” dinner, reading the Night Before Christmas to the children (even the adult children!) and the Nativity Story and then waiting on Santa to arrive!

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This post was written on July 13, 2008 and has been updated for the 61st Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy!

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines Tradition as: 1 a: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom) b: a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction3: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions4: characteristic manner, method, or style <in the best liberal tradition>”  It is Synonomous with: convention, custom.  Related words include: ethic, form, mode, mores, norm, values; birthright, inheritance, legacy; folklore, lore, superstition; culture, heritage, lifestyle.

Many families have passed down traditions such as:

  • A family story that has been told to each generation.
  • A custom associated with an event (wedding, holiday, birth, etc.)
  • An heirloom that has a certain function at a certain time.

There are many others.  As you’ve accumulated information about your ancestors and distant relatives, what traditions – or customs – have you found AND recorded?  In small towns or villages in Germany there is a wedding custom of “kidnapping the bride”.  German Wedding Traditions list this tradition as: “kidnap the bride and the groom has to find her. Normally, he has to search in a lot of pubs and invite all people in there (or pay the whole bill). Sometimes this ritual ends badly.”  Irish Wedding Traditions mentions that “An old Irish tradition calls for the wedding couple to walk to the church together before exchanging their wedding vows. As they walk down the main street to the chapel, onlookers would not only throw rice to bless the marriage, but larger items as well, such as pots and pans.”  Holiday Traditions – England mentions that “The day after Christmas is known in Britain as Boxing Day, which takes its name from a former custom of giving a Christmas Box – a gift of money or food inside a box – to the deliverymen and tradespeople who called regularly during the year. This tradition survives in the custom of tipping the milkman, postman, dustmen and other callers of good service at Christmas time.”  And in America, we know that the tradition on July 4th is to view fireworks as a celebration of our Independence.

Yet, sometimes it’s the unusual traditions that tell us more about our ancestors.  We may learn important things about their character, their financial situation, their environment or even why a tradition changed.

My family has the usual traditions:

  • Christmas Eve meant going to services at church and coming home to await Santa Claus’ visit.  How it evolved – when my own children were small, we’d go look at Christmas lights after church and then come home to a “finger food/appetizer” type of meal.  Afterwards I read “The Night Before Christmas” and the Biblical Nativity story.  Then to bed for the kids!
  • Memorial Day was the first day my grandfather bought a watermelon and we’d have a picnic.  How it evolved – with both of us working, most of the time Memorial Day is just a Monday we are off work and take a moment of reflection to honor and remember those who gave their lives or a part of their time to serve our country.
  • July 4th – we’d go to parades and then watch fireworks.  How it evolved – if we are at my in-laws’ in Missouri (where it is legal to shoot fireworks) – they are being popped all day long!  If we are at home, it means our big church ice cream social and watching the fireworks from the parking lot (which has a great view!).pb270363
  • Thanksgiving – a large family dinner, watching a football game, and the men sleeping.  How it evolved – not much!  Except sometimes even Mom gets to nap!
  • New Years Day – we would have roast beef or roast pork and watch the parades as soon as they began in the morning and then the Rose Bowl Game (especially when Ohio State was playing!)  How it evolved – since I live in Texas and am now required (since I’m in the south) to cook black eyed peas, I fix a big pot of them with cornbread and ham.  Sometimes I’ll have pork and sauerkraut too (just to cover my northern roots!).  Only the grandson really watches the parades and when was the last time Ohio State was in the Rose Bowl?  There’s no more Cotton Bowl parade (which is pretty local!).  Generally the Christmas Tree is being taken down as well.christmas-looking-at-tree
  • Putting up the Christmas Tree – I really don’t remember much traditions associated with this except I loved to hang these ornaments of my mom’s that looked like huge, red teardrop earrings and I was allowed to hang the ornaments I’d made.  I enjoyed watching my mom decorate our house more than anything.  How it evolved – I don’t have a lot of stuff to decorate the house (because that would mean having a place to store it afterwards!) – but when the kids were little, I’d take a picture as each child put their first ornament on the tree and then take a picture of all four of them gazing with wonder at the lit, decorated tree.  It’s evolved even more – now my husband puts the tree up, he and the youngest daughter put the lights on & everyone haves at it putting the ornaments on while I just watch.  I get to put on the garland – sometimes strands of beads, other times I “throw” the tinsel, and the last couple years it has been ribbons.  But I undecorate it so I can put all the ornaments back into their rightful places.
  • Birthdays – it was “your” day.  Mom would make me a devil’s food cake with homemade chocolate icing and I got to lick the bowl afterwards.  Sometimes there were friends and other times it was just family (having a birthday right by Thanksgiving can sometimes cause problems).  I usually picked my favorite meal and we had the birthday song, blowing out the candles, and opening gifts.  How it evolved – sometimes I make the cake and sometimes I buy it.  It’s still the child’s “day” and is special.  They request what they want for dinner and the type of cake. 
  • Weddings – something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  Not evolved – still the same!
  • Easter – getting dressed up in a little more than Sunday best with new clothes, new patent leather shoes with a new hat and gloves and an Easter Basket on the end of the bed when I woke up.  How it evolved – the Easter Bunny leaves the baskets on the kitchen table.  New clothes and still attending Easter services (no hat or gloves though!).  A big dinner at mid-day (which is one of the few Sundays I even cook – see below!)
  • Sunday Dinner – my mother never fixed a regular evening meal on Sundays.  As a kid, she always fixed a big lunch but dinner – you were on your own.  That was sort of nice – ice cream, a big bowl of popcorn, peanut butter on a spoon right of the jar (see “food” traditions below), a bowl of cereal, etc.  How it evolved – Mom still doesn’t fix an evening meal on Sundays and neither do I!
  • Food Traditions – my dad is the one we “blame” for most of these.  Pepper on cottage cheese; chocolate cake (no other flavor) in a bowl of milk; peanut butter on a spoon; fried baloney; tobasco sauce on everything (my sister does that but I don’t!); sardines; slim jims, beef sticks or hot sausages (the kind you find at bars!); steak once a week (yeah, I don’t get that as often anymore!); pepper on everything; bleu cheese or roquefort salad dressing.andy
  • Taking pictures of other people taking pictures!  (See Unusual Photos – that I posted back on June 23, 2008)
  • Singing a very long and convoluted version of “I Found a Peanut” when we go on vacation as well as “100 Bottles of Beer”.
  • Going through all the photo albums at my mom’s when we are visiting – each time we are there, all the albums come out.  I was even able to show my sister some photo albums she hadn’t seen before!
  • When all four of the kids are home we watch two or three of their musical videos taken when they were all in church musicals years ago.

So what have you learned from your ancestors?  Please share your family’s traditions – either in the comments section or on your own blog.  Please provide me the link so I can send others to read your post!

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There has been a meme going around the genealogy blogs, started by Lori Thornton of Smoky Mountain Family History about long gone stores of yesteryear.  I’ve read a few of them and it sparked my own memories of the shops we’d go to in downtown Dayton.

Those were the days of department stores where each department was located on a different floor.  I remember the escalator rides.  Most notably as a child we went to Rike’s (photo courtesy of Preservation Dayton) – which no longer exists – and Elder-Beerman.  Sometimes JC Penney’s.

Wright State University Libraries page notes that the seven story building was built in 1912 on the corner of Main and Second Streets in Dayton, Ohio. In 1982 Rike’s merged with Shilito’s and became Shilito-Rikes. In 1986 the company became Lazarus. The building in Dayton was imploded to make way for the Schuster.

We would start on the ground floor and ride up.  I remember the “white” floor.  Nothing but linens, sheets, and draperies.  Ninety-nine percent of the merchandise was white.  Heavy linens.  Not sure why that image is stuck in my head.

At Christmas we would park in a convenient parking garage and walk the sidewalks of downtown Dayton until we’d get to one of the stores.  Up we’d go until we’d get to Santa’s Wonderland.  Beautiful displays of mechanical boys, girls, elves, and reindeer were set up.  There was a children’s puppet show and then finally, the big man himself – Santa Claus – would appear.  All of the children would line up to tell him what we wanted for Christmas and get the annual Photo with Santa taken! 

Whenever my mother needed a store-bought new dress, I remember the dressing rooms with their very heavy curtains (not doors). I’d sit and wait patiently in the “viewing” room until she’d come out and stand in front of the bank of mirrors to check the fit. Those were the days when the sales ladies would bring clothes into the dressing rooms for you or take them away instead of leaving them on a rack somewhere. They’d also help you dress. Very specialized and personal service.

Then there were the stores closer to where we lived.  Going to Kresge’s 5 and 10 cent store was a weekly occurrence. It was like Woolworth’s. Rows and rows of discount items. I loved to look at all the toys and dolls and wander over to the pet department where they really had fish and birds. I saw a mynah bird in Kresge’s once for $15 (hey it was the late 60s!) and begged my mom to buy it! I was a huge fan of “Bewitched” and loved the mynah bird on that show. Plus it talked! She didn’t get it for me!

Then there was Goldman’s in Kettering. It was a predecessor to stores like K-mart and Wal-Mart. In the early 1970s a young school teacher was murdered and they found her in her car that was parked in Goldman’s parking lot. (There was a book written about it called “The Girl on the Volkswagon Floor” written by William Arthur Clark). We’d go there about once a month to look.

My dad was a huge window shopper. We’d go shopping just because. Mom hated it! If she goes shopping, it’s for a reason.

I’d also find myself with my dad in Hardware stores. This was before the big box home improvement stores. The only things that really fascinated me were the bins of screws, nuts and bolts. They were all so shiny!

After I learned to ride my bike – before the era of “stranger danger” – when kids could ride for miles and had to be home by dark, my friends and I would look for glass bottles to turn in for cash (remember those days?) so we could hit Lawson’s (a convenience type store) for candy. Nickel Hershey bars and yard-long bubble gum!

As a dependent of an Air Force veteran, we also shopped at the BX (Base Exchange) – sometimes called the PX (Post Exchange). I remember getting my penny loafers there almost every year.

It seemed that no matter what type of store we went to, the cash registers were all in the front of the store. So as the way shops did business and became more “modern”, I thought it was very odd finding cash registers within the departments of stores instead of located all together.

As I was compiling this, I had to Google several things to make sure my memory was correct and came across a website called Dayton in the 60s and 70s with many references to stores and sights I remember in the Dayton area from my childhood.

Thanks for a trip down memory lane!

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