Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 7 - Holiday Parties

Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

No parties here ~ but please come back tomorrow because we always had a party decorating those Christmas cookies!!

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 6 - Santa Claus

Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

I'm not sure I understand the last part of the prompt, "Do you still believe in Santa Claus?"  I mean it's not a question of belief - it's an obvious fact!!

I did receive a call from Santa once.  I think I was about 4 or 5 and all I really remember about it is that Santa Claus sounded quite a lot like my Grandpa Ritchie, but again, Santa is just magical like that - he can do anything he wants!

As for letters, I don't ever remember writing one - I'll have to ask my Mom about that.  It  seems sort of redundant to me ~ Santa Claus knows if you've been good or bad so of COURSE he knows what you want.  And besides, I sat on his lap at the mall and told him.  Somehow he didn't seem as happy about it as when I was younger....

Somewhere I have a picture of my dad dressed up as Santa and kissing my Mom - we all LOVED the song, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"  I should have been more prepared for some of these posts - I'll need to dig that picture out. 

I can't believe I almost forgot the BEST Santa story ever - my youngest sister was 7 years old and we were still playing Santa up big time...leaving out cookies etc.  (she was MUCH younger as she likes to say - I was 15 and my other sister was 13 at the time)  After Christmas I was coloring with her (in her new Strawberry Shortcake coloring book!) and she said to me in this very confidential tone, "I know that Santa Claus isn't real, but don't tell Mommy and Daddy I know - it would spoil it for them"  I has SUCH a hard time keeping a straight face!!!  I just made some non-committal noises and kept on coloring. 

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 4 – Christmas Cards

Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors?

I almost skipped this day, because my family was never much for sending out Christmas cards.  My mother has always been a school teacher and there just wasn't enough time for composing those Christmas letters and addressing cards.  Also, as my Mom herself is first to admit, she was never much into letter writing!

But as I was sorting through a scrapbook I happened upon a publication sent in December, 1961 by People's Federal Bank in Wooster, Ohio.  It was full of various things (apparently my grandmother or grandfather saved it for a house plan it contained) and there was a whole spread detailing the history of Christmas cards so I thought I'd share that for today.  Also, the cover was very cute!

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 3 - Christmas Tree Ornaments

Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?

 I don't remember any real heirloom ornaments.  There was nothing that had been passed down from previous generations that we put on the tree.  I do remember that we had some favorites though, and my sister and I would try to grab our favorites to hang on the tree.  Yes - competition even at Christmas time!

One year, when we were all grown up and my younger sister was either first married or engaged we came up with the great idea that we were all going to MAKE Christmas tree ornaments.  Each person (I think this was my parents, sister and husband and I) was to make 5 ornaments of whatever kind they chose and then keep one and give one to each of the other people so we would each end up with all 5 different kinds of ornaments.  I have no idea WHY we thought we each would need our own separate stash of ornaments - we usually only had 2 trees...one at Mom and Dad's and one at my sister's house.  Anyway, we thought this was a great idea for some reason.

As it turned out I only remember that my brother-in-law and I completed the task. He hand painted hollow eggshells and somehow managed to attach something to the top to hang them.  I crocheted snowflakes and put silver glitter on them.  I totally forget what the others started (or planned.)  Needless to say, that "tradition" didn't make it past the first year!!  We do still have the eggs and snowflakes.  I'm going to try and get a picture of them from my sister to add here.

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Dec 2 - Holiday Foods

Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

There is one special things that we always had at Christmas which I've never known anyone else to have.  As a matter of fact when I tell people one of the ingredients they usually look at me like I'm making it up!   It sounds simple enough - it's just a fruit cup with grapefruit, oranges, grapes and sugar.  It's the grapes that make it something rather unique.  For some reason, the grapes that were traditionally used were the kind that had seeds.  Before they could go into the fruit cup the grapes had to be PEELED and then cut in half and the seeds had to be removed.  It's the PEELED part that always causes the stares of disbelief!

Many years when I was a child I helped with that particular task.  I'd have to stopped multiple times and wash my hands and arms as I seemed to get sticky from about the fingertips to the elbows on both hands.  It would take forever to peel the required number of grapes!

This delicacy was particular to my Mom's side of the family.  It was always consumed right before Christmas dinner and was always, at least for the adults, served in an ornate crystal goblet.  For those of us kids who liked this concoction, we usually were served in plastic glasses!

In later years, as everyone started going to less labor intensive holidays, sometimes the person in charge of fixing this would use seedless grapes and NOT PEEL THEM!  We all agreed that peeling grapes was probably rather silly, but it just never tasted the same - or as good - unless the grapes were peeled.

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Please stop over to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ The Christmas Tree

When I was growing up we always had a "real" Christmas tree and felt only pity for those poor souls who thought that an artificial tree was good enough.  As might be evident from the picture here, a real tree was certainly not always a perfect tree!!

One thing I remember about our Christmas trees is that we always put them up on two orange crates covered with a white sheet.  I guess that was to make room for the presents under the tree.  My sister still has a couple of those old orange crates even though they are no longer used for the Christmas tree.

There were a number of my relatives that were total heathens in respect to the "real" Christmas tree idea.  My mother's parents for some years had a tree that I believe was a very early forerunner of today's fiber optic tree.  The catch was that this tree had to have a revolving color wheel to supply the ever-changing colors.  I'm sure that anyone my age remembers these!

I don't remember how many years my grandparents had this type of tree, but I do remember being told by my parents not to get to close - they were always afraid we were going to knock it over.

In later years I remember my grandparents having a little (artificial) tree that they just set up on a table - which still seemed so WRONG to me as a child.  As an adult I have a little more sympathy for the ease of the artificial tree. I will even admit to having a fiber optic tree in my house - but it's only the secondary tree down in the lower level.  The upstairs still gets a BIG tree!