Christmas and Deceased Relatives

This is post #22 for the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

I don’t have any traditions to report regarding formal remembrances of deceased family members during the holidays. However, just by being around family on Christmas, we often reminisce about Christmases past and those who are no longer with us. I have plenty of holiday memories of my mom, dad and grandma and I think of them often during this time of year.

This year, I’ll be taking several new scrapbooks I’ve made recently on my trips to see family — that will be a nice way to trigger memories to share.


Christmas Music

This is post #21 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

I admit it. When not listening to audiobooks on my commute during the Christmas season, I’m tuned in to one of the DC/Baltimore radio stations that play only Christmas music. Usually grinning as they play one of my faves.

I prefer the oldies-but-goodies — sung by the likes of Burl Ives and Nat King Cole. I also like the more recent, humorous ones like “Crabs for Christmas” and “The 12 Things at Christmas that are Such a Pain to Me.” However, I can only enjoy the latter in small doses.

My absolute favorite Christmas music is probably that performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio for the “A Charlie Brown Christmas” special.

Growing up, I had several Christmas records that I enjoyed listening to. One featured “Frosty the Snowman” and another that I remember clearly had songs sung by a boys’ choir. I have my mom’s four-CD set “Joy to the World” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I’ve never been caroling, but I do remember a group of neighbors doing so when I was little. It was neat when they visited our house.

Bonus Xmas Memories

I’m watching “Home Alone” as I write this. I remember going to see it in the theaters back in 1990 with my mom and my best friend, Heather. Heather and I were freshmen in high school at the time.

I love this movie for many reasons. It’s funny and clever; it includes all the fantasies (and fears) kids have about being on their own (eating junk, sledding down the stairs*, etc.). I also love this movie because it reminds me of my mom.

I don’t remember during which scene my mom pulled this (maybe Heather will), but at some point, my mom anticipated the climax of a particularly scary moment in the movie. Just at the right moment, she grabbed my arm and gasped, “Boo!”

Of course, I jumped and cried out, much to the amusement of Heather. I was embarassed at the time, but it’s a fun memory for me now.

*I did sled down the stairs of my house in either middle school or high school (Heather can probably confirm the timing on this too). I improvised a sled using a very slipper sleeping bag. And lived to tell about it.

Christmas Shopping

This is post #19 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

I’ve always loved Christmas shopping and always try to put thought into the gifts I buy for people. At my elementary school, they would hold a craft fair with many inexpensive gifts — I remember shopping for my grandma there one year. As I reached middle-school age, I remember being let loose in the mall with my best friend.

My mom was the consummate catalog shopper and many L.L. Bean, Land’s End and other catalog faves could be found under our tree each year.

I’ve had many an Amazon Christmas. I tried to scale back on that this year and shopped more locally — I even trekked to a local bison farm for bison wool yarn for one of my knitting friends. Of course, many friends and fam have or will receive scrapbooking and photo-related gifts from Creative Memories this year (no surprise there!).

Blog Caroling: Good King Wenceslas

“Good King Wenceslas” is one of the first tunes I learned to play on the piano — it’s not very popular on the radio, but it’s a sentimental favorite.

“Good King Wenceslas last looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night, tho’ the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath’ring winter fuel.

“Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know’st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

“Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.”
Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;
Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.

“Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, good my page. Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage freeze thy blood less coldly.”

In his master’s steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.”

Treasure Chest Thursday: Little Golden Rudolph

I was an avid reader as a kid and loved a lot of the stories around Christmas. I still have this Little Golden Book version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I remember having a storybook for Twas the Night Before Christmas. I also enjoyed reading the various Christmas stories in book series like Little House on the Prairie.

This is post #17 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Christmas at School

This is post #16 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

I remember the days leading up to Christmas during my grade school years as being akin to those before summer break — absolutely no substantial learning took place. There were gifts for the teacher and classroom parties. I’m sure it’s no easy feat to hold the attention of fidgety 5- to 11-year-olds in either scenario, so I certainly do not blame the teachers.

I remember sitting inside toasty classrooms, making construction paper Santas with cotton-ball beards. I remember doing word finds and other games that revolved around the holidays. I remember singing many a carol, at least during my K-4th grade days (Catholic school). I don’t remember taking part in any Christmas pageants, strangely enough.