Posted in Family History

Advent Calendar Memories–Christmas Sweetheart Memories

Do you have a special memory of a first Christmas present from a sweetheart? How did you spend your first Christmas together? Any Christmas engagements or weddings among your ancestors?

Thirty-three years ago my family changed the date of Christmas.  My future husband was going back East to visit his folks and my mother and younger sister were not coming into town until after the holidays.  My twin sister and I lived  in San Francisco at the time.  She and I made most of the decorations for my little tree that year.  It was my first Christmas in my new apartment.  Since everyone couldn’t be there on the 25th we decided to have Christmas on January 7th.  So no gifts were opened and we all waited and got together that day.  We had a great late Christmas…lots of food, drink and presents.

Later that evening, my soon to be husband, proposed to me.  I kept saying “Are you serious?” several times.  When I finally realized that he was serious…I accepted!  We continued the celebration on into the night!  What a wonderful Christmas present!  Thirty-three years later we are still together!





Posted in Advent Calendar - Genealogy, Family History

Advent Calendar Memories–Christmas Music

What songs did your family listen to during Christmas? Did you ever go caroling? Did you have a favorite song?

Mahalia Jackson…she is my most vivid memory of Christmas music in our house.  I don’t know where my parents got the album but it was played every Christmas.  One of those old LP albums, that my son calls “those big CDs”!  For me it’s just not Christmas without Mahalia!  My sister kept that album and transferred it on to her computer.  She made me a CD of it and now every year in my house we play that album.  My favorite song is Sweet Little Jesus Boy.  Nobody can sing it like Mahalia!


Posted in Family History

This is a post I did back in January…but it definitely indicates one of my most cherished Christmas Gifts.

Kathi O'Neill Genealogy

One of my most cherished possessions is a child-sized ring and bracelet that my grandfather gave me when I was merely a baby, over 56 years ago.  They are both so tiny and precious.  Made from silver with small little turquoise stones embedded. We were his first granddaughters and he wanted to mark the occasion appropriately.  I am sure that I was only able to wear them for a short time as I was growing up.  My mother had kept these mementos until she finally gave both my sister and I our individual set of jewelry.

This picture is the first time my grandfather saw my sister and I.  It was also when he gave us our rings and bracelets.  Now before you start leaving comments…yes, I am a twin.  I believe in this picture I am the one looking up at my grandfather.  (At least that’s what my mother told me!)  My sister…

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Posted in Advent Calendar - Genealogy

Advent Calendar Memories – 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 know I must have sent a letter or two to Santa when I was young.  I know we visited Santa a few times too.  No pictures exist, as far as I am aware. I remember when we lived in El Paso, our house did not have a fireplace…boy we used to worry a lot about how Santa was going to get in to leave us our presents!

Visiting Santa was always something fun that we did with our son, Graham.  He attended the same preschool and after school program for many years when he was young.  The best part was that the same gentleman played Santa every year. He had a real white beard and mustache, too.  My son grew up believing that this guy really had to be Santa because he saw him every year!

Santa and Graham (age 5)


Posted in Advent Calendar - Genealogy

Advent Calendar Memories – Outdoor Decorations

Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

When I was growing up in the 60’s I remember we always selected one night before the holiday and would drive around the city looking at all the lights that people had on their houses.  I know my Mom particularly liked it when a neighborhood of houses all had luminarias lit.

Christmas 1960 – El Paso, Tx

Each year, my Mom would decorate our windows.  When we lived in El Paso, Texas we only had one picture window.  My mom would make a stencil out of newspaper of a particular scene she wanted to use that year.  She taped the stencil to the window and then used that spray snow to decorate. This picture gives you an idea of how it looked.  That’s my younger sister (Karen) and I out on Christmas Day dressed up for church.  Those are our large stuffed animals that Santa brought us that year.

1968 – Denver, Co

When we moved to Denver, Colorado, my Mom had a larger canvas to work with…

What you can’t see in this picture is another angel on a window to the right and then to the left were three wise men on the living room windows!  (I know there is a picture around here somewhere…but can’t seem to put my hands on it right now!)