Archive for December 10th, 2009
by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 10, 2009
Thanks to Thomas MacEntee for today’s Christmas Advent Calendar Challenge!
What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give? Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?
Today’s prompt is a tie-in with the Smile for the Camera carnival at Shades of the Departed.
What were my favorite gifts? To receive or to give? Hmmm…
There are several empty places in my family’s circle now, so my Christmas memories are tinged with sorrow as well as joy because I miss those people very much, but there were several gifts that were fun to give, and I remember some I received that gave my little heart joy!
Stick Horses and Cowboy Outfits!
After my nephews came along, most Christmases my folks bought us all something quite similar, and one Christmas when we were all little stair steps, me about seven, and them five and two, we were given the stick horses with the plastic heads and the cowboy and cowgirl outfits to go along with it!
Because we watched Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, HopAlong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, and the Cisco Kid on tv every week we were well-versed in the bang-bang-shoot-em-up outdoor play that included galloping all over our pasture on stick horses to shoot the bad guys. Of course, we were the white-hatted heroes! My youngest nephew, not quite old enough to keep up, insisted on riding his ‘horse’ head down, so his mighty steed’s head got drug all over the pasture!
The most difficult Christmas present I ever bought…
The most difficult Christmas present I ever had to buy was the first one I bought for my mom by myself after my dad passed away. I just couldn’t figure out what to buy. But I found a grandmother’s charm bracelet, with little boy and girl heads, with the names and birth dates engraved on the little heads. By that time, Mom had five grandchildren and one on the way, but I remember standing in the store, feeling very lost and very alone, trying to decide between the choices.
One of the most fun presents we ever bought…
One of the most fun presents that we ever bought was for my father-in-law when our children were small. My father-in-law always hoped that someone would give his boys a train set. (I think so he could enjoy it, too!)
So my husband and I picked him out a neat little train set, and as the television commercial says the look on his face was “priceless.” He set it up in his basement for awhile, and shared it with his grandchildren, and then a few years down the road, when he started spending more time in Texas in the winter, gave it to our children to enjoy.
A Personalized Family Photo Calendar Keeps us All Up to Date!
For the past few years, I’ve e-mailed family members to request family photographs, (whatever they want to send) though the ones where they are fishing, playing softball, and just doing fun things make great collages for the calendar that I make and give to my mom.
I try to focus on a different family group each month, and when possible, feature someone that is having a birthday that month, though in some months, there are several birthdays.
Here is this year’s calendar front, the photograph on the left was taken in 2000, before we lost my brother Gary and my sister-in-law Nancy to cancer in 2001. It shows my mom, with my two brothers standing on the left with their spouses and me on the lower right with my husband. My dad ‘s photo is inset on the right.
I usually make copies for the rest of the family, complete with all the birthdays and anniversaries. They all love it! It’s a great way to help us all keep up with important dates!
There are several places that offer this service…
I bought Broderbund’s calendar creator several years ago, but you can also make calendars several places on the internet, such as at my Heritage Makers’ website, and I believe that Kodak and other places also offer this service.
One good thing about making it with Calendar Creator, and at the Heritage Maker’s website, is that once you get the template set up, complete with birthdays and anniversaries, you just copy and save with a new name for next year, and re-place this year’s photographs with next year’s new ones!
Sherry Stocking Kline
December 9, 2009
When I was growing up, my Grandma Maud (McGinnis) Stocking lived an hour and a half away in a little town named Cedarvale, Kansas . And though we went to see her and brought her to see us, it didn’t always happen exactly on Christmas.
So Grandma Stocking would pack up a little package for our family. It was all wrapped up in brown paper with packages inside for each of us, and oh, how I looked forward to that little package!
I watched for the mail man to turn the corner and drive down our little country road and when I saw him coming, I would run down the driveway of our farm to the mail box to say hello and check and see if today was THE day.
When the package came, I would run back up to the house with it and begin badgering and begging my mom to let me open it early. Most of the time, she made me wait at least until closer to Christmas. So then it was time to shake, squeeze, and guess what the package had in it.
The present I remember best is the one she made herself.
I can’t remember every present that Grandma sent, and I don’t remember anything that she sent my folks, but the present I remember best is the one she made for me herself.
It was a crayon apron. It was a pretty pink, girl-y looking with colored braid stitched on it and stitched into it were slim little pockets for crayons and each pocket had a colorful crayon in it. (I think there might have been a coloring book, too) It was designed to keep my clothes clean I’m sure, but I loved that little apron.
I was thrilled with it, proud of it, and I wore it and used it for many years. Finally, one of the ties came lose, and we didn’t instantly repair it. And, I was beginning to ‘outgrow’ the tiny little apron. For a long time, I left the crayons in the apron, and used it to organize my crayons.
I hope the little crayon apron will be there…
I’m not sure what happened to that little apron, but I hope (and pray) that when I go digging through my attic for the keepsakes I stored there many years ago that the little crayon apron will be there.