Archive for the ‘Christmas Advent Calendar’ Category

Silent Night – in German, Gaelic, and English

Merry Christmas to All!

Stille Nacht (The original Silent Night – in German)

Click here to see both English and German lyrics side by side. German was the language of most of my husband’s ancestor’s.  Unfortunately,  the language and perhaps many of the food and customs have been lost.

Oiche Chiuin (Silent Night) by Enya

This was cool.  I know, if I go back far enough, my ancestors spoke Gaelic.  I just hope that soon I can find their exact origins.  Must get back to working on this branch!

Silent Night in English sung by Bing Crosby

It doesn’t get much better than listening to Bing Crosby sing “Silent Night”, unless you’re singing “Silent Night” while doing the annual Christmas Light car tour and you find out that your seven-year-old granddaughter learned the sign language for the song in school.  Now, that’s really cool.



Have a Very Merry Christmas! Blessings, Sherry

Christmas Caroling – Advent Calendar Challenge – December 21st

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 21, 2009

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers for today’s Advent Calendar Challenge:

Christmas Music

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

My family always loved music and I grew up listening to carols on the radio first, then 45 rpm records, then a stereo, then a tiny (by then standards) battery operated transistor radio.

Today, there’s music on the stereo, computer, smart phone, and  iPod!   It’s so easy to listen wherever you are.

Mayfield Federated Church

Mayfield Federated Church

Growing up near the tiny town of Mayfield, Kansas, our church youth group at the Mayfield Federated Church (a Methodist and Presbyterian combined church) always went caroling.

Our group would set out on foot (remember, it’s a tiny town) in the cool, crisp air, and it was always a fun and joyous evening of laughter, singing, and wishing the townspeople, mostly seniors, but often others who had been ill and shut-in, a very Merry Christmas.

Our pastor and his wife usually led the singing and ‘herded’ us from house to house.  There were many of ‘Grandma age’ in our town, and  many of them had grandchildren in the group, so they knew each and every one of us,  were often called Grandma by many who were not their grandchildren, and they were always delighted to see us!

A side benefit we often enjoyed was that several of them were extremely good cookie bakers, and we might be given cookies to enjoy while walking around the town.

After the caroling was done for the evening we’d gather back at the church for cookies and cocoa, and then sometime walk down to the school’s gymnasium for indoor games.

I know the seniors enjoyed the carols, but the fun and fellowship for all of us was priceless.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Gifts of a Genealogical Nature!

Sherry Stocking Kline December 19, 2009

It may be be Sunday (and almost Monday) but I’m behind on my “Saturday Night time for some Genealogy Fun!! ” from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings… Rev up the olde thynking cap and cue up the Mission Impossible music – your mission should you decide to accept it – keeping with the Christmas theme – is: 1) Pick out a genealogy-oriented gift for someone you know, admire, appreciate or love. It could be for a family member, someone in the genealogy community, or a friend or colleague. What would be your genealogy gift to them? [Note: you don't have to actually gift them, although it would be a nice thing to do!] 2) Tell us about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook to this post or a tweet.

I didn’t mean to be a last minute shopper (again this year) and I had so many plans for Genealogy related gifts that I haven’t (quite) completed them all!

When I can give gifts that people will enjoy receiving that have family history themes, then it’s so very rewarding to me, and that’s the way the family calendar is, it’s fun, and everyone’s birthday is on it.  So enjoyable!

But, I’m scrambling to finish the (see post) 2010 calendar that I’m using my Broderbund Calendar program to make for my mom.  I plan to share this with nephews and nieces, as well as my brother, but so far, I’m still waiting on some photographs from some of them.

I started this about six years ago, I’m guessing, used my Family Tree program to tell me when everyone’s birthday was, then played with my Paint Shop Pro program to make collages out of smaller photos. (After seeing some of the Photoshop creations on some of the blogs, though, I realize I need Photoshop and some remedial training!)

For my great-niece, who is photographing and  journaling the family vacations each year, I’m tempted to get her  a book to help her chronicle each trip

And one gift that I’d planned to give this Christmas I won’t get done because I didn’t plan far enough ahead.  I wanted to make each of my two granddaughter’s a small 8 X 8 (or thereabouts) picture book, and call it “Jordyn Savannah and the People Who Love Her” and “Chloy Celyse and the People Who Love Her”. 

I’ve spent several hours on the computer already sorting photographs, and should have already gone through my 35 mm ones, so it has become a bigger project than I originally planned, but the girls both have birthdays in July, so I’ll make them birthday gifts instead!

There are several option to publish, Heritage Makers or Missy Corley’s Creative Memories site at http://baysideresearch.wordpress.com/, or get Photoshop,  print it myself or have them bound at Kinko’s.

I’ve written up several of my mother’s memories, too, and need to get back to editing and consolidating them into one story, and also asking more questions in some areas.

Mom and I have also been going through old photographs that we missed at other times and are trying to put names on them.  There are quite a few that were given to her some time back that I don’t believe she ever knew who they were.  (note to self – finish putting names and dates on all my own photos!)

My number one genealogy gift for her and I both, though, would be to know who her great-grandfather is, and that would break down my brick wall as well!

Merry Christmas!
Sherry

Advent Christmas Challenge – Grab Bag

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 17, 2009

Geneabloggers’ Advent Christmas Challenge – Grab Bag
Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!

Reading Geneabloggers post from a few days ago (and I’m sorry I didn’t keep the link to just which post) Thomas was talking about the “Batman” version of “Jingle Bells”.  Until we went caroling this past week, I’d never heard of the Batman version of Jingle Bells.

Here are the words we used to sing when I was growing up!

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells, rabbits run away,
Oh what fun it is to ride in Grandma’s Model Aaaay,
Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells, rabbits run away,
Oh what fun it is to ride in Grandma’s Model Aaaaaayyy!

You get the idea!

While caroling the nursing homes and shut-ins this past Monday, December 14th, our minister had a Texas version which went like this:

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells, rabbits all the way,
Oh what fun it is to ride in Grandpa’s Chevrolet,
Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells, rabbits all the way,
Oh what fun it is to ride in Grandpa’s Chevrolet,

Caroling with our church’s youth group when I was growing up (and with older church members today!) is one of my favorite things to do!  No one will ever accuse me of having a good voice but it just doesn’t seem like Christmas till we’ve bundled up and braved the cold to go caroling!

And no good caroling party is complete without hot chocolate and sugar cookies!

Here are a couple of photos from this year’s caroling party:

Sherry and Savvy Christmas Caroling with the church

Sherry and granddaughter Savvy Christmas Caroling with the church

And here is one of our little group:

Church Caroling Party

Church Caroling Party

The daughter of the woman we were visiting took the photographs of us, and was kind enough to e-mail me copies.

Normally, our group is much larger, but this year, the temperature was 18 degrees, and we had a much smaller group!

Christmas Advent Challenge – Christmas Pageants!

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 16th, 2009

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers for his daily blogging (and memory) challenges…

Christmas At School

What did you do to celebrate Christmas at school? Were you ever in a Christmas Pageant?

Oh, my gosh, the Christmas pageant. How could I forget?  (Maybe because I’ve tried hard to?)

I attended a fairly tiny little school in a small town in Kansas. Eighty kids in the whole school, grades one through eight. That’s right, no kindergarten, and no middle school.

We had roughly 12 to 14 in our class at any given time, four classrooms, and two classes in each school room.

My very first experience in the program was when the folding wall dividers of the school were folded up, and parents poured into the school to watch us on the stage.  A couple of years later, there was a stage in the gymnasium, and we held our programs there.

Everyone was in the Christmas program…

Everyone was in the Christmas program.  Everyone.  Even people who couldn’t sing, people who couldn’t act, painfully shy people, and people like me who couldn’t sing, act, and were painfully shy.

Do I have horrible memories of the Christmas pageant?  No, but it was a long time ago, now, or seems like it, and the memories are all jumbled together.

Memories of waiting on the steps up to the stage, every kid full of Christmas excitement and too much Christmas candy, teachers threatening everyone within an inch of their lives if they didn’t quiet down, didn’t behave, or didn’t remember their lines.

He ran to the bathroom to ‘toss his cookies…’

Of course, the older kids got the more responsible, leading roles, and so the older we got the more responsibility we held.  One year the excitement got to one boy, and he ran to the bathroom to ‘toss his cookies.’   I felt his pain.

My one (and only)  shining moment as a lead in a play came when they needed someone to play the part of the daughter who honors Santa Lucia, the Swedish saint. (Read about that tradition here.)  Celebrated on December 13, the oldest daughter dresses in a long white dress with a red sash, and a wreath of leaves and candles (or battery powered tiny flashlights in my case) white socks and no shoes.

Because I had long, nearly waist length blond braids, I was a shoe-in for this part. It was my job to serve bread cubes to the others in the part of the skit.  Whether I was good or was lousy I can’t say, but it was my last leading role…

Advent Christmas Calendar Challenge – Charitable – Volunteer Work

by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 13, 2009

The following is part of the Advent Calendar Challenge, thanks to GeneaBloggers Thomas MacEntee!

Charitable/Volunteer Work

Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women’s shelter during the holidays? Or perhaps were your ancestors involved with church groups that assisted others during the holiday?

When I read this challenge, my conscience was pricked.  Pretty hard, too. Ouch.

Do we do this during the holidays.   No, not that I can ever recall did we, nor do we now during holidays.

I felt terrible.  And then a little voice inside me reminded me that throughout the year, we do ‘things’ that make other peoples lives a little bit easier.

Growing up on a farm and a rural community the farm families’ were close.  If your neighbor (and that includes people miles away) were ill, suffered a family loss, had surgery, died, etc., the word would go out, and food began to arrive. Almost immediately.

Prayer chains were begun and good, home-cooked meals were made and delivered with caring, concern, and love. Funeral dinners were provided, and funerals were well attended.   “Can we help?”  What can we do?”  These questions were asked and meant.  If the husband were ill, fields were plowed, cows were fed, or cows milked.  We were a part of the giving.  And when my dad passed away, of the receiving.

Growing up, I never heard of battered women’s shelters or food banks.  Did they exist?  Surely they did, but not in my tiny town, and maybe not even in the nearby one I now  live in.     But they do now.

My inner voice reminded that now we donate to a battered women’s shelter in Oklahoma where my cousin works, to a Christian group here that helps pregnant teens and other mothers with supplies when they are faced with a surprise pregnancy, to the food bank here in town.

Because we’ve had three family members die from leukemia and lymphoma, I volunteer and walk with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” walk.  The money helps families with information and  expenses when someone gets a leukemia diagnosis. You can click here, and find the chapter near you, links to donate, and information if you or a family member needs it.

And when the health and wellness company that I’ve been a part of for nearly ten years began the “Save a Child” program to save the lives of children who were dying from malaria I began donating every month.

For every $10 bottle of silver I purchase, the company matches it with another.  And ships them to Africa, where each bottle saves the lives of at least two children.  Interested? E-mail me at Sherry@familytreewriter.com for more info.

But my conscience still pricks me because there isn’t anything special I do just at Christmas time.  I hope to make next year’s post different.

Music Monday – Mary Did You Know?

by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 14th, 2009

The first time I heard Kathy Mattea singing this song written by Mark Lowery and Buddy Greene, it became one of my new Christmas favorites. And this version, sung by Mark Lowery himself and accompanied by Guy Penrod and David Phelps is beautiful.

Mary, Did You Know?

Lyrics by Mark Lowery, music by Buddy Greene

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 delivered will soon deliver you?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man
Mary did you know that 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, and 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…..”

After watching “The Nativity Story” this past weekend with my family, it made me want to ask Mary some questions myself.

Mary, what did you think when shepherds began showing up at the stable? How amazed were you when the wise men came and brought gifts? And such expensive ones?

Did you use those gifts to keep Jesus safe from Herod when you had to hurry away from Bethlehem and stay in Egypt?

Did you ever think “oh, my gosh, what if I hadn’t listened to the dream that told Joseph to take the child to Egypt” to keep him safe?

What did you see when Jesus was young that made you certain he could turn the water into wine?

Mary, What Did You Know?

Merry Christmas to you and yours….

Advent Calendar Challenge – Fruitcake – Friend or Foe?

by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 14th, 2009

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers for today’s Christmas Advent Calendar Challenge!

Fruit Cake – Friend or Foe?

Did you like fruitcake? Did your family receive fruitcakes? Have you ever re-gifted fruitcake? Have you ever devised creative uses for fruitcake?

(Note: you can also post about a “fruitcake ancestor” and use it for Madness Monday!)

We didn’t receive very many fruitcakes when I was growing up…

Just lucky, I guess!

But my mom professed to love them, so occasionally she would buy one.  It usually never got finished, so how much could she actually love them, right?

Me, I tasted one or two, didn’t care for the rubbery candied fruit, and considered myself a Fruitcake hater.

Many years later, after I was grown and working at a federal government farm office the local grain elevator who always gave our office Christmas gifts of one sort or another, usually food or candy, gave us some fruitcakes.

“Oh, great,” I thought,  “They usually give us good gifts, and this year  -  Fruitcake!”

They seemed to be filled with a little extra Christmas Cheer…

Everyone else dived in (except for me) and exclaimed how good it was!   It also seemed they were traveling back to the break table just a little extra often to grab a piece of that fruitcake, and maybe it was my imagination, but they seemed to be filled with a little extra ‘Christmas Cheer,’ too.

Finally, not wanting to miss out on anything I decided to give the fruitcake a one-time try.

Mmmmm?  This can’t be  fruitcake, I thought.  The fruit wasn’t rubbery and tasteless and what in the world was this stuff marinated with?

It wouldn’t have passed the “Southern Baptist” test…

Mmmmm….  Whatever it was, it wouldn’t have passed the teetotaling “Southern Baptist” test that Whitney Clare writes about in her Advent Calendar Challenge!  And whatever it was, it was worth a second piece, and a third.

It was a pretty ‘cheery’ Christmas around there till the fruitcakes were gone, and  doggone it, I never did find out where the elevator bought those fruitcakes ….

Advent Calendar Challenge – Other Traditions…

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 11, 2009

Thanks once again to Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers for today’s Advent Calendar Challenge!

December 11 – Other Traditions

Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions form their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?

My Stocking ancestors came from England in the 1630′s, and while they inter-married with those of Scottish and/or Irish descent as well as Native American, whatever traditions any of them might have brought with them have been long lost, or interwoven with more recent American ones.

On my mother’s side, I’m still trying to knock down the brick wall that a man named Jones who marries a woman named Smith creates.  I’ve read in a book  that speaks about our Smith family history that we have Welsh and French on that side.

For my family, it was all about Christmas Eve…

For my family, wherever the tradition came from or whether it began with my parents, Christmas was all about Christmas Eve. We gathered together, Dad, Mom, my youngest brother (still older than myself), my oldest brother and his growing family, and we exchanged presents.  And we all knew that the presents that night came from our parents and grand-parents, not from Santa.

But the Christmas Stocking was what held the magic! It came from Santa himself!

Here is an excerpt from mountaingenealogy.blogspot.com that sounds like my experience, too!

“And we aren’t talking about the rather large, decorative stockings of today. These were literally their stockings [socks] that they wore on a daily basis.”

We didn’t have a fireplace, nor even a wood stove, so we pinned the stockings to the couch, usually the side nearest to the door, as that was where the jolly old elf was believed to come into our home!

The stockings that we hung had to be our own!

The stockings that we hung had to be our own! So the presents that we got when we were little were, well, little!

I remember getting tiny little animals that I loved to play with, and most often they were tiny little horses with cowboys and Indians to ride them and sometimes there was candy in the toe, and a barrette for my long honey-blonde braids.

And the good thing was, that as I grew, the socks grew, and the presents became bigger!

How exciting it was to ‘graduate’ from not-so-stretchy little Buster Brown cotton socks to extra stretchy (and longer) bobby socks!  Much more room for goodies!

My children used to ‘cheat’…

I continued the hanging of the Stocking’s with my children, though they were allowed to ‘cheat’ and particularly the youngest more often than not scoured the house giggling and laughing, comparing one sock to another while she hunted for the largest stretchiest stocking available, most often her Dad’s calf high athletic sock.

A good thing, that, as they sometimes found their favorite music CD all tucked in with other goodies from Santa.

Advent Calendar Challenge – Gifts

by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 10, 2009

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee for today’s Christmas Advent Calendar Challenge!

Gifts

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.

Harold and Dorothy Stocking Family

Harold and Dorothy Stocking Family - Standing: Gary "Sox" Stocking, Harold Frederick "Fred" Stocking, Jr., Norman L. Kline. Seated: Sharon Stocking, Dorothy Stocking Barry, Sherry Stocking Kline. Harold Frederick "Jiggs" Stocking, Sr. in oval 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!

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