Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Dec. 10th – Smile For The Camera #19- The Gift “What Do I Do With This???”

Heritage Village 296

That was the question my husband asked after opening his Christmas gift from me a couple of years ago. I couldn’t think of anything to get my husband for Christmas, I was trying to figure out something unique to give him that he could look at for years to come. What was it? It was an old tart tin that I had bought at a thrift store a few years earlier for $2. It wasn’t just any tart tray, it was a blue and white swirl enamelware tart tin, highly collectible and moderately valuable. Well, that seemed like a very unique gift, he said, but he didn’t think he’s get much use out of it. I explained that it was an antique and he could put it on eBay and use the profits from the sale to get a tattoo.

Heritage Village 297

He said, “well, I don’t think I’ll get enough to pay for a tattoo, but I’ll list it anyway”. He was pleasantly surprised when it sold for almost $200. Now he has a tattoo to remind him everyday of the very unusual gift.

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Smile For The Camera, Special Events, , ,

Dec. 7, 2009 – Holiday Parties

For a quarter of a century we have been having family get-togethers at Christmas time. For the first decade or so we held our gatherings on Christmas Eve. We took turns hosting our gatherings, but in the past few years they were held at my sister’s house, because the family grew so much, her house was the only one that was large enough to hold them. As the family grew, we started having the party on the Sunday before Christmas, it was more convenient that way.

There is always tons of food, everyone brings something. Since my nephew has a lot of food allergies, the one rule about the meal was no peanuts. My sister bakes banana bread just for him every year. I usually bake and decorate tons of different kinds of cookies, I’m going to start this week baking for the party. We all have our specialties, fresh baked breads, pies, penne, aux gratin potatoes, and all kinds of side dishes, jellos, salads, cheese and vegetable platters, etc. The host supplies the meat, usually a ham and some other kinds of meats.

My sister sets up a table for the kids to make crafts,

and brings out the big box of Legos she has from when her kids were young,

The older boys are usually downstairs watching movies and playing games or out in the garage playing pinball.
I’m usually running around trying to get pictures of everybody. There is usually at least one new family member that I have to get pictures of. There are three new additions this year, two births and one marriage. If our family gets much bigger, we’ll have to rent a hall for our Christmas party.

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events, ,

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 don’t remember ever sending a letter to Santa, letting him know whether I was bad or good in the past year and deserving of gifts, he already knew. And, if he already knew, then he must already know what I wanted or deserved for Christmas. I left letters for him in my stocking, not to ask for anything in particular, just a general letter saying that he could decide what to leave me so it would be a surprise.

After I was grown and had kids of my own, I was was surprised that I married into the Santa Claus family, my father-in-law was Santa Claus. Every year the kids would go to the Moose Lodge Christmas party and sit on Santa’s knee and were very surprised that Santa Claus knew their names, and knew what they were up to, he must be the real Santa Claus! They had no idea that they were sitting on their grandfather’s knee. He was Santa Claus there for years, maybe it was because he didn’t need a pillow, he was all real. Now, he isn’t doing very well, and my Christmas wish is for him to live long enough to see another Christmas, I don’t want my family to look back and remember Christmas of 2009 as the year that Santa died.

I have always equated Santa Claus with the Christmas spirit, of love and giving and sharing and family, so, yes, I do still believe in Santa Claus.

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events, , ,

Dec. 5 – Outdoor Decorations

When I was growing up, the only Christmas displays were the Nativity Scenes in front of the churches in town. I can remember a few houses had some lights on the windows and roof lines, but nothing spectacular. We didn’t do any decorating outdoors.

I think that the commercialism of Christmas has a lot to do with it, the more commercialism there is, the more elaborate the outdoor decorating is. Nativity scenes are being replaced with Santas and reindeers and the true meaning of Christmas is getting lost.

Christmas is a Christian holiday and it used to be that only Christians celebrated it. Now almost everyone around the world is celebrating Christmas, no matter what the religion. Nativity scenes are being outlawed because they may offend non-Christians. Why are they offensive, they just portray the First Christmas. After all, if Jesus wasn’t born, there wouldn’t even be a Christmas and that would really be offensive. Put Christ back into Christmas,

is the reason for the season!

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events, ,

December 4 – Christmas Cards

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?
Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

I wasn’t going to post to this day’s topic, I didn’t know what to write, my family hasn’t mailed Christmas cards for decades, usually we just hand deliver them or we bring our Christmas cards to our family gatherings and hand them out then.

We decided to mail Christmas cards this year for a change, so I found some that I liked and I am getting a mailing list together. I still have my mailing list for my wedding, I’ll start with that, but I have to edit it for people that have moved, passed away and new families. I’ll add to it my mailing list from the family reunion, there are a few new cousins to include. I will be mailing them all across the country, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and even a few international ones. If I have a mailing address, they’ll be getting a card.

For those who I don’t have a mailing address, I will be sending cards by email, but I prefer mailing them out, it seems more personal. I may include a family newsletter as well, I haven’t decided yet.

My grandchildren make cards to hand out at the family gatherings, but they have pompoms, popsicle sticks and tons of glitter on them, so I can’t scan them to share with you. I always hang the homemade cards on my tree.

My grandson made this picture of baby Jesus for me yesterday, he even put the star in it. He just learned how to print his name and he was so proud, and so am I!

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events,

Treasure Chest Thursday-Dec. 3, 2009 – Christmas Ornaments

When I was living in Windsor with the boys 20 years ago, my mother and I started to crochet Victorian Christmas ornaments. We made dozens of dozens of them to fill orders. My boys wanted some so I made some for them, my sisters wanted some, my brother wanted some, and I gave some Christmas villages as gifts. I even made a tree-top angel without a pattern. I haven’t crocheted much lately, not since I made 12 dozen Victorian hearts for my wedding favours and filled them with Hershey’s Kisses. I have one of them hanging on my tree also, but I didn’t put any Hershey’s Kisses in this one.

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Special Events, Treasure Chest Thursday, ,

Geneabloggers Winter Cookbook- Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

These cookies are really easy to make and are very festive-looking.

Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine. softened

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

72 small unsalted pretzels

72 candy-coated milk chocolate pieces

36 small red gumdrops

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer or medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.

Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Divide into 6 equal portions. Wrap and chill for 3 hours or until dough is easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a circle 6″ in diameter. Using a knife, cut each circle into 6 wedges and place 2″ apart on cookie sheet.

To make antlers, on each triangle lightly press a pretzel into upper corners. Cut off about 1″ of bottom point, and cut into two small triangles. Place small triangles, tip side up, over antlers and press the bottom part into dough to make ears.

Press red gumball into bottom edge for nose, and chocolate pieces for eyes.

Bake in 375F oven for 7 -9 minutes or until edges are firm. do not over-bake. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 36 cookies.

The original recipe didn’t have the one step of cutting the bottom tip and making two ears and the pretzels fell off. With this modification, the pretzel antlers stay put and the reindeer looks more like a reindeer. I used melted white chocolate and mini-chips to make the eyes after the cookies were cooled when I made them.

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, , , ,

Geneablogger’s Winter 2009 Cookbook – Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

When we go to my sister’s house for our family get-together, there are some foods that are brought every year, one of the favourite desserts that my sister-in-law brings is a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll. She doesn’t make it, her mother makes it, and decorates it for her with Christmas picks. She bakes two because we have such a large family. We split up the leftovers at the end of the night for everyone to take home, but there hasn’t ever been any leftovers of this dessert. I have bugged my sister-in-law to get the recipe from her mother for years and finally I found one that tastes almost the same, my husband, says it tastes the same, but, everything always tastes better when someone else makes it.

My husband going for a piece of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll


3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional confectioners’ sugar, optional


Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-coloured. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin, beating on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Cover and freeze until firm. May be frozen for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Yield: 10 servings.

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, ,

December 2nd – Our Christmas Beast Feast

This is my post for the Dec. 2nd Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers. I thought I would try my hand at poetry, for a change, in the style of Dr. Seuss. The topic for today is Holiday Foods. Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

Our Christmas Beast Feast

When we all gather for our Christmas feast,
on the menu, we always find some sort of beast.

What is it this year, a bear or a moose,
or jerky made out of dried duck or goose?

Perhaps, some venison, sausage or roast,
It’s entirely up to the whim of our host.

We will eat anything put on our plate,
any beast he could shoot, we willingly ate.

We were not fussy, didn’t care how it looked,
the only thing we asked was that it was cooked.

Our host is a hunter, a good one at that,
he stalks his prey with the stealth of a cat.

Ducks that once lived, by skilled hands are in flight,
frozen in time, to the hunter’s delight.

Alas, in the living-room, stands by the chair,
a well-deserved trophy, a full-grown black bear.

I wonder, what family feast it supplied?
I’ll bet it was great, whether roasted or fried.

What will it be this year, I can hardly wait
to see what sort of beast ends up on my plate.

I don’t really care what beast it may be,
As long as I share it with my family.

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events, , , ,

Dec 1 – More Christmas Tree Memories

My grandparents on my dad’s side, had an artificial tree, a silver one, that sat in the front window every year. My grandmother always hung blue ornaments on it and didn’t ever put any lights on it, instead, she had a light sitting on the floor in front of the tree that shone on the tree and rotated a colour wheel of red, green, blue and yellow that reflected off of the tree.

My sister had a Charlie Brown tree from the time she was married until the kids got taller than the tree. She had it for almost 20 years, and it was the family joke, we went to her place for our family gathering and when we took a picture in front of the tree, and it disappeared. Her kids finally talked her into getting a bigger tree a couple of years ago, but we still all laugh about the memories of that Charlie Brown tree, she probably still has it somewhere.

When my kids were growing up we always had real trees with only home-made decorations on them, tin foil and construction paper chains, popcorn strung, Chinese lanterns and bread dough ornaments that we painted and glittered. I never had a glass ornament on my tree until the boys were out on their own.

My youngest sister, three nieces and my two boys 1981

My husband and I went out a few years ago and chopped down a real tree. It didn’t look very big out on the farm and when it was cut, they wrapped it up and we took it home. We got it in the house and got it unwrapped and it was HUGE! My husband got out the saw and cut about 3 feet off the bottom so we could stand it up. It didn’t want to stand up straight so we had to tie it with rope to the window frame, and when we went to take it down, the tree wouldn’t fit out the door. My husband had to cut most of the branches off the bottom half to get it out the door, that’s the last time we had a real tree.

This post is my second Dec. 1st post for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers.

Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events, ,

January 2021