I'm always looking for ways to incorporate genealogy into my everyday life, even more so at Christmastime. Though arguably the busiest time of year, Christmas puts genealogy at the forefront of my mind. The emphasis on family, memories of past Christmases, my curiosity about traditions from around the world . . . Most years it takes the form of gifts for my grandparents who are all still living (#TBTG) and gift requests on my own Wish List. This year it took the form of decorations and food.
I came across some picture frames, while browsing my local Salvation Army store, that I knew would pair perfectly with ancestral photos. I even had specific photos in mind. The next step was finding where to place them. I had already found a diminutive white Nativity scene that fit well on the first tier of our two-tiered 'coffee table', but the rest of it was bare. With a music box (picked up on the same shopping trip as the frames), a few figurines, and a rogue Christmas pick, I found a way to make it all work together. The photos I chose for the frame were 1) a wintry picture of my great-grandma Mae Montgomery (then Deem, née Viola Mae Thorne) holding my great-aunt Sara Ellen. Based on Aunt Sara's age I would date the photo as Winter 1931/2 and 2) my Granddad Cramer's uncle, Perry Cramer, with his Christmas gifts (what appear to be a harmonica, toy stagecoach, and slippers) next to a Christmas tree decorated with candles that are lit. The bottom half of one of his sister's is pictured in the background. I'd date it as one of the Christmases during World War I as Uncle Perry was born in 1907.
Family history decor doesn't necessarily have to just be ancestral. I found an assortment of photos with Santa of me and two of my brothers (apparently by the time my youngest brother entered the scene we were done with all that. Poor guy.) I dug out a collage frame that more or less worked and added some scrapbook paper for the background. The photos started out centered, but by the time I took the forthcoming photo of them, they had migrated.
Your photos don't even necessarily have to be Christmas-y or even wintry to qualify for holiday decorating. I was feeling more Advent-y than Christmas-y when I was making the house festive, so I left one of the shelves relatively alone. I brought over my 'ancestral' photo album from another bookcase and added a small Nativity ornament that my mom brought back from her trip to the Holy Land (before I was even born). That's about it. I may also have taken a few knickknacks away. The rest of the room was Christmas-y enough for the minimalism of this shelf to work.
I love cats, books, Diet Coke, and genealogy.
Actualized type: INTP
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