Holidays and Holiday Pictures

We always have loved the chance to celebrate holidays.  Hours are always spent decorating for Christmas.  The obligatory Christmas movies are watched.  As a child, gift exchanges were Christmas Eve and a mad scramble.  After I married, I changed this to Christmas morning.  Gifts were opened one at a time, rotating around the family, Eventually there were seven of us.  We watched and commented and praised each gift as it was unwrapped.  It became a very special time for my family.  We preferred spending Christmas at home, although we once went to Tennessee, and once to Nags Head.  For us, Christmas day was a great time for naps!

Thanksgiving is of special note.  For many years, we travelled to Nags Head, North Carolina for a week with relatives from all over the Eastern U.S. Nags head is located on the Outer Banks Islands, 6 miles off the coast.  The week was spent at the Blue Heron Hotel, owned by Mary Ann’s sister and brother-in-law, Wilma and Jim Gladden.  It actually became a family reunion each year.  Both Mary’s and my relatives were welcome.  The Gladdens didn’t charge for the rooms which had cooking facilities, but we always left big tips for the maids.  I always helped decorate the hotel for Christmas.  We strung lights and I would change burned-out bulbs on a daily basis.  We would also go the Kill Devil Hills, where the kids could hang-glide and the men would go to oyster bars.  The family always headed to Grits Grill every morning for breakfast.  The nights were usually spent at the hotel indoor pool, which was salt-water!, or sometimes local karaoke bars.  Daytime activities were the Christmas Shop or North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo on Roanoke Island.  Thanksgiving dinner was always at one of the local restaurants (very fancy).  Wilma wouldn’t let anyone else pay for the meal.  We never knew how much, but we know it had to be well over a thousand dollars.  

For the Fourth of July holiday we did something a little unusual.  We also celebrated Dependence Day on the Third. After all on the third,  we were still British subjects.  We hung the English Flag, ate fish and chips and other British food, including custard.  That night we pulled down the flag and then replaced it with the U.S. Flag.  This was a reminder of both our heritage and importance of being American.

Of course, we celebrated other holidays too.  Easter with Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, Easter baskets and new clothes.  Saint Patrick day with a chance to wear green, and sing Irish Folk Music (no beer).  New Years Eve with church dances.  I don’t remember doing anything special for Presidents day, although we did watch Holiday Inn a couple of times.  

Veterans Day was celebrated on the military bases where I was stationed with special meals at the chow hall for the military families.  Today, I celebrate it by marching in a parade with my American Legion Post.  We also visit a local school and do a ceremony. We then have a special event with a speaker at either the National Veteran’s Memorial Museum in Columbus or the Air Force Museum in Dayton. I have also visited grandchildren’s schools who ask their students to invite their family members who are veterans.  This year (2021) I am scheduled to be the guest speaker at an elementary school in West Jefferson, Ohio.

Halloween was and still is a big event. We decorate our garage with black lights and skeletons, witches and ghosts. Besides treats for the neighborhood trick-or-treat, we hand out hot cider and donuts to the parents.  Many of our neighbors stop and chat, while their kids go on down the street.  My kids (and dentists) loved trick-or-treat.  My kids would come home, empty their sacks and start swapping for favorite treats.  We always made our own costumes.  Seldom did we buy costumes.  However, this last year, I did.  I bought a steam-punk costume at a Halloween store in Washington State.  I then decorated a life-size skeleton and mounted him (her?) on the seat of my riding lawn-mower.  This was the centerpiece in my garage!

And last, but not least, birthdays. When the children were little, toys and clothes.  As they got older and for us adults, clothing – lots of neckties and socks.  Perfume for Mom.  Mary was never into jewelry (thank goodness), but she did like kitchen gadgets.  If a gadget existed, she had to have it. CD’s, DVD’s and of course books were always on the birthday list.  All of us have always been avid readers.  My family knew Dad and Mom needed historical novels.  Our kids always had special authors.  And of course, each member received favorite flavor of Birthday cake and ice-cream, along with the favorite soft drink or milk.  

Holiday Pictures - Christmas

Holiday Pictures - Thanksgiving

Holiday Pictures - Other

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