Throughout the month of December, The Tribune-Democrat ran photos and stories of favorite decorations as submitted by our readers.
Some decorations were featured on our front page. Click here to see the pics we didn't publish.
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Mary Jane Kiehl | Shanksville
“As a child, my mother and I would go to Woolworths in downtown Johnstown and buy a new piece for our nativity,” wrote Mary Jane Kiehl of Shanksville. “This would have been in the mid 40's. I still remember going down the stairs and seeing all the figures on it. I am not sure how many she bought at a time but I know the camel was 69 cents and still has the price tag on it. I have always enjoyed it and someday hope to pass it on.”
Debbie Zapola | Johnstown
“I have many memories of my homemade wooden Christmas ornaments and decorations. My laue uncle Dino made them for the family for many years. Growing up with 14 brothers and sisters, Christmas meant so much to him,” wrote Debbie Zapola of Johnstown. “On the back of each wooden ornament or decoration was a poem or a Christmas message. I’ll always cherish this simple gift from the heart.”
Darlene Fox | Portage
“This nativity set was the last gift my father gave to my mother, Betty Cadwallader, before he died of cancer in 1976,” wrote Darlene Fox of Portage. “The set was made by my cousin. My mother has treasured it all these years and last year she gave it to me only if I promised to pass it on to my daughter when the time comes. I am the youngest of five children, but my mother explained she wanted one of her daughters to have the set and my sister already had made one of her own around the same time as this set was made. The nativity has 21 pieces and is still in surprisingly excellent condition. I will treasure her gift always and will continue the family tradition.”
Helen Farabaugh | Bakerton
“These toy soldiers were one of the many decorations my late husband Pat "Esso" Farabaugh of Bakerton made,” wrote Helen Farabaugh of Bakerton. “He loved Christmas and all the lights. He would take steel rods and weld them to form stars, wreaths, candles and even Rudolph. Then, with the help of family and a group of friends from town, they would decorate them. He made a roller coaster, snowman, sleigh and reindeer and displayed them in our yard. Many people would drive through town to enjoy the lights. Even today, many of the decorations line the main street in Bakerton.”
Pat Kelly | Davidsville
“This manger scene is very special to my husband and I,” wrote Pat Kelly of Davidsville. “We bought it for our first Christmas together as a married couple, in Grant's basement in downtown Johnstown. That was 47 years ago this year. It's had some wear and tear, but I still put it out every Christmas.”
Marjorie Glass | South Fork
“It was the Christmas season in 1948 when my best friend, Mary Francis, brought me a plastic Santa,” wrote Marjorie Glass of South Fork. “We hung it on our tree. Soon after, Mary Francis was burned severely when she reached on the stove. Each year, my mother retold the story as we hung the Santa on the tree. I was never allowed near the stove. I married and told her story to my children, students at school and then grandchildren. ears ago I lost my playmate but her Santa ornament has kept her story alive to help keep others safe.”
Maria Noel | Ebensburg
“When visiting my late grandmother, Marie Kirsch, nearly 40 years ago, she gave me this perfect, glittery, happy Santa Claus figure,” wrote Maria Noel of Ebensburg. “I was so happy to get something from her beautiful Christmas village collection. She also had one for my twin sister, Marca, (cq) and a yellow and white angel for our sister, Lisa. This is special to me, as the day we walked through the deep white snow to visit her and our granddad, Tom.”
Maureen O'Connor | Boswell
“Every year my father, Casey, adds to his Christmas decorations and has over 1,000 ornaments he has made since his retirement from Bethlehem Steel in 1979,” wrote Maureen O’Connor of Boswell. “Not only does he decorate the tree, fireplace and the entire first floor with a Christmas village, train station and nativity, he also makes gifts and gives them to to friends at church, doctor’s office and even banking staff. His walls have counted cross stitch that he still makes at age 95. It is truly a sight to see.”
Mary Jane Horner | Johnstown
“This little monkey was given to me in the late 1930s. I used to play with it until became older. Then I decided to put in on the tree. It has been there every Christmas since then. I don’t know who gave it to me, but I really treasure it,” wrote Mary Jane Horner of Johnstown. “The bird is probably from late 1929 or early 1930. It was on our tree for as long as I can remember. There were two of them; but over the years, one was broken.”
Ray Hartnett | Johnstown
“I suffer with severe peripheral neuropathy that renders both my hands almost useless. I put all the lights on the tree and decorated it myself,” wrote Ray Hartnett of Johnstown. No one thought I would put a tree up this year because my mom died on Feb. 25, 2012. She was paralyzed from the chest down since 1966 from a rare viral infection called transverse myelitis. Oh how I miss her, but when November came I got out the old Christmas tree and I decorated it in honor of her memory.”
Rose Arcurio | Johnstown
“As a child, I always admired this gold star hanging in the kitchen doorway of my grandparents home,” wrote Rose Arcurio of Johnstown. “I know it's well over 50 years old now, but It still reminds me of family getting together on Christmas Eve. The star was given to me many years ago and I have kept the tradition of hanging it in the kitchen doorway as well in memory of my grandparents.”
Olive West | New Florence
“The pictures on the wall are made from the covers of the Miles Kimble catalogs from the 80's and 90's,” wrote Olive West of New Florence. “The covers were too pretty to throw away. My husband, Arthur, cut the boards and then I distressed the wood, painted and pointed. The covers were applied with decoupage. They have a special place in the living room above the couch each year.”
Stephen D. Knaze II | Johnstown
“My favorite ornaments are the ones that my mother has given me, that were given to her by her priest,” wrote Stephen D. Knaze II of Johnstown. “They are from the former SS. Peter and Paul Slovak Catholic Church in Woodvale. These ornaments were handmade and decorated the Christmas trees every holiday season. They were made years ago by the Confraternity of Christian Mothers Club, by the late Fr. Joseph Pier and his housekeeper Matilda (Tilly). All are made from styrofoam balls and were then decorated with various materials and pins. They are fond memories from a special time in my life.”
Joni Phillips | Nanty Glo
“I started my tree decorating in memory of my daughter, Heidi, who passed away in 1986 when she was 15 from cancer,” wrote Joni Phillips of Nanty Glo. “Christmas was her favorite holiday. I started with an angel tree because she was such a beautiful and caring child. The tree is in her bedroom along with other angel themes and dolls that she loved to collect. Another tree is a Precious Moments tree. She started buying me Precious Moments for special occasions so I decided to make a Precious Moments tree. I have over 400 in my collection.
Bob Mayercsik | Johnstown
“These log cabins were made by my grandfather, Henry Koenig,” Bob Mayercsik of Johnstown wrote. “He made hundreds of them over the years and gave them to everyone in his family. Once a year at Christmas, we set these treasured heirlooms under our trees. Some of my best memories of childhood are of carefully setting up the little village. They are a great reminder of Pap and what he meant to all of us.”
Wayne & Susan Langerholc | Johnstown
“Of all the Christmas decorations my husband and I have accumulated throughout our many years of marriage, nothing say ‘Merry Christmas’ to us like these plates,” wrote Wayne and Susan Langerholc of Johnstown. “Our sons made these when they were in first grade. Even though they are now in their thirties and married with children of their own we still treasure these ‘priceless’ works of art. In our home the season cannot begin until these plates are on display. Not one Christmas has gone by without us placing these in our dining room for our family to enjoy as we gather around our table on Christmas day and throughout the Christmas season. To my husband and me this represents the true meaning of the season - time spent with family.”
Linda Kay Del Signore | Johnstown
“My children now are 33 and 32 years old,” wrote Linda Kay Del Signore of Johnstown. “When they attended St Benedict’s school they made special ornaments to give their family for Christmas. My daughter, Kathie, made her tree ornament in 1987 when she was 8 years old. My son, Louie, came home from school so upset, crying and saying he tried to get a blue ball but they were all gone by the time it was for him to pick one. He knew that was Mommy’s favorite color and his too. I explained to the little guy the red ball ice cream cone was just perfect because all the ornaments on our Christmas tree are red and gold. Every year when I get these precious decorations that were handmade by my little ones in grade school, my memories take me back in time.”
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