The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 24, 2012

PICS | Your 2012 Holiday Decorations Part 3

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. Happy Holidays!

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8


Pauline Polites | Elmora

“Back in the 1980s,” writes Pauline Polites of Elmora, “my sister-in-law, Ann Cymbor, came to me with a sad, limp snowflake that she got at a yard sale and wanted to know if I could crochet a copy for her. I copied her snowflake and started to create my own patterns. Then I found pattern books and in a few years I had this tree of crocheted ornaments. Except for some glass balls, I wouldn’t put an ornament on my tree unless I made it.
“I still share with family and friends and everyone loves them. Now in my 80s, I still crochet a lot, but my tree is just a four foot one!”

Sandra Patrick | Mineral Point

“When my daughter, Alisha, was 6-years-old,” writes Sandra Patrick of Mineral Point, “we made our yearly visit to see Santa at the mall. She told me she had asked Santa for a kitten. I said, ‘Santa may have a hard time finding a kitten. They are not always available this time of year.’
“It was a cold, snowy blizzard on Christmas Eve when we went to visit with her grandmother — who lived two streets below us — to have Christmas Eve dinner and exchange our gifts. Alisha’s dad and uncle went to the cars to bring our gifts into the house.
“To our surprise, they had also found this beautiful, precious, little ball-of-fur kitten in the snowy blizzard outside. We called the neighbors and and he didn’t belong to them. So, the kitten came home with us that Christmas Eve and was called Kit Kat.
“Every year when we would put up our Christmas tree, Kit Kat would be found napping under the tree. Kit Kat passed away after 19 years. When he passed, we had an ornament made with his picture on it. We place the ornament on our Christmas tree every year in his memory.
“To this day, we have only one idea where our kitten came from. It’s all in what you believe. True story.”

Florence Brockunier | Jennerstown

“Sometime in the 70s, I started making my favorite Xmas decorations to put in our front yard,” writes Florence Brockunier of Jennerstown. “I bought some hardboard at Boswell Lumber Co., brought it home and sketched parts of a beautiful Christmas card we had received. Then, I used our electric handsaw and cut out the shepherd and three sets of sheep. When my husband came home from teaching science at Boswell High School, he helped me cut stakes to attach to the back of the shepherd and six sheep. Then we painted them and set them up in the yard.
“In later years, I added a spotlight to make it easy to see at night. I have put it up every year since and I still enjoy seeing it. The small child in the picture is our youngest of six.”

Judith Matlin | Johnstown

“In 1942, I went to live with my paternal grandparents,” writes Judith Matlin of Johnstown. “This beautiful little Christmas angel was always placed on top of the Christmas tree by my grandmother. When I married and moved out of my grandparents’ home, I was given the Christmas angel. Every year, she is at the top of my Christmas tree. When my sons were old enough to help decorate, they wouldn’t put any ornaments on the tree until the Christmas angel was in her rightful place at the top. My Christmas tree is smaller now than in years past, but the beautiful Christmas angel will always be at the top of my tree.”

Dorothy Leary | Ebensburg

This Christmas star was made by my son, Billy, way back in he was in grade school — probably first or second grade,” writes Dorothy Leary of Ebensburg. “He was so proud to bring home his matchstick creation. It has been a part of our Nativity set for over 40 years.”

Anna Zambotti | Jerome

“My husband Guido and I were married in October 1945,” writes Anna Zambotti of Jerome. “We were living in Florida because he was in the service. Christmas ornaments were not available and all I  had was a box of icicles. In 1946, I bought decorations, including my special angel tree topper. She has remained as beautiful as the day I bought her. She adorns our Christmas tree today as she has the past 66 years. Blessed merry Christmas.”

Marie (Wood) Fletcher | Johnstown

“My ‘guardian angel’ has helped me through many rough times,” writes Marie Fletcher of Johnstown. “My whole house is full of angels. I believe everyone has a ‘guardian angel.’ I have over 300 angels made of many materials. Many I have received as gifts. Some were my mom’s, so are older than I am.
“You, too, can be a ‘guardian angel.’ ”

Bob Nagy | Windber

“This Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer has been used by my family every year since 1975,” writes Bob Nagy of Windber. “It used to be on a wall of a hunting cabin, but it was ver old and every time someone closed the door, plaster of Paris fell out of the nose, until it was hollowed out.
“I brought it home and cut the bad part off, put a socket and a red light in it, tinfoil on the antlers, some tinsel and a bell and my daughter and grandchildren have had a Rudolph ornament for Christmas for 37 years! It is a fixture at our home during Christmas.”

Sue Kist | Mineral Point

“These are some of the thin slices of tree stumps from Christmas trees we’ve had over the years,” writes Sue Kist of Mineral Point. “When our three daughters were younger, it was always a tradition to bundle up warm and go pick out a Christmas tree from a local tree farm. It always involved a lot of looking, giggling and some snowball ambushes before we found a perfect tree. We’d all sign the small piece my husband would cut off the end.
“I smile when I see how the kids’ signatures have changed from their pre-school scribbles. We switched to an artificial tree when the kids got older, but every time I look at these stump rounds, I can vividly picture our littlest daughter pointing out trees from atop my hubby’s shoulders, my twins playing hide-and-seek under the trees and the fun we had decorating the tree when we got it home.
“Have a very blessed Christmas!”

Pat Gundermann

“This ornament was passed down from my grandparents,” writes Pat Gundermann. “We are not sure what the significance of the beetle is.”

Jim & Joan Adams | Johnstown

“This is a picture of our first Christmas tree,” writes Joan Adams of Johnstown. “In November of 1966, I flew to Germany to be with my husband, who was in the service. We could not afford much at that time, so we bought this 1 1/2-foot tall aluminum tree.
“The tree has decorated our home for the past 46 Christmases. Every year, when I’m putting up the tree, I realize how fortunate we are.
“The tree may not look like much but it holds a special place in my heart and will continue to decorate our home for many more years.”

Jean Hammer | Johnstown

“In my tour of the Holy Land in 1992,” writes Jean Hammer of Johnstown, “I found the Nativity scene I wanted in in the Dormition Abbey.”

Marian Madison | Summerhill

“In the 70s, we purchased a Mr. and Mrs. Santa at Schettig’s Hardware Store in Ebensburg,” writes Marian Madison of Summerhill. “All through the years, it has become a tradition that our family — and everyone else who visits us over the Christmas season — have their picture taken with Mr. and Mrs. Santa.
“The countless photos from over the years hold many precious memories.”

Leo & Kay Hintosh | Central City

“My mother, 83-year-old Kay Hintosh, enjoys the many Christmas ornaments she’s collected over the years,” writes Leo Hintosh of Central City. “They take her over a week to display in her home. Her most cherished is the Nativity set she remembers her mother setting up every Christmas at their Southside home in Pittsburgh, back in the 30s.
“The set and figurines are close to a century old — if not older — and still have the 15-cent price tag from the store they were purchased at, which was called Autenreith’s. It was a five-and-dime and hardware store combination.”

Marilyn Robb | Beaverdale

“I am a tea drinker,” writes Marilyn Robb of Beaverdale. “I was usually joined by a few friends. Friends move, but they left me with memories and miniature crystal teacups for my Christmas tree.
“To go over the miniature teacups, teapots were purchased while on vacation. As time passed, I had enough teacups and teapots to do a tree. The tree I have now has over 10 ‘tea’ ornaments.”

Janie Strasiser | Windber

“Two remarkable women left me this display,” writes Janie Strasiser of Windber. “My mom, Mary Zelenok and mother-in-law Evelyn Strasiser. The little church is musical and plays ‘How Great Thou Art.’ It is made out of plastic canvas and yarn with a bell on top.
“Through the years, all of us attended Otterbein Methodist Church in Wilbur. It looked just like this one. Church and giving to others was on my mothers’ lists — not just at Christmas but all year around. I try to follow in their footsteps.”

Dolly Yonkoski | Dunlo

“This manger scene is from the 50s,” writes Dolly (Richnausky) Yonkoski of Dunlo. “The figurines were bought at Grant’s in Windber. The pieces were 15 cents each. It was our manger scene growing up. Merry Christmas!”

Comfrey & Phyllis Ann Ickes | Boswell

“In the small town of Jenners, Pa.,” writes Phyllis Ann Ickes of Boswell, “lived a woodcarver by the name of Anthony S. McLarney and his wife, Effie Palasko McLarney. Tony made a lot of wooden mangers. The manger includes a light inside and a place to hang an angel. It also has a ladder and a wooden fence. Twelve dollars was a lot of money for a manger in 1956. I do not know where he acquired the 12 porcelain characters and animals for display.
“We are the proud owners of his craftsmanship."

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