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!
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Courthouse carols | Ebensburg
The Cambria County courthouse in Ebensburg was filled with the sights and sounds of the season Friday as the borough’s Dickens of a Christmas began. Carols were performed by costumed carolers: (from left) Peggy Stiles, Karen Fugini, Scott Ellenberger, Suzi Thomas, Pam McCall, Gina Tusing and Doug Tusing. The singers were accompanied by Fremont McKenrick. Cecelia Farabaugh and Arlene Farabaugh were absent.
Terri Vassilaros | Aurora, Colo.
“In 1974, I was creating my first Christmas tree away from home,” wrote Terri Vassilaros of Aurora, Colo. “My dad, who loves Christmastime, knew this was a special time for me and he took me shopping for my first ornaments. It was a shopping trip I still remember today. I picked out some fun ornaments with his help. He reminded me that a tree is not complete without a topper. He said that this is a very special ornament and to take my time. I picked out a little angel to put on my treetop. She wasn’t very big, and did not light up or play music. She was made of plastic, glitter wings and cotton to trim her gown, but to me she was very special. She would be on top of my first Christmas tree. (Parents are Bill and Lois Sievers of Richland Township.)
Evelyn Frye | Westwood
“I’m so grateful that I have a big family that comes to stay with me during the holidays,” wrote Evelyn Frye of Westwood. “But my house is so small that all of us don’t fit with a Christmas tree, too. I had the idea to make a wall-mounted tree. About 21 years ago, my son-in-law, Jeff DeLisa, cut plywood into a triangle shape, painted it green, added holes for lights and screwed in cup hooks, which allow me to display my favorite ornaments. My hanging tree puts me in the holiday spirit every year.”
Clare Ann Lasinsky | Ebensburg
“This decoration takes me back to when I was a child to one of the first times I saw wedding photos of my parents. I thought how beautiful my mother looked in her elegant wedding gown,” wrote Clare Ann Lasinsky of Ebensburg. “The lovely antique roses in my centerpiece were made from that very gown. It was worn by Mary Ellen Baker on June 18, 1946, when she became Mrs. Joseph Pearson. I will forever treasure the roses and cherish the beautiful thoughts they bring to mind.”
Eileen & Jim Winski | Westmont
“This (decoration) was made by our daughter, Tammi Winski, in 1971 when she was 5 years old in kindergarten at Conemaugh Valley School,” wrote Eileen and Jim Winski of Westmont. “She wrote on the back of it: ‘To Mom, Dad, & Cheri’ who was her 8-year-old sister at that time. She was very proud of her accomplishment and so are we. Our sweet little girl passed away in October 1973 at the age of 7. She was a student at Sacred Heart Catholic School then. We have placed (this decoration) on our tree every year since then and could never imagine having a Christmas tree without this special decoration. It is the most precious item and memory we possess. Thank you for letting us share this with everyone.”
Janice Alt | Elton
“My husband, Richard, is a woodcarver,” wrote Janice Alt of Elton. “We buy antique wooden mashers and rolling pins and he carves pictures on them. Every year we put the wooden mashers on the fireplace mantle. On the mashers he carves Santa heads. On the rolling pins he has put Santa, Rudolph, poinsettias and snowmen. They are all one of a kind. He has been carving now for 20 years or more.”
Brenda Ward | Upper Yoder
“My son, Ray Ward, has been collecting nutcrackers and smokers since he was 5 years old,” wrote Brenda Ward of Upper Yoder Township. “He is 19 years old now. We had to move them to the top of the piano this year because there were so many.”
Cindy Thompson | Johnstown
“My most treasured Christmas decoration is a ceramic nativity given to my parents, Melvin and Thelma Drummond, from our special aunt and uncle, Francis and Marian Burkardt,” wrote Cindy Thompson of Johnstown. “Aunt Marian had an amazing talent when it came to ceramics and I am in awe every year as I proudly display the beautifully done pieces. Each is so perfectly detailed and I can only imagine the love and countless hours that went into making this exquisite gift for our family. It became a tradition of mine to help my dad put it up at our home in Boswell after my Mom died in 1992 and I have taken great joy in displaying it ever since in my home. My aunt and Dad are also deceased and so it is a priceless reminder of the many wonderful Christmas memories of Mom and Dad and Aunt Marian and Uncle Bud.”
Kathy Martynuska | Lilly
“These sea shells were gathered from a beach at Kitty Hawk, N.C. where our family enjoyed Thanksgiving in 2011,” wrote Kathy Martynuska of Lilly. “We decorated each shell and gave them as ‘gifts from the sea’ to family and friends. They were unique and very meaningful to the beach lover in all of us. The shells in this photo are displayed on a crocheted doily crafted by a talented family member. The buffet upon which the shells were photographed has been in the family for 70 years. It is interesting that the focal design on the back panel is none other than a sea shell.”
Jackie Williamson | Westmont
“Our Christmas tree (is decorated) with gingerbread ornaments that I made, decorated and preserved in 1995 as a project to keep me occupied when our daughter left for college,” wrote Jackie Williamson of Westmont. “I also made most of the other ornaments, as well as the tree skirt. We had used them often, then we moved to Westmont and I changed my Christmas tree theme. However, two years ago, my husband said, ‘Let's use your ornaments again.’ We are so glad we did. My mantel (is decorated) with snowmen that we have collected over the 35 years we have been married.”
“A few years ago, we were trying to do a retro Christmas display but I was frustrated after being constantly outbid on aluminum trees on eBay,” wrote Rick Truscello. “My Mother reminded me that we had one in the 60’s and my late father probably tucked it away in the attic. After a long search in a cramped attic, I found the box covered with four decades of dust alongside a box of old ornaments. The display now graces our living room every third Christmas. Mom is gone now too so when I set it up I think of those wonderful Christmases in the 1960’s and of my parents.”
Joyce Kozielec | Davidsville
“Our Christmas tree has yearly official White House ornaments which are issued each year by the White House Historical Association,” wrote Joyce Kozielec of Davidsville. “As far as I know they have been offering them since 1981. I worked at the White House, under President Nixon in 1970 and 1971, and felt it was such an honor and privilege, that, as soon as these were offered, I started collecting them. I now have 32. I trim the tree with the gold ornaments, gold ribbon, balls and bows. My family looks forward every year to the White House Tree.”
Patti Price | Johnstown
“These two knitted stockings are special to me because they were actually the beginning of my love of knitting,” wrote Patti Price of Johnstown. “When my girls were 1 month and 3 years of age in September 1981, I saw one of these stockings in the old Richland Mall and knew I had to make them. Unfortunately I didn’t know how to knit, so I walked into the store and signed up for a class. The teacher thought I was crazy to start with a project so detailed, but I was determined. My girls are now 34 and 31 and the stockings have hung on our mantle at Christmastime ever since.”
Linda Meyers | Johnstown
“Sept. 19, 2013 will mark 40 years since I had open heart surgery,” wrote Linda Meyers of Johnstown. “I was only 9 years old at the time and the hospital stay then was two weeks. We became very close to other children that were recovering as well as their families. When the holidays arrived that year, I received a Christmas card from one of the other patients and in it was this gingerbread man ornament. The years since have awarded me with an amazing husband and two grown sons. I have kept (the ornament) all of these years as a reminder of that milestone in my life and how far I have come because of it.”
Mary Claire Miller | Johnstown
“Christmas ... Bah Humbug! Not really, but this sign has such a special meaning for me,” wrote Mary Claire Miller of Johnstown. “Growing up, my father was the original Christmas cheerleader! He would be so excited to surprise everyone and truly enjoyed gift buying. He did the usual outside lights, but never anything elaborate. Sometime in the early 70's, my hometown of Mount Union was holding a decorating contest, and lo and behold my father had this orange and black, no less, sign made and placed it in the front yard! With a spotlight on it, it sure was a sight to see! The sign went up year after year and we would laugh at the same jokes, as we knew how much he loved Christmas. Upon my father’s passing I knew I had to have the sign. It gets placed in my front yard with the spotlight and every year my neighbors get a chuckle. This will be the 30th year for our sign and I still get as much enjoyment from it as my father did the first year he won "honorable mention" and had his picture on the front page of our daily newspaper.”
Suzie Thomas | Summerhill
“This Nativity set is special to me because this was the first item I made in ceramics class in the late ‘70s,” wrote Suzie Thomas of Summerhill. “It is mother-of-pearl. I put it on our end table the day I put our tree up. It reminds us of what the real meaning of Christmas is.”
Sheila Perman | Upper Yoder
“The spirit of the Christmas season is displayed in this simple watercolor of a Christmas tree,” wrote Sheila Perman of Upper Yoder Township. “This special painting was created for me by my friend, Leah, who was a resident of the Manor Nursing Home in Greensburg. The residents of the nursing home would participate in art classes and the staff would matt their art work for display and sale. The proceeds from the sale would be returned to the residents for additional art supplies. The pride and joy of this artist was visible in her eyes. I feel this pride and joy every Christmas when I display my friend's artwork. Her love was captured in this beautiful watercolor.”
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