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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Dolores Luther | Ebensburg
“I made this Santa Claus sleigh many years ago. I can’t remember when,” wrote 85-year-old Dolores Luther of Ebensburg. “This sleigh is made from a turkey breast. It is all in one piece. One Thanksgiving day, many years ago, I picked all the meat off the turkey without breaking the turkey breast. The turkey breast was sandpapered and painted white with gold sparkles. I found the instructions of how to make this sleigh in a newspaper.”
Charlotte Allen | Johnstown
“When my daughter, Penny Mognet — now Mrs. Roger Thomas Jr., — was 7 years old in the second grade at the old Meadowvale School in the Hornerstown section of Johnstown, her teacher gave her a box that looked like a big Bible,” wrote Charlotte Allen of Richland Township. “When we opened the box, it was the story of the birth of Jesus on both sides and a manger in the middle of the story with the rubber baby Jesus lying in the hay-like bedding. Over the years, the box has totally deteriorated. My daughter is now 54 years old and lives in Elton. Her younger sister, Cindy now Mrs. Randall Kessler, lives in Union, Kentucky. She get homesick especially around the holidays so after having the baby Jesus under our Christmas tree for over 45 years, we decided to send it to Cindy and she puts the baby Jesus under her Christmas tree now in Kentucky. Penny and I like the fact that the baby Jesus is under Cindy’s Christmas tree. It is still a special family tradition.”
Carmela Cascino | Johnstown
“These are a few of the delicate Christmas ornaments my mother-in-law, Angeline Cascino, crocheted years ago for her children and grandchildren,” wrote Carmela Cascino of Johnstown. “They have adorned our Christmas tree every year since she made them. She also made beautiful tablecloths, warm afghans and bedspreads for her entire family and friends. Thanks for the memories ‘Nana.’”
Stacey Lewis | South Fork
“This rattle belonged to my grandmother, Mary McCarthy, from the year 1912,” wrote Stacey Lewis of South Fork. “It became a family tradition that each child 's first rattle be placed on the Christmas tree. At my grandmother's last Christmas in 1997 there were rattles from her five daughters, 16 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Her daughters - Camilla Terek, Molly Chunta, Charlene Chaney, Cynthia Chaney and Stephanie Mills - have continued this family tradition.”
Mary Ann Naret | Central City
“It started in the late 1960’s with six socks- one for each of our children, five boys and one girl,” wrote Mary Ann Naret of Central City. “As the family grew, a new sock appeared at Christmas. There are 12 children (including spouses), 17 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren, which brings to a total of 40 socks now hanging on the fireplace, and I was recently informed of another great grandchild on the way. All are handmade, except for the first six, which were just package decorations. Everyone looks forward to finding their sock and to see the new additions every year.”
Annette Kopco Sinosky | Johnstown
“My dad, Albert Kopco, gave this fireplace to my mom, Agnes, for Christmas the year before they were married 1944,” Annette Kopco Sinosky of Johnstown. “You wind the crank on the side and it plays a little lullaby. Daddy added many of the little decorations, a light above the logs, and all his love shines in it. Daddy passed away in 2009, but Mom still cherishes it and displays it in her living room each year during the Christmas season. This small fireplace brings back many fond memories and has been a part of every Christmas of our lives.”
Adrian Mussio | Johnstown
“This is a 100-year-old persepio, which is the Italian version of the Nativity,” wrote Adrian Mussio of Johnstown. “This scene originated in Italy and was handed down from my great-grandmother to my grandmother. We now share its cherished history in Johnstown.”
“This is our Plasticville Christmas village, Rob Eckenrod. “It's been under our tree for over 60 years. We know because it was a front page photo in The Tribune-Democrat for my sister Pat's 1st birthday (1951 or 1952). The story was about her and my mother, Florence, sharing Jan. 1st as a birthday.”
Cathy J. Bodenschatz | Johnstown
“This Christmas church was hand made by my aunt, Ethel Buck of Nanty-Glo, for her sister, my mother, Irene Makin, age 81 of Colver. My mother handed it down to me a few years ago and I now enjoy it in my home,” wrote Cathy J. Bodenschatz of Johnstown. “Believe it or not, this church is approximately 45 years old. There is a light inside of it and also a music box that plays ‘Silent Night’ Every evening, we turn our living room lights out and enjoy the warmth of the lite of the little Christmas church.
Judy Nichols | Richland
“Back in 1964, when my father was a chemistry professor at a small college in Fairfield, Iowa, an older woman from our church rang our doorbell one day in early December and gave my mother a box containing Christmas stockings for my two sisters and me,” wrote Judy Nichols, of Richland Township. “The woman who made our stockings, Bea Wheatley, designed each one herself and made them from wool felt she ordered from England. They are hand sewn with sequins and beads. I have continued the tradition by designing and making stockings for each new member of my own family – my husband, my boys, nieces, nephews, etc. Over the years, I have made 15 additional green, sequined stockings. The original three stockings are now scattered - one in Minnesota with my older sister, one in Baltimore with my younger sister, and mine here in Johnstown.”
Susan Pribulsky | Richland
“We have a Christmas tree covered with only cross ornaments,” wrote Susan Pribulsky of Richland Township. “The crosses are very special because they are all gifts from family and friends or souveniers from our travels. The crosses reflect our faith and help to remind us that Christ's birth would mean very little without His great sacrifice on the cross.”
Rosemary Onderko | Windber
“My husband and I were married in April 1961,” wrote Rosemary Onderko of Windber. “Christmas Eve that year we were shopping in Miracle Mart and I spotted this nativity (it is actually a night light). It has been one of several nativity scenes we put out every Christmas for the past 51 years. The three angels in front of the nativity were a part of the Christmas scene at my home that my mother would put out every year.”
“This Santa Claus was in my husband’s (Ben) home. It is from 1944,” said Alice Cobaugh. “We used to put up every year and we would have to put a regular bulb in because you couldn’t buy the bubble bulbs. We were so excited when we could buy the bubble light again. That’s the way it was originally and back in those times that was something. It’s not something you can buy today.”
Jake Waligora | Johnstown
“As a kid growing up in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, it was a family tradition to put up a live tree in this tree stand,” wrote Jake Waligora of Johnstown. ”Around 1968, we went to an artificial tree and sadly the stand was lost. Nearly 40 years later in 2005, I had the opportunity to tour the Santa Claus Museum in Lancaster with my close friends, Todd and Betty Smith, and their family. They had an array of old tree stands on display, including the one from my childhood. To my surprise, I received the stand as a gift from these dear friends in 2011. I learned they were able to locate it on the Internet.”
Della Latoche | Cresson
“The Latoche family cherishes this nativity set which was painstakingly hand-painted and given to them by dear friends over 40 years ago,” wrote Della Latoche of Cresson. “The set has great detail, including gems in the gifts of the wise men. Robert Latoche hand-crafted the stable in which the nativity set is displayed. he two families maintained a life-long friendship, through many ups and downs, including the recent loss of one family member after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Every year, when the Latoche family sets up the nativity, they are flooded with a rush of memories of a more than 50-year-long friendship as well as being filled with the true spirit of the Christmas season.”
Jack Coyle | Mount Aloysius College
“Located just inside the Mount Aloysius College main building you will find the fabled Golden Stairway. It starts or ends, depending upon your ascent or descent, at an oaken foyer that joins the center hallway. For generations of Mounties, during Christmas-time this location has housed the crèche scene and the school’s Christmas tree,” wrote Jack Coyle, director of communications at college. This year the tree is decorated with angels – cards that held the contact information of families and children in need of help for the holidays. Initiated by the college's Campus Ministry team, the Angel Tree effort means that nearly 160 area families and many children will have blessings from a special Santa this year.”
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