The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 22, 2012

PICS | Your 2012 Holiday Decorations Part 1

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


Leann Geiser | Johnstown

“Christmas is our favorite time of the year and every year it seems that our living room is the favorite gathering spot for our closest friends and our wonderful family,” wrote Leann Geiser of Johnstown. “Christmas is a time of family and memories. Neither are overlooked with our Christmas tree and it starts with the fresh smell of frasier fir. It boasts homemade popcorn garland draped across the tree, onto the homemade ornaments with our families names on them and on down to the homemade wooden train my father made years ago circled around the tree. Ornaments aren’t hanging from our tree, memories are.”

Jim & Katie Hollis | Johnstown

“My husband, Jim Hollis, absolutely loves Christmas,” wrote Katie Hollis of Johnstown. “He is my interior decorator year round. But Christmas is his favorite time to decorate. We host our annual Christmas party because if you don't have those who are important in your life to share the holidays with, then the decorations have no meaning. My husband has had the manger scene for over 22 years
–  well before we were married. He built the stable our first Christmas we shared together in a tiny apartment.”

Don & Betty Falcone | Old Westmont

“My husband, Don Falcone, can't remember a Christmas when this treasured nativity set wasn't under the Christmas tree of his parents, the late Jim and Betty Falcone of Old Westmont,” wrote Patty Falcone of Upper Yoder Township. “The sturdy cardboard stable has real straw glued to the roof. The figurines are made of clay pottery and are permanently attached to the floor. A circular hole in the back was used to insert the last bulb on the string of Christmas tree lights, illuminating the interior of the crèche. Another interesting fact is that the original price tag is still attached to the bottom and reads: ‘Penn Traffic Co. Johnstown PA $.95 cents.’ Don estimates that it was purchased in the early to mid 1960's. It certainly has become a more valuable treasure than its original list price!”

Eileen Litzinger | Richland

“My dad made this tree stand in 1961,” wrote Eileen Litzinger of Richland Township. “The inside is furnished with wallpaper and handmade furniture. It holds a 6-foot artificial tree. Everyone loves to lay on floor and peek in at Santa standing by fireplace as it is lighted. It is very special as most people never heard of a stand like this. My five grandchildren enjoy it and someday it will be passed on to them.”

Dorothy Clark | Johnstown

“This nativity set has passed down three generations in my family,” wrote Dorothy Clark of Johnstown. “My grandparents received it for their first Christmas together. They were married around 1915. It will be passed onto future generations.”

Gaile Krumenacker | Johnstown

“I worked at Glosser's in their notions department in the late 60's,” wrote Gaile Krumenacker of Johnstown. “During the holidays, that department expanded to a trim-a-tree area of the store. I bought the aluminum tree and stand for my then future in-laws who have since passed. My husband and I inherited this tree and it is now set up inside our breezeway, so that it's one of the first decorations visitors see.”

Kathy Wilson Scileny | Ebensburg

“My mom and dad, John and Helen Wilson of Ebensburg, were married 60 years ago in March,” wrote Kathy Wilson Scileny of Ebensburg. “My dad was career Navy and my mom kept the homefires burning. We lived up and down the east coast, but in our home there were the ‘constants,’ – from the rug that would be unrolled, the curtains that they both would rework, to dad's home-built furniture. A ‘constant’ that endures to this day, beside their loving marriage, are some Christmas decorations. The (ball) ornament is from their first Christmas, spent in Washington, D.C. The angel is from my first Christmas, two years later. My brother and I have been blessed with our parents.”

Marianne Meyer

“These little elves were a promotional item packaged on Joy dish detergent bottles back in the 1950's,” wrote Marianne Meyer. My mother displayed them every year under our Christmas tree. They have always been a special reminder of my Christmases as a young girl. I now display them on the banister in our home.”

Kathy Puruczky | Summerhill

“This handmade Bethlehem, as it has been called in our family for years, was hand carved in the 1960's by my husband Bill’s great uncle John Kensek who lived in Twin Rocks,” wrote Kathy Puruczky of Summerhill. “Uncle spent all year using only hand tools to carve stables from the previous year’s Christmas trees he gathered from family members. Ours has been displayed proudly in our home for 41 Christmas seasons.”

Dawn Rosage Georgevich | Westmont

“I was only 7 years old when my grandma, Leona Rosage, created this beautiful 4-foot Christmas tree of pine cones,” wrote Dawn Rosage Georgevich of Westmont. “It was, I’m sure, her prized creation for the season. During the Christmas season, Leona, along with her daughters and sons, made wreaths with the greens that my grandfather would bring from Canada. They were the owners of Hilltop Nurseries. Their creations would be displaced on numerous churches and home all over the area. This decoration was different. It was one of a kind. Through the years it was adorned with different decorations. I remember sugared fruit, poinsettias, and even one year grandma put small brass photo frames of each of her grandchildren on the tree. The tree is 39 years old this year.”
It was November of 2007 when my grandmother passed. While the family went through her belongs dividing them among her children and grandchildren, I was asked what I would like to remember her by. It was this beautiful tree that I asked for. It’s the first thing that comes out of my attic every year. I love this tree and the connection it has with this beautiful woman that I had grown so close to in her last years.”

Rebecca Brown Mayes | Davidsville

“Under our Christmas tree, you will find two very special buildings: a school house and a church,” wrote Rebecca Brown Mayes of Davidsville. “These buildings were made by my grandparents, Samuel and Ada Brown. They are made of cheese boxes and the church windows - stained glass - are made from the Sunday School cards my father, Robert Brown of Ligonier, brought home from church. These buildings were made in 1933 and have been part of the Christmas villages under our family trees for three generations. The school may look familiar to people who attended Dale High School.”

Peg Deitke | Johnstown

“My favorite ornament is the Star of David. My grandson, David, made it in preschool when he was 4 years old. It’s a simple ornament made of tongue depressors and gold glitter. He thought it was wonderful because it was named for him,” Peg Deitke of Johntown wrote. “When he gave it to me, he wanted to know where I was going to put it. I took him to the Christmas tree and my husband removed the angel tree topper then attached the Star of David. Last year my granddaughter asked me if I knew I had a Jewish star at the top of my tree. Smiling, I asked her was Jesus not a Jew? I like to think my star is the greatest star that brought shepherds, wisemen and me to worship at his manger. My Christmas wish this year is to the Jewish people - Happy Hanukkah, to the Christians - Merry Christmas and to everyone - Happy New Year.”

Joseph & Paulette Torchia | Johnstown

“This is one of our favorite,” wrote Joseph T. Torchia, a Johnstown resident for 72 years. “I think the churches have the most beautiful decorations and really say what the season is about. This is the church my wife, Paulette, and I go to in Daytona Beach. It is called Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Nancy Russo | Johnstown

“The three Magi adorn the dining room table set for our special guests,” wrote Nancy Russo of Johnstown.

Cindy Khula Turner

“My father handmade this sleigh in 1961 before he passed away in 1962 when I was 5 years old,” wrote Cindy Khula Turner. “When he made this little red sleigh I was 4 years old at the time and he had let me put on the sparkling snowflakes as I was told by my mother. We were so proud of our little project we made together. Little did he know that, 50 years since his death, this little red sleigh would be my most cherished and loved Christmas decoration. My mother had always displayed this sleigh every year at Christmas and had handed it down to me 25 years ago. When I look at this little red sleigh it takes me back to those few short years I had with him and the closeness of a father and daughter and to me this is the true meaning of Christmas. Every year I proudly display my little red sleigh in the dining room for all to see and as the family gathers together for Christmas dinner I still feel his presence is with us from above.”

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