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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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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Slideshow:USS Somerset Commissioning
The USS Somerset was commissioned in Saturday in Philadelphia.
VIDEO: California couple strikes gold
A Northern California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across a modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree.
Family of Okla. man who died after police altercation releases video
Nair Rodriguez's voice can be heard loud and clear. With five law enforcement officers on top of her husband, Luis, she screamed over and over, "You kill him. You kill him."
VIDEO | Beam falls from ceiling of Assembly Hall
Tuesday night's Big Ten basketball game between Iowa and Indiana was postponed after a piece of metal fell from the ceiling onto seats at Assembly Hall. Here is a video showing the beam falling.
VIDEO | Spectacular ice caves on Lake Superior
Droves of people are braving the cold to hike a frozen Lake Superior to see dramatic ice caves in northern Wisconsin. Since the caves were deemed accessible in January, more than 35,000 have hiked to see the ice formations.
VIDEO | Parody shop 'Dumb Starbucks' opens for business
The proprietors of "Dumb Starbucks," a coffee shop that opened for business in Los Feliz on Saturday, say their establishment is a parody of the Seattle-based corporation.
VIDEO | Security camera footage of Corvette Museum sinkhole
Structural engineers were continuing to work Thursday to determine what caused the ground to give way beneath eight priceless Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. The museum has released security camera footage which captured the cave-in as it happened.
VIDEO | Canada women beat USA for hockey gold
Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice for the second straight Olympic gold medal game and Canada beat the United States 3-2 in overtime on Thursday for its fourth consecutive title.
VIDEO | Woman expecting triplets gives birth to identical quadruplets
A Mississippi mother got a big surprise, just days before Valentines Day.
VIDEO – Explosion rocks Johnstown neighborhood
A tractor-trailer caught fire and exploded today in the Old Conemaugh Borough section of Johnstown.
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