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.
These ornaments and stories came from Meribeth DeBarto's 6th-grade language arts classes at Conemaugh Township Middle School. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
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"Have you been naughty or nice this year?" wrote Jasmin Homan. "This ornament I chose describes me. It describes how I adore penguins. It also shows winter is a very nice holiday. This isn't just any ornament to me. This ornament describes many siblings, too. How they are naughty and nice. Both brothers and sisters. This ornament may not be the best, but in a way it is. It's kind of funny once you take a glance at it."
"My favorite ornament is my angel," wrote Logan Walerysiak. "It is my favorite ornament because when I was little, my Mom and Dad got it for my first Christmas. We have been hanging it on our tree ever since I got it. It is made of glass so we keep it in a cardboard box filled with foam. We put the box in the attic where no one can break it. When it is Christmas, it is the first one to go up. When it is time to take the things off the tree, it is the last to go down. This ornament is worth a lot to me and I could never put a price tag on it. That is why I picked it."
"One of my favorite activities during the Christmas season is decorating the Christmas tree," wrote Lauren Gregorich. "My favorite ornament is a little baby cuddled up in a stocking. The ornament is ceramic and white, with my name painted in red on it. It is about three inches and also has a tiny scarf. I received the ornament for Christmas in 2008. My aunt Lisa and uncle Brian gave me the ornament. They usually give me an ornament as one of my Christmas gifts. My uncle Brian has since passed away so when I see the ornament, I always think of him. Christmas is certainly a time for special memories."
"My favorite Christmas ornaments are gingerbread people," wrote Matt Janshego. "These ornaments were my first Christmas presents. I used to play with them all the time. That's why they are special to me. They represent my two sisters and I. There are two girls and one boy. They are very small and look like gingerbread people. They are orange and they wear little scarves. These are my favorite Christmas ornaments. I have had them since I was a baby."
"My first Christmas ornament is special to me," wrote Josie Blank. "It was my first one. Also, it hangs on my Christmas tree every year. It hangs in the very front so everyone can see it. My grandma got it for me. Every year on Christmas we go to her house to eat and then we go to church. On the very front, there is a brown teddy bear and a bunny rocking on a rocking horse. That's why it's my favorite ornament."
"When I was young, I loved to collect Nativities," wrote Alex Zakucia. "My favorite collection is my Nativity collection. Right now, I have a little over 30 of them. I have one that uses a giant nut from Panama as a stable. Also, I have a Nativity that was made by my great-grandpa (the largest one). My oldest one was made before World War I. When I was in 1st-grade art class, I made a clay Nativity and my art teacher took me around to the different art classes to show the teachers. My first Nativity was given to me by my Sunday school teacher when I was in 1st-grade. During kindergarten, I got my first Bible. I thought it was just a book, so I brought it to school each day and read it while everyone was playing. Every year, my grandma and grandpa get me a new Nativity. That is why I collect Nativities."
"Have you ever thought about what your favorite ornament or decoration might be?" wrote Tim Lonas. "My favorite ornament or decoration is the Christmas tree. My Christmas tree has icicles, ornaments, an angel on top of the tree and lights. Around the Christmas tree is a town with a merry-go-round that makes a sound whenever you turn it on. There is also a train that you control to make it go around the town. I did not receive the tree. My family and I have kept the tree for years.The Christmas tree is special to me because my family and I decorate the tree — and do everything else — as a family. This is why my favorite ornament or decoration is the Christmas tree."
"Have you ever had a little elf running around your house, knocking bowls over?" wrote Patrick McGinnis. "The Elf on the Shelf is a mischievious elf who watches you for Santa. It was a gift from my mother. She ordered it in November 2012. It is funny seeing him spilling fruit all over the floor or writing on the old cabinets and setting up for his next plan. He is special to me, and it's a fun decoration for Christmas. The Elf wears a red hat and red clothing. It is a Christmas tradition we are enjoying every year from now on."
"Whoosh! Went Jerry, our Elf on a Shelf Christmas decoration," wrote Brianne Shaffer. "He is a magical elf that comes to houses and hides in small places. Jerry watches to see if my little sister, Aubrey, and I are good. If we aren't good, he tells Santa and puts us on the naughty list. I got him from Ashley, my stepmom. Jerry is tan wth blue eyes and brown hair. One time, he came into my room and hid. He is a very special decoration. It is the first Elf on a Shelf I've ever received. I hope to have him for long time, too."
"At Christmas time, it seems like everyone is putting up their lights and decorations," wrote Taya Kimmel. "As you can imagine, at three years old, I had absolutely no idea how much decorating and hard work Christmas could be. I didn't understand the true meaning of Christmas. To me, it occurres that everybody should get meaningless presents that they would want to return the next day. 2004 was my first ballet recital. I did a good job for the most part and I didn't expect anything in return. When I came out, I saw my first Christmas present of that year. It was a little ballerina ornament. Right then, I knew that giving should come from the heart. It didn't matter if the gifts were the most expensive or the shiniest. My ballerina ornament is my reminder of the true meaning of giving."
"When I see the snowman football player, I see my dad," wrote Devin Foster. "I see my dad because he was my coach for six years. It is also red, black and white for CT pride. When I saw this ornament at Bon-Ton, it just stuck out. It looked different. It was saying, 'Hey, look at me, I'm different.' " The ornament is also tall and I'm tall. When I look at the back, it reminds me of my friends and when we hang out. Overall, it is the coolest ornament I have ever seen. Even though it looks different, it is still my favorite."
"Christmas is a magical time of year," wrote Tessa Showalter, "with trees, presents and mangers. It is important to know what Christmas is really, truly about. Christmas is about Jesus, who came to Earth as a baby to die on the cross and save us from our sins. What better way to learn than to have Nativities around the house? I keep three in my room to remind me that Christmas isn't about Santa Claus but the little bundle of joy that was placed in a manger that cold winter night. When I go downstairs, there is one under the tree that my grandma made. There are shepherds dressed in robes, angels with halos, wise men with their gifts, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. On the fridge, there is a stable which is also a magnet. My family and I put a piece of the set on for each day of December. There are Nativities throughout my house, on the mantle, under the tree, on the fridge and in my room. They remind me what Christmas is really about."
"My special red bulb is the best ornament on my Christmas tree," wrote Bailey Kist. "This red bulb is meaningful. It is a memory I have of my Pap. The bulb is red with silver glitter on it. It also has a silver top and silver string to hold it on the Christmas tree. I made the bulb for my Pap when I was two years old. It was a present I gave to him. A few months later, my Pap died. I now have the bulb I made for him. It's also unique. It is the only red bulb I have. This is my special ornament honoring my Pap."
"Christmas decorations are a special piece of art," wrote Kendra Moore. "My favorite Christmas decoration is the angel placed on the top of the tree. It shines brightly in the window, creating a fuzzy feeling. The angel is always placed on the top of the tree by me. My first memory is of my mom lifting me to the top of the tree. It reminds me of the angel when baby Jesus was born. Also the way it glows reminds me of the Star of David that shined over the stable. I love my angel from my great-grandma. I love Christmas!"
"There are many ornaments on my Christmas tree in my house," wrote Jordan Poznanski. "The ornament that I chose is my football bear ornament. It is a bear that has a helmet and a jersey. My grandma got it for me right before last Christmas. This ornament means a lot to me because it is the only sports ornament on my tree. That is why this ornament is so important to me out of many on my Christmas tree."
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