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A Genealogist In The Archives: Recording Christmas Traditions

Monday, December 12, 2016

Recording Christmas Traditions

With less than 2 weeks until Christmas, I started thinking about how my family has celebrated Christmas my entire life. Then I thought about how my husband's family has celebrated Christmas all of his life. Comparing the two over the years, I have found that for the most part we celebrate the season pretty much the same with the exception of one BIG event, when Santa Clause makes his arrival. 

Seems my husband's family has always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. He explained to me that he would visit his Grandparents house early in the evening on Christmas Eve and then return to his own home later in the evening to find Santa Clause had come and there were presents under the tree.

Mitchum Drug Co. Christmas Advertisement, Houston County ,TN. Archives


In my own family, the tradition we followed was that Santa Clause wouldn't come until everyone was snug in their beds. So, when Christmas morning came, we all jumped up and headed to the living room to see what Santa had brought us. Sure enough, every year, Santa had visited the LeMaster home and left presents under the tree while we were sleeping.

Have you ever thought about your own Christmas traditions? How about your ancestor's traditions? Are you recording these traditions so that future generations will know why and how Christmas was celebrated in your family?

Christmas Greeting, Houston County, TN. Archives


In whatever way your ancestors celebrated Christmas, it should be recorded. If this yearly event was part of your ancestor's lives, you want to be careful to document it as much as possible just like you do a birth, marriage or death.

There are so many Christmas traditions from so many different cultures. Many of these traditions are being forgotten because they are not carried forward and practiced today by the descendants of those that started them in the first place. Whether you "believe" in Santa Clause or not, practice Christmas traditions or not, documenting and recording what your ancestors did at Christmas can help tell their life story and tell you more about the people you come from.

T.E. Bateman Christmas Business Letterhead, Houston County, TN. Archives


So, as you gather this Christmas with your family and friends, talk about why you celebrate Christmas the way you do. Ask family members if they remember any other traditions that were once practiced but no longer done today.


REMEMBER: IT'S NOT ALL ONLINE, CONTACT OR VISIT AN ARCHIVE TODAY!!

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