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Preview – Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories


Way back in late 2007, several genealogy bloggers had an idea: why not create an Advent calendar using different Christmas and holiday-related topics for each day?  Why not prompt other genealogy bloggers to write about family traditions and how they or their ancestors celebrated Christmas? Thus was born the first Advent Calendar of Christmas memories.

How It Works

  • Below you will find the prompts for each day leading up to December 25th. Topics cover Christmas trees, holiday foods, travel, religious services and more. We want to know how you, your family and your ancestors celebrated or continues to celebrate these traditions.
  • Conveniently, on certain days you’ll be able to “kill two carnivals with one post” as it were: your ACCM post can also be used on certain Madness Mondays or Treasure Chest Thursdays.  On December 10th, the prompt ties into the Smile for the Camera carnival and on December 15th, the prompt ties into the Carnival of Genealogy.
  • There are also two days (December 9th and 17th) designated as “Grab Bag” – meaning you can post on the holiday topic of your choice.
  • You aren’t required to submit a certain number of posts! The holiday season is meant to be enjoyable and is already littered with too many deadlines.  The goal here is to have genealogy bloggers write posts of interest to them – it can be 1 or 24!  This is meant to be fun not a burden.
  • There is no official submittal form and very few rules.  You simply must have your blog listed in the GeneaBloggers Blog Roll and use the words Advent Calendar in the beginning of your post title.  This will make it easier to find the posts and tag them in Google Reader.
  • Those who participated in 2007 are welcome to repost their earlier entries or create new ones.  Most of the topics are the same and, in fact, most of the dates even line up with those in 2007.
  • Starting December 1, 2009, the Advent Calendar will appear at the top of the GeneaBloggers page. You can click on that day’s date to reveal your prize: a list of all GeneaBloggers member blog posts for that topic.
  • Finally, while all posts will be listed for that day’s topic, we’ll also highlight those that really stand out in terms of writing style, creativity, humor, etc.

The number of genealogy bloggers has greatly increased over the past two years and ACCM should be an exciting way to write your family’s history while at the same time sharing those stories with your colleagues.

The Prompts

December 1 – The Christmas Tree
Did you have a real tree or was it artificial? How big was the tree? Who decorated the tree? What types of Christmas trees did your ancestors have?

December 2 – Holiday Foods
Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

December 3 – Christmas Tree Ornaments
Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?
(Note: this post can be used for Treasure Chest Thursday as well)

December 4 – Christmas Cards
Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors?

December 5 – Outdoor Decorations
Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

December 6 – Santa Claus
Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

December 7 – Holiday Parties
Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

December 8 – Christmas Cookies
Did your family or ancestors make Christmas Cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?

December 9 – Grab Bag
Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!

December 10 – Christmas Gifts
What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give? Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?
(Note: this post can also be used for the Smile for the Camera carnival)

December 11 – Other Traditions
Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa?  Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?

December 12 – Charitable/Volunteer Work
Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women’s shelter during the holidays? Or perhaps were your ancestors involved with church groups that assisted others during the holiday?

December 13 – Holiday Travel
Did you or your ancestors travel anywhere for Christmas? How did you travel and who traveled with you? Do you remember any special trips?

December 14 – Fruitcake – Friend or Foe?
Did you like fruitcake? Did your family receive fruitcakes? Have you ever re-gifted fruitcake? Have you ever devised creative uses for fruitcake?
(Note: you can also post about a “fruitcake ancestor” and use it for Madness Monday!)

December 15 – The Holiday Happenings!
Often times December to mid-January birthdays and anniversaries get over shadowed by the Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year holidays. So we’re going to shine a spotlight on those family members and ancestors this time around. Select one or more December to mid-January birthdays and/or anniversaries on your family tree. Write a short tribute to or memory of those birthday guys and gals and write a toast to the anniversary couples.
(Note: this post can be used for the 86th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy)

December 16 – Christmas at School
What did you or your ancestors do to celebrate Christmas at school? Were you ever in a Christmas Pageant?

December 17 – Grab Bag
Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!

December 18 – Christmas Stockings
Did you have one? Where did you hang it? What did you get in it? Do you have any Christmas stockings used by your ancestors?

December 19 – Christmas Shopping
How did your family handle Christmas Shopping? Did anyone finish early or did anyone start on Christmas Eve?

December 20 – Religious Services
Did your family attend religious services during the Christmas season? What were the customs and traditions involved?

December 21 – Christmas Music
What songs did your family listen to during Christmas? Did you ever go caroling? Did you have a favorite song?
(Note: perhaps there is a particular Christmas song that drives you mad – a perfect post to use for Madness Monday as well!)

December 22 – Christmas and Deceased Relatives
Did your family visit the cemetery at Christmas? How did your family honor deceased family members at Christmas?
(Note: you can also use this post for Tombstone Tuesday)

December 23 – Christmas Sweetheart Memories
Do you have a special memory of a first Christmas present from a sweetheart? How did you spend your first Christmas together? Any Christmas engagements or weddings among your ancestors?

December 24 – Christmas Eve
How did you, your family or your ancestors spend Christmas Eve?

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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