What was the most significant holiday gift you have ever received? Are there special family memories associated with it?
This is a guest post by Karen, MyHeritage's country manager for Germany.
Everyone knows that feeling of really wanting something with all your heart. For some, it may have been a first bike, a soccer ball, or maybe a special book. The gift that I dreamed of and wished for was a puppy. I remember the many months trying to convince my parents that I would be responsible and take care of a dog with love and affection. My parents kept trying to dissuade me of the idea. They told me the dog would mess up the house, eat our shoes, scratch the door, shed hair everywhere and that we would never again be able to take a vacation.
Thanksgiving is one of the year's busiest travel times in the United States. According to the US Bureau of Transportation, the number of long-distance trips (50 miles or more) increases by 54 percent around Thanksgiving.
Visiting friends and family is the single biggest reason Americans travel during the holidays. The visits account for 53 percent of all Thanksgiving trips. The average Thanksgiving trip is 214 miles. In 2012, AAA estimated that nearly 44 million people traveled during the holiday weekend - 90 percent traveled by car; the rest traveled by air, train or bus.
Year after year, Americans gather around the table on the fourth Thursday of November to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many recognize its origins as connected to the 1621 Pilgrim feast and thanksgiving prompted by a good harvest, but few know the woman responsible for making the celebration official. Sarah Josepha Hale, author and poet, fought to institutionalize Thanksgiving. Through her efforts, it was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln.
This Thanksgiving is 152 years since the proclamation by President Lincoln, making it a national holiday. MyHeritage decided to locate the descendants of Sarah Hale and to look deeper into the legacy passed down through the generations of her family.
Sarah Josepha Buell was born October 24, 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire. She married lawyer David Hale in 1813, and the couple had five children. A writer and influential editor, she wrote letters to politicians for 27 years advocating for Thanksgiving to become an official holiday. Until then, Thanksgiving was celebrated mainly in New England, and on different dates in each state.
Hale wrote letters to five different US presidents: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. Although her initial letters failed to yield results, her letter to Lincoln convinced him to support 1863 legislation to establish the national holiday of Thanksgiving.
Today we commemorate the brave men and women in your families who fought for their countries. Earlier this week, we asked you to send in stories and photographs of your family's war heroes. By paying tribute to them and to their sacrifices, we hope to remember them and to preserve their legacies. Lest we forget.
Across generations and around the world, families have been affected by war. Relatives have had to put aside family life in service of their country, and some even made the ultimate sacrifice.
For many, the act of remembering the fallen heroes of past wars is not just of national significance; it's also familial and personal. We pay our respects to the brave men and women who fought for their countries, and who are also remembered by the relatives who lost them.
Excitement builds as we approach the holidays and preparations get underway. Family holiday cards are a longstanding Christmas tradition, and to many, an integral part of the lead-up to the holiday season. Each year, over 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the US alone.
The very first Christmas card was commissioned by a UK government worker, Sir Henry Cole, in 1843 when he was too busy to write to his friends himself. Printed in black and white, they were originally colored by hand.
Only a handful of the 1,000 originally printed were sold, probably because of their prohibitively expensive price of one shilling.
It was only many years later that the tradition caught on. Sending cards became even more popular in Victorian times (1870s) when the cost of mailing Christmas cards dropped to a half-penny.
In the US, the first Christmas cards were produced in the late 1840s, but were too expensive for most people. They became more affordable in 1875, when a German printer began mass-producing them. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, still one of the biggest sellers of Christmas cards today!
Here at MyHeritage, we're searching for your oldest family Christmas card. What's the oldest Christmas card that you have in your family? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's never too early to start thinking about gifts for the holidays. Now is the perfect time to start planning, to reduce unwanted stress and chaos in December, making your life easier. Early planning also allows you to fully enjoy the holiday season, leaving you free to spend time with your family, and revel in your favorite activities, yearly traditions and celebrations.
A poster of your family tree, can be a very special gift for just about anyone on your list. A poster can be created very easily, with just a few clicks on your family site. Personalizing a poster can make it a one-of-a-kind and unique gift. It can be ordered on your family site, from the comfort of your own home, and sent anywhere in the world!
During summer vacations, many parents scramble to find fun and enjoyable things for their children to do and keep them occupied. For many children, the beginning of September means the sad end to their summers.
Happy 239th birthday, America!
Also known as Independence Day, Americans come together on July 4 to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the country’s birthday.
A great time to celebrate American heritage, it is also fun to share the holiday with families at barbecues, picnics, parades, fairs, firework displays and other family activities.
Happy Father’s Day! Today we honor the men in our lives who helped shape us to be who we are.
Fathers, grandfathers and step-fathers teach us many things. Whether it’s an important life lesson, how to dance, ride a bike or being a source of wisdom, they are essential to our upbringing.
In honor of Father’s Day, our research team took a look at how the role of fatherhood has changed throughout the years and compared what life was like for fathers in the past century.
With more women working, fathers are taking more time from their working lives to enjoy their children and playing a larger part in family care. We recently wrote about how fathers are spending seven times more with their children than in the 1970s.