Many of our most special memories come from spending time with our families over the holidays.
We remember the dinners, gifts, songs and jokes we shared. Wonderful testimonials to these unique moments are the photos we will treasure for ever.
The MyHeritage team
What is it about holiday music? Those catchy tunes we can’t get out of our head? The musical notes that bring us back to earlier times?
It really doesn’t matter if the listener celebrates Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza; that winter music - religious or secular - just gets deep inside our bones. Important family events take place at the holidays, and a particular song may bring back all kinds of warm, fuzzy memories.
A favorite of mine is "Sleigh Ride," in the instrumental version by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Written by Leroy Anderson in 1948, Mitchell Paris added the lyrics in 1950. Here's the story behind the song. It is considered one of the top 10 most popular Christmas songs ever, even though the holiday is never mentioned in the lyrics.
It's also a great opportunity to make family history discoveries. Ask your relatives about their lives, and the lives of their parents. Asking about past family Thanksgiving celebrations can be an enjoyable conversation for all the family where you can learn how your ancestors celebrated and discover other unknown information.
Try and use the time when the family is all together to share with them what you've discovered about your collective family history. Who knows, perhaps you'll get a piece of information that will help you break down a brick wall in your research.
We tend to associate childhood memories with holidays and summer vacations. Adults keep looking for those desserts, but chefs today are reinterpreting that nostalgia.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that means pumpkin pie. For many, it might be the only time we eat veggies in a dessert. In the US’s deep south, sweet potato pie is a favorite. We also know about zucchini bread and carrot cake, as well, but talented chefs are branching out.
This wonderful family holiday is celebrated by Americans around the world, no matter where they live. It's the time for families to get together and share a delicious feast. The day often includes watching football on TV and planning for “Black Friday” shopping deals!
It is a genuine family holiday and many of us have touching or hilarious stories about Thanksgivings past.
MyHeritage invites you to share your funny stories for the chance to win a one-year PremiumPlus membership. Simply comment on this post or post comments on our Facebook wall or, if you can fit it into 140 characters, tweet them @myheritage. The winning story will be announced on Friday.
Since I can’t participate in the competition as I'm part of the MyHeritage team, here’s my hilarious holiday story.
"Remember, remember, the fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot."
This is a classic playground rhyme learned by every British school child. It marks an important event that took place 407 years ago today. But what's it all about?
Guy Fawkes Night (or Bonfire Night and Fireworks night) is celebrated in Great Britain on November 5. It commemorates the failed plot to assassinate King James I on November 5, 1605 at the official state opening of Parliament. The plan was to blow up the House of Lords, killing the King and all the dignitaries present.
Guy was arrested following a 'tip to the authorities while guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder that had been smuggled into the House of Lords. He, along with his fellow co-conspirators, was executed.
Why do we love Halloween? Is it the costumes? The candy?
Are you ready for Halloween?
According to a recent US National Retail Federation survey, a record 170 million Americans plan to spend $8 billion on Halloween, for costumes, candy and decorations.
English professor Eric Wilson of Wake Forest University says we love the holiday for deeper reasons than just a night of fun, especially during economic difficulties.
Escapism from hard times is part of this. He says that, on Halloween, we can pretend to be someone else, and not focus on worries or regrets.
Celebrating the enchanted is another part of this and takes people’s minds off their “limitations and mortality.”
National Hispanic Heritage Month, in the US, celebrates the culture and traditions of Americans with roots in Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. It is observed from September 15 through October 15.
First observed as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, it was expanded in 1988 to cover the 30-day period.
Some 14% of the US population – more than 42.7 million Americans – have an Hispanic origin, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is considered the largest ethnic minority in the country.
Tens of millions of Hispanics emigrated from Spain. Some came directly to the US and countries south, some first went to the Philippines or the Caribbean Islands and then arrived here. Spain was in the Caribbean and Mexico long before the English were in what would become the US. The state of New Mexico was settled by the Spanish in 1598, and they were in Saint Augustine, Florida, in 1565.
Tracing your Hispanic heritage may not lead directly back to Spain, but may go from the US to many other places, including Europe, Africa and even Eastern Europe. There may be many surprises along the way.
The 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, from September 29-October 6, will be celebrated in the US as groups - some on college campuses - read passages from the American Library Association’s top banned and challenged books.
Lafayette College (Easton, Pennsylvania) will hold a literary flash mob read-out at 1pm on Monday, October 1, near the library.
Among the books on the list: To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter, Beloved, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby, 1984, Brave New World, Animal Farm and many others.
Many of them illustrate relationships between families (conventional or not) and among family or group members. Today, most seem rather tame and quite ordinary but, when first published, the topics, characters and story lines were considered controversial.
Today, the first Monday in September, is Labor Day in the US. The legal holiday has been celebrated for more than 100 years and came out of the labor movement. It is a tribute to contributions made by workers.
To many, however, the three-day weekend is the last blast of summer, with many communities’ schools opening on the day after.
For more on the holiday, look at the Department of Labor's Labor Day 2012 page, with videos, resources and more.
Although more than a century old, the actual founder of the day is not certain. Some believe that the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Peter J. McGuire, who was also a founder of the American Federation of Labor, was the first to suggest a day to honor workers. Others believe that a machinist, Matthew Maguire – we don’t know if he was related to Peter - founded the day.