How many valentines did you receive this year? How many did you send?
Some 190 million valentines are sent each year, according to the US Greeting Card Association. If you count the cards made by schoolchildren, it goes up to 1 billion. And, in 2010, some 15 million e-valentines were sent!
The American tradition of sending valentines was the idea of Esther Rowland (1828-1904), a young graduate of Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts).
Holyoke's archives and special collections has an impressive collection of historic valentines, many created by Esther. She is credited with having established the commercial valentine industry in the US.
The school’s original name was the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, and Esther graduated in 1847. She was inspired by an ornate English valentine - sent by a family friend – to create her elaborate versions of the greeting card.
When families gather for the holidays, there are certain inevitabilities - the board games, over-indulgence and, for many, watching distinguished family members snoozing away in the middle of the day.
And then there are the photos.
Getting the whole family into the same frame is often a source of hilarity. Occasionally, we manage to get that special photo but, more often than not, it's a compromise.
Below are some great awkward festive family photos from - you guessed it - awkwardfamilyphotos.com.
Holiday scenes are engraved, from early childhood, in our memories and in our hearts. Each of us, regardless of what holiday we celebrate, carries these indelible memories.
How do we successfully include all family members into our holiday celebrations?
Every family includes relatives of all ages, from babies through grandparents and even great-grandparents. In many families, there are also members of different religions, cultures, national origins and other factors.
Our unique family histories include so many people who lived at different times, but the holidays – regardless of what holiday your family celebrates – are when everyone gets together.
The group photo above - c1950s, Teheran - shows a snapshot of four generations of my husband's family, taken in the garden of his family home. Family celebrations there routinely included everyone, from newborns to great-grandparents. It is one of the few large group photos existing - I apologize for the quality.
While it may be easier to plan for the younger generation, senior family members may need a bit more attention.
Rheta Rosen, PhD, offers some tips for enjoying the holidays with senior members. She's the coordinator at the Interpersonal Skills Teaching Centre of Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada).
Rosen’s tips include some good points:
December is a month of wonderful worldwide holidays. Christians celebrate Christmas (December 25), Jews celebrate Chanukah (December 21), and there is also the African-American festival of Kwanzaa (December 26).
Although there are many gift options out there, family history can be an unforgettable present.
At MyHeritage, you can create – for free - your own family tree design and then order a professional print delivered directly to your home or to a relative anywhere on the globe. Surprise them! To learn more about this service, click here
MyHeritage is also preparing holiday-related posts - and some surprises - so stay tuned during November.
A national holiday, Thanksgiving is observed in the United States - and worldwide wherever North American expats reside - on the fourth Thursday of November.
Every immigrant group to the US has also adopted the special day, which crosses all ethnic and religious lines.
"Turkey day" is a universal and delicious event, while the four-day holiday weekend also features football (not soccer!) games, major shopping days and great sales.
Thanksgiving Day's centerpiece is the lovingly-prepared feast on our tables, which we share with family and friends. People begin to plan holiday menus very early. Therefore, we invite the MyHeritage community to participate in our poll below: