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.
Whether you'll be visiting close relatives or meeting with distant cousins, family get-togethers are the perfect way to find out more about your family history.
Want to add more information to your family tree or inspire the younger generations to get involved? Here are three simple tips to turn your next family gathering into a genealogy opportunity!
1. Ask relatives to bring an old family object
Documenting the story of a family treasure can be an great tool to increase understanding about your family history. Whether a letter, card, ornament, jewelry or recipe, encourage relatives to bring something to show everyone. These items can bring interesting stories to life and provide new family information.
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.
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.
2013 is just around the corner so it's time to start thinking about organizing the year ahead. With so many family birthdays, anniversaries, events, holidays and personal activities to keep track of, anyone can appreciate a handy family calendar for the New Year, prepared in a few clicks!
Our beautiful calendars are really simple to make, because you've already done the hard part - entering the family birthdays, anniversaries and other events and adding photos to your MyHeritage family tree. All this will be automatically placed in the family calendar along with relatives' photos related to each event.
A collage of family photos will appear on the cover page for each month - but not just any photos! The calendar automatically selects photos of people who have a special event during that month. You can also customize the calendar, add or edit events, remove or replace photos, add national holidays and religious holidays and much more.
The calendars are the result of our partnership with specialist companies Fuga Technologies and Total Graphics. The calendars are extremely affordable, costing less than $20 each. They make a great gift for your family for the upcoming holidays and if you order multiple copies you will not pay more for shipping, which is very affordable at approx. $2 only. Express shipping is available for those who need their calendars in a rush.
Valentine's Day is 14 days away and millions of couples around the world prepare for the most romantic day in the year.
People also recall how it was celebrated generations ago. They may remember incredible and moving love stories of their own or of their ancestors.
We have all heard the love stories of our grandparents, great-grandparents or other ancestors. These may include a love that was separated or difficult due to distance, historical events, family disagreements or other reasons.
Even though times were much harder, somehow those impossible loves won out, the couple married and their love story lasted until contemporary times.
When I was younger, it was quite an opportunity to listen to some cringe-worthy love stories from my parents. The experience was more of a learning opportunity (as in a whistle-stop tour of how not to let a lady know about your affections).
In most cultures, the New Year is traditionally the time for hope. We look forward to a New Year which will be prosperous, that we will enjoy health, peace and other positive attributes.
And, of course, there are countries where the New Year is not celebrated on January 1, but in spring or fall.
Regardless of where or when, let’s look at some customs surrounding the New Year.
Auld Lang Syne – written by Scottish poet Robert Burns - is the New Year’s Eve song In English-speaking countries. Read the history of the song here.
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:
Well, a new science and technology research study from North Carolina State University provides some hints.
Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Dr. Larry Silverberg explains the principles that allow that red-suited white-bearded fellow to manage this amazing feat every year.
Where did Silverberg learn these secrets?
He was team leader on the first-of-its kind visiting scholars program at Santa’s Workshop/North Pole Labs (NPL) last year:
Children shouldn’t put too much credence in the opinions of those who say it’s not possible to deliver presents all over the world in one night,” Silverberg says.