Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas traditions

I enjoy traditions.  They are something that I can look forward to.  Christmas is probably the one holiday that we had quite a few traditions. They all revolved around family.  When it was time to put up the tree we dragged an old ragged box out that my parents got when they were first married and we fluffed and sorted the branches of the tree that I grew to dislike as I grew older!  I never understood why we had to have a fake tree.  As an adult I completely understand why we had a fake tree growing up.  Way easier, you can put it up when you want, you don't have to trek through the snow to find one.  You don't have to fight with your sibling over which tree is the very best one.  There are so many reasons that I just couldn't understand when I was little.
We all had to be in attendance when the tree went up.  We turned up the music and all shared in the moments that it took to get the darn thing looking perfect.  I never remember feeling like it was a chore that we had to do, even as we got older.  It was just a tradition that I never grew tired of.
Christmas eve was spent with my dad's side of the family without fail.  We didn't share gifts just a meal and great fellowship with family that we don't get to spend enough time with.  We have tried to keep that tradition as we have grown older but that gets harder and harder with each passing year.  One of the traditions that I mIss very much.  
Our church had an 11pm candlelight service that we always went to.  It was so nice to have our church family be the first that we shared the birth of Christ with.  I am pretty sure our parents did this so that we wouldn't wake up at the crack of dawn to see what santa brought for us.
Christmas day for more years than I can count has been spent at my grandmother's house.  She doesn't travel well any more so it is easier for us to go to her.  We have a very small family so it is easy to just relax, eat and enjoy the company of family.  The kids pull out the 1000 year old wooden toboggan, okay it is more like 50 years old but it feels like 1000!  Our goal as kids was trying to get it to the ice.
My most favorite tradition has been Santa presents.  These are gifts that were on your list.  However, they do not look like what you ordered from Santa!  If you want a car, you get a shiny match box car.  If you want mechanical pencils, you get a yellow pencil that has nuts and bolts attached to it.  If you want a vacation to some place exotic, you are blessed to get a hand drawn brochure of said exotic place.  I lived in Texas for many years and Santa and the elves brought me a package with a snowman inside a jar.  He unfortunately melted by the time he arrived, but it made being far away from my family and my home a little bit easier to handle.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Military records can be very interesting to explore.  I do have the history on my Great Grandfather and I know that he only had to fill out the draft card and never went into the military.  He was a husband, father, and farmer in Coon Rapids, MN

In the United States, there were three rounds of draft registration in 1917 and 1918. The first two rounds included men from 21 to 31 years of age; the third round expanded the registration to men from 18 to 45 years of age. Draft registration was mandatory for men living in the United States, regardless of citizenship status.

A total of 24.3 million American men registered for the draft (about a quarter of the population), of which about 2.8 million were drafted. Another 2 million men volunteered or otherwise enlisted (those who had already volunteered did not have to fill out draft registration cards). In all, about 4.3 million men were actually mobilized, and about 350,000 were casualties, of which about 126,000 were killed. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Was_there_a_military_draft_in_World_War_1

 The best way to find out if you have a veteran in your family is of course to talk to your family.  That isn't always available to most of us.  Search engines are great at finding the missing pieces.