Tag Archives: Christmas season

Christmas at the Historical Society

2016-12-22-002I can’t take any real credit for decorating the Historical Society. I did do some additional touches, but the majority of the work had been done in the weeks before by other volunteers. They did a great job in getting the place ready for the holidays.

The recent gift of a rope bed became the centerpiece of a festive display. Rope beds were what they are called. Instead of boxe springs or a mattress, which is what are modern beds are made of, a rope bed was a bed frame with rope being used to create a web in the frame for someone to lay upon. It is possible that some type of mattress would be put on top of the ropes, but in this case the mannequins were placed on the ropes.

The rope bed was a central piece in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas display. Two adult mannequins were dressed for “a long winter’s nap,” 2016-12-22-001except the children were up and standing next to their parents’ bed. The baby was asleep in the cradle. A corner of the bed covers were pulled back so visitors could see how the ropes were strung to create a surface. I do wonder how comfortable the bed would be. While in Scotland, I slept in a twin rope bed that did have a mattress on it. As I remember, it wasn’t that comfortable. I didn’t sleep well in the bed.

In one of the front rooms is a display to Virginia O’Hanlon, the little girl who wrote to Francis P. Church, the editor of the New York Sun, one of the prominent newspapers of the city at the end of the nineteenth century. The eight-year-old wanted to know if there 2016-12-22-013was a Santa Claus. Church’s famous editorial defending the existence of Santa Claus is known throughout the world. The display also included a copy of Church’s reply.

Following are some images from the society. I wanted to get these posted before the year ended and the holiday season fades from memory.

2016-12-22-003Oh, the photo here is of what has become known as the “Evil Clown.” There’s a debate among the volunteers of whether or not this toy is scary-looking. I think that everyone would agree that no one would give such a painted toy to a child of today. At some point in the distant past, this toy must have been beloved by some child. Nonetheless, by today’s standards this clown has scary-looking features. What do you think?

 

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Christmas at the Historical Society

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Entryway decorations

Since the season does not end until January 7, at least for me, I thought that I’d share the photos of the decorations at the Historical Society. Last year, I helped decorate, but I didn’t have time to help this year. Actually, these past three months I haven’t had the time to volunteer at all, so it was nice to be back.

Unlike last year, there is a big tree in every room on the first floor. This is one idea that I embraced years ago. Although I did not put up a tree this year, I usually put up a tree in every room of my apartment. This includes the kitchen and the bathroom. The idea behind this is that the holiday should be reflected in every room. The trees are not always big. The bathroom tree is no more than six inches high with small ornaments. Actually, the main tree in the living room is only five feet; I have no large tree. I came up with this idea years ago, and I was surprised that the concept behind it had been popular in early America.

Though trees would not become popular until after Queen Victoria’s Prince Albert brought them from his native Germany to Britain, and the tradition made its way across the Atlantic, in Washington Irving’s day it was believed that the holiday season should be represented in every room. The people would bring pine tree branches, pine cones, holly and mistletoe in from outside to decorate their mantles, shelves, dressers, wherever. The house would also have a nice scent of pine.

Washington Irving's desk at the Historical Society

Washington Irving’s desk at the Historical Society

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend any of the holiday events at Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s home. The one year I went, they had the branches of pine and holly throughout the rooms of the house, as well as a wonderful bonfire in the yard. They had hot apple cider to keep the chill of the night at bay. (Too bad the temperature was close to 60 degrees. I fondly remember that trip to Sunnyside.

Happy new year to all!

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Happy Holidays!

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The Empire State Building, lighted for the holidays

Well, the terrible term is over.

I was able to finish one class, finish an incomplete, and get another incomplete in another class, which will be finished by the end of January.

What a nightmare.

I’ve always believed that the end of the year, regardless of what you believe or disbelieve, should be one happy season. Go out and enjoy the season. Have some fun. We survived another year, which is something to celebrate. Spend it with people you care for, not people you can’t stand. (You know who they are.)

Though late, better late than never. Here are the few images I took before Christmas came. I wish I was able to do some of the things I wanted to do, but I just couldn’t get around to it. Well, there’s always next year.

Happy holidays!

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Christmas at the Historical Society

(2014-12-20 002)Better late than never.

I helped a wee bit in the decorating of the Historical Society for the holidays. I added a few ornaments to the tree, and that was about it. Others put up the tree and the decorations. There was a harp concert and some refreshments to celebrate the season earlier in the month, but I did not attend. (I had way too much homework to do.)

This year’s theme is, no surprise, toys and dolls of yesteryear. The school marm was “dolled-up” in a new outfit and(2014-12-20 001) made the mistress of the house where she looked on with her daughter at the beautifully-decorated tree. There were no lights on the tree, however; there are never any lights put on the tree. Technically, candles should be put on the tree, but there is no way that you could convince anyone in the place to actually risk burning down the building for that. The tree was decorated with ornaments from the 19th and 20th centuries. There were lights put up in other rooms.

 

The rooms of the first floor were filled with different objects that were once cherished by children. The displays were a bit heavy on dolls, but there were some interesting toys, like the Noah’s Ark that was near the tree. There are still arks being sold to children, but it was nice to see a toy from decades gone by that some child or children played with and enjoyed. (It was well-worn, so it was obvious that children had played with it.)

There were a variety of dolls, many being Asian, which surprised me. Some of the dolls were strange-looking, and I had to wonder if they didn’t scare the children instead of amusing them. What follows is some of the dolls still on display in the Historical Society.

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Fall, and Christmas

The above photographs were taken on the train into work one morning. The photos do not capture the vibrant colors of fall. Yesterday I passed by the same coastline. Gone are the colors. There is still some yellow here and there, and an occasional red splotch, but everything else is brown, and dull.

On October 28th, I went into a Stop and Shop grocery store and was stunned to see Christmas decorations covering several shelves. The Halloween decorations were shoved off to one side , and the holiday hadn’t even come yet! I saw Christmas decorations as early as September in some stores.

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This was taken through the Silver Tips Tearoom window on Broadway. Again, the photo doesn’t capture the beauty of the sunlight dancing on the leaves

The day after Halloween, I went to the Westchester Mall, Many places were already selling Christmas decorations, but what really irked me was that the PA system was paying Christmas music.

There seems to be an obsession with the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Retailers make their most sales during this time, and as the United States has become the center of über-capitalism, the time has been expanded. It has been creeping back to Halloween for quite sometime. At the beginning of the second week of November, I found a tree and other Christmas decorations in the Japanese restaurant.

Franklin Roosevelt one year tried to move Thanksgiving back one week to increase the time for shopping during the Depression. Ironically the then-Republican Party, attempting to curry favor with the masses over an unpopular decision, had legislation fixing the holiday on the last Thursday in November. FDR was apparently ahead of his time.

A few weeks ago, I went to Danbury, Connecticut, to meet my friend Lucye. (It was my turn to come up there.) We usually meet in the Christmas Tree Shoppes and then go to lunch, movies, shopping or whatever. This time, though, I couldn’t even find a parking place. The traffic was terrible. We ended up abandoning any attempt to shop in the afternoon. The only time I’d seen traffic like this was during the Christmas shopping season–which has apparently already started.

After ChristmasThen there’s the insanity of the day after Christmas. There’s all this craziness from around Halloween that culminates on Christmas Day, when the after Christmas sales ads appear on television and in print. However, it’s day after Christmas that resembles a quickie Las Vegas wedding where everyone was drunk and happy when the celebrating was going on, but then the next day everyone realizes what a mistake it was and tries to forget the whole thing ever happened. Retailers cannot get rid of the Christmas merchandise quick enough. The shelves are stripped bare and the Christmas junk is shoved together down one aisle, which keeps getting shoved into smaller and smaller piles until it simply vanishes. I’ve always found it amazing how people toss out Christmas trees before New Year’s. For me, the season starts on Thanksgiving and ends on January 7th, Orthodox (or Old) Christmas. It’s after this that I take down my decorations.

I do understand the complaints about the commercialization of the season. It is getting ridiculous. Are we going to start Christmas sales in June?  We already have patio furniture, gardening materials, clothes and other spring and summer merchandise appearing in January to take the place of  Christmas. Winter just started! Who shops for patio furniture when there’s snow outside?

Perhaps this example summarizes the insanity best. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day last year, I found Easter candy in a Stop and Shop store!

Just sayin.’

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