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Christmas–that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance–a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. Augusta E. Rundel

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As we create new memories each Christmas my family is likely to share memories of Christmases past, which also include stories of relatives who have died.  I like keeping those memories of all my loved ones alive through sharing their stories.

For Christmas 2007, the year my Grammy died, I made photo ornaments of our grandmother using my favorite picture of her for my cousin, brother and me to remind us of the gift of her love and life.  I liked the photo ornament so made a few more of my other grandma and Keith’s grandmothers.

It is human nature to be reminded of people we love on birthdays and anniversaries; anniversaries of deaths are no exception, and deaths are particularly poignant when they occur around a special occasion. We know that death comes with no regard for time so December is not spared.  As I looked through the 108 December deaths in my genealogy database I noticed that my paternal Grandpa had three close relatives listed.  His father, John Brown, on December 9, 1938; his brother, Delbert, on December 14, 1948 ; his sister, Pearl, on December 12, 1982.  Here’s the full list from my database: December deaths.

My family didn’t visit cemeteries and, as a child, I thought they would be scary.  However, my view of cemeteries changed when my infant son died.  Now, usually in May, I visit his cemetery where my grandparents and my husband’s family are also buried.   As I’ve become more involved in genealogy I realize how much valuable information can be found in cemeteries and always include visits to cemeteries on my research trips.

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. — Pericles

This is my submission for the Advent Calendar Christmas Memories 2009.

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