Christmas Memories Tied to Apron Strings

In the decade since I became a guardian of hundreds of aprons, I have unearthed hundreds of stories. Over the years, I came to understand that an apron memory isn’t a scholarly dissertation mired in dusty facts and details. It is a story of family life, a personal history that engages and catches you up in the telling and the listening. Without the stories, aprons are just so much fabric. It’s the memories they evoke that make them so powerful.

Holiday aprons especially provide a genre of stories that push emotional buttons because they speak to everyone, regardless of the religion behind the celebration.

“I was born in 1931, during the Great Depression. The Christmas when I was 4 years old, Santa did not show up at our house with a big bag of gifts; my parents, however, did see that my brother and I got at least one gift.  My brother’s present was an orange, and my gift was a little pink apron trimmed in white rickrack. I loved it and showed it to everyone. It meant so much to me, I wore it until it was falling apart.

Array_little girl aprons_Vintage Hosp photo www

That little apron was such a sacrifice to my parents. I can’t imagine what they went without so I might not be disappointed on Christmas morning.

It was my best Christmas present ever.”  Mrs. Martha B Pugh


“This photograph was taken at my paternal grandmother’s house on Christmas day, 1944. My mother, Kathryn Jago Smulick, and my four-year-old sister were visiting Grammy Smulick, as was the Christmas morning tradition. Four of Grammy’s six sons were in Europe fighting the war. 

JoAnn Kuzmiak_apron story I have pattern www

I’m sure it was a good diversion to have my sister there to take their minds off the worry that is so evident on my mother’s face.

There was always plenty of traditional Polish food to eat, and my mother’s apron reflects her help in preparing it.”  JoAnn Kuzmiak


“I remember my grandmother wearing a special apron at holiday time. I especially remember the time that she thought her wedding rings had gone down the sink. My dad and grandfather literally dug up the backyard that Christmas (it was really cold out!) looking for her rings. The rings were not found. xmas on a clothesline www

The next year at Christmas, she put her holiday apron on, and there were the rings in her apron pocket.” Nethanya


“My Mom had a hope chest that she used to “put aside” special things for my sister and me, like beautiful pillowcases edged with lace and tablecloths that were made by my grandmother. She also stored some old clothing that had been handmade by her, which she probably hoped our daughters would wear someday. When my sister got married she took her hope chest items with her.

After both our parents died, my sister and I were going through the contents of their home. It was a very emotional task, especially when we went through the hope chest. All the years without Mom, and Dad hadn’t disturbed the chest’s contents. Inside, we found our christening gowns, little winter coats from when we were very small, caps with rabbit fur balls on the end of the tying ribbon, some linens and two tiny aprons.

This picture was taken on Christmas day, 1954. My sister’s kitty face apron is pink and white stripes, and my puppy face apron is blue and white stripes.

Jennifer Utter and sister Nancy xmas 1954 www)

You can tell by our Santa haul that we were lucky little girls, and much loved by our mother, who sewed our matching aprons to tie on Christmas morning.” Jennifer Utter


Whatever your brand of tying one on (…an apron, of course!), may you make joy-filled

xmas apron on black by Raelene

memories. Merriest Christmas!

xx EllynAnne

Goodie Bag Winners + Frozen in Florida

There’s a sentiment on the beauty queen circuit that when the winner is announced, there are only two happy women in the room: the newly crowned queen and her mother. I think that an apropos analogy to my announcing the lucky winners of the National Tie One On Day goodie bag giveaway. I can just feel the disappointment of everyone other than the six. I so wish I could have managed goodies for all. It’s taken a while to make contact, and here they are: Melissa in Bryan, Tx; Melanie in Rigby, ID; Kimberleein Joliet, IL; Angela in El Paso, TX; Sue in Ventura, CA; and Becky in Pittsboro, NC. To everyone who participated in this year’s National Tie One On Day, thank you!
I’ve heard from many of you that the experience was so gratifying, NTOODay will become a new Thanksgiving eve tradition. I’m writing an article on NTOODay – if any of y’all would like to share their experience for possible inclusion, please email me at with your contact info so we might talk.
I’ve just returned from a trip to the south, stopping first in Jacksonville to visit my youngest sister. I’d anticipated warmer weather than was on hand, especially for a booksigning event held at the most wonderful independent store, the Bookmark. Do note that Carol is dressed for the arctic because it was about 50 degrees or something, while I refused to cover up my adorable Christmas apron.

The store is located on a little plaza, which was decorated for Christmas. Posing on the holiday bulbs was irresistible, plus we had to walk across the street, which got my frozen feet moving.

My appearance had been scheduled to coincide with the lighting of the Beaches Christmas tree and a decorated bicycle parade, but between the chill and a televised football game of the most important rivalry in the area, the anticipated crowd never happened. I felt so badly for the store, which had gone to such efforts to create a festive signing, I decided to drag my sister all over the plaza, figuring two ladies in holiday aprons would attract some attention, which I could direct back to the Bookmark.

But there was really no one about, and I was turning into a popsicle, so we popped into a hotel lobby to thaw out. And lo! Another opportunity to show off my cutie apron.

Jingle Belle

Tie One On…an apron, of course!