The Dec. 19 GFWC/Ohio Woman's Club of Wintersville meeting had a "Christmas Around the World" theme as "the Thermes Women" treated members and guests to musical selections reflective of the season.
The Thermes Women, by the way, are Barb Thermes, president of the Wintersville club, and her two daughters, Lesa Thermes and Leslie Thermes, the latter of whom was on her first outing as she continues to recover from injuries sustained in a bad car accident in November.
The luncheon and business meeting held at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville featured the songs of the season - some familiar, some new - and included Barb's overview of some traditions observed in other countries.
The Thermes Women singers, from left, daughters Lesa Thermes and Leslie Thermes with mom, Barb Thermes, president of the Woman’s Club of Wintersville
-- Janice Kiaski
In Australia, for example, Dec. 25 falls during summer vacation, according to Barb, and the most popular event of the Christmas season is called "Carols by Candlelight." People come together at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols outdoors.
The day before Christmas is very busy for families in England, Barb continued, as they wrap presents, bake cookies and hang stockings over the fireplace before gathering around the Christmas tree to hear someone read "A Christmas Carol." Like children in this country writing letters to Santa, kids there pen a wish list to Father Christmas and toss their letters into the fire so their wishes can go up the chimney. Pretty proactive on their part, yes?
In France, meanwhile, the celebrating starts on Dec. 5, which is St. Nicholas Eve, Barb explained, but Christmas Eve is the most special time in the French celebration of Christmas as church bells ring, and French carols or noels are sung. On Christmas Day, families attend church services and then enjoy a big feast that includes a cake shaped like a yule log.
While children in this country look forward to Santa Claus' visit, Dutch youngsters in Holland, or the Netherlands, are eager for Sinterklaas to stop on Dec. 6, St. Nicholas Day, according to Barb, who explained Sinterklaas is a kindly bishop who travels by ship from Spain to Amsterdam's harbor every winter. He brings his white horse and a huge sack full of gifts. One unique way families celebrate St. Nicholas is with a letter blanket, a "letter cake" made in the shape of the first letter of the family's surname.
Natalie Doty, second vice president, gave the meditation and grace, reading her 40th Christmas poem she has written. It was titled "Christmas Is Here." Doty said she plans to compile all 40 poems into a book to sell next year and will have her granddaughter do the illustrations for it.
Claudia Dorich chaired the hostess committee that also included Robbie Young, Kathy Furda, Pat Freeland, Linda Nolf, Ella Jane Burns and Kathy Frey. Decorations were geared to a snowman theme.
I sat at a table where I enjoyed the company of Suzy Crawford, who surprised me at the club's Holiday Splendor fundraiser with some western style Christmas tree ornaments and a Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover's Soul book; Donna Phillips - the two of us put a hurting on the Christmas candy on the table; Joyce Palmer and her mother, Mary Coleman, a chipper gal who will be celebrating her 100th birthday in April; CarolynLee Barrett, the club's recording secretary; and Nina Steinman.
The club received correspondence from the organizers of the 34th-annual Ray Laman Christmas party, appreciative of the group's donation that helped make it a success.
During the club's meeting where Barb Thermes presided, Joyce Palmer gave the treasurer's report, noting the group's profit from Holiday Splendor, which funds scholarship awards, was $3.768.15, $1,389 less than last year's event with expenses higher and less people in attendance. That was attributed to the event falling on the tail end of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Marjean Sizemore, event co-chair, thanked everyone who helped with the annual event, and Pat Freeland, who also served as co-chair, shared that she had been approached by two women who were impressed by the event and planned to return next year. It also was pointed out that Phyllis' Fashion, which presents the club with 10 percent of its sales profits from the event, gave the club $295.
June Sullivan complimented how nice the Chinese auction items were, a committee project chaired by Aimee Jaros and Pauletta Sprochi.
Ella Jane Burns reported that she and Nancy Hukill had gone shopping for the needy family adopted as a Christmas project.
Judy Weaver reported a profit of $187.85 from the nut sale.
After the meeting, members worked on a service project led by Donna Phillips - making and signing cards for nursing home residents.
The club's first luncheon and business meeting of the new year will be held at noon on Jan. 16 at St. Florian Hall with Robbie Young leading the program on "Uraguay" in her capacity as a World Gospel Mission missionary.
Natalie Doty will lead the meditation and grace. Nancy Antill will chair the hostesses committee that also will include Suzy Crawford, Martha Alloggia, Bonnie DiDomenico, Rosalie Falbo and Claudia Clevenger. Collecting school supplies will be the January project.