Monday, December 24, 2012


Over the river and through the woods, to Old Baker School we go!

For a little over 10 years, my family has traveled from far & wide to celebrate Christmas in a very unique a historic schoolhouse tucked away in the hills of Jefferson County, Missouri. My grandfather, “Papa Bill,” purchased some acreage in the early 1960s, which happened to also be home to this old abandoned schoolhouse:
We're not certain when it was built, but we know it was in existence in 1896 & was used until the 1930s when all of the rural county schools consolidated into a new public school system.  In the late 1990s, some of my relatives decided to renovate the schoolhouse so we could still gather together at the farm in memory of Papa Bill.
Christmas at the schoolhouse is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience. There is no cable TV, no internet, no telephone. We have electricity for lights & a refrigerator.  Uncle Pat is usually in charge of arriving early to fire up the wood stove.  By the time we all arrive, he has the place nice & toasty.

We bring dinner, desserts & of course lots of silly gifts. It basically turns into a whole evening of “white elephant” gift exchanging, game playing & story telling. Many of the strange gifts get put to immediate use...
Why all the Halloween related gifts?  Well, the farm was also where we had many haunted hayrides each Fall when I was a little girl. The spooky gifts remind us of those good times & allow for great photo opportunities.

Onward we will go to the old schoolhouse to celebrate Christmas a fews days later than most of you will, but what a way to ring in the new year!  I'm looking forward to taking our baby girl for her first schoolhouse visit. I hope we can continue this family tradition for years to come.  

What's your most treasured family tradition? 

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