Christmas songs bring fond holiday memories

IRON MOUNTAIN — “When I was a kid, I used to sit on the floor in the living room, flipping through my mom’s records, listening to Bing Crosby and Burl Ives,” my mom said, smiling, with a look of such reminiscence I knew she could see herself in that moment. She continued, “I loved Christmas music. There used to be a record, Times Treasury of Christmas, or something or other, with all these Christmas classics, and I remember thinking when I was that little that those songs must have been so old to be classics, but now, I wonder if those men who sang those songs knew that they would be so influential and that their songs would last and still be classics 70 years later.”

It was a good question. Did those men know, that when they recorded those songs so long ago, that they would outlive them by an entire lifetime? “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin, but Bing Crosby is who truly made it famous. He first sang it on Christmas Day on air of his NBC radio show in 1941, but in 1942 alone, it topped the Billboard chart list for eleven weeks straight. Crosby’s version of the song had to be re-recorded in 1947 because the original 1942 master had been damaged due to such frequent use. At one point, Bing underplayed his role in the success of the song, because he felt anyone could’ve sang it successfully, but that didn’t negate the fact that to this day, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the world’s best-selling single.

Did Bing know, when he first recorded the famous lyrics, that they would go on to influence generations and be listened to by ears of all ages long past his death? Did he realize the extreme impact he would hold of Christmas mornings and weeks, or that he would nearly forever be a part of so many holiday households? Did the song change him, like it changed so many?

Bing’s nephew, Howard Crosby, said, “I once asked Uncle Bing about the most difficult thing he ever had to do during his entertainment career. He said in December 1944 he was in a USO show with Bob Hope and the Andrews Sisters. They did an outdoor show in northern France, and he had to stand there and sing ‘White Christmas’ with 100,000 G.I.’s I tears without breaking down himself, and of course, a lot of those boys were killed in the Battle of the Bulge a few days later.”

Do we ever really think of the gravity that a song can hold? Certain lyrics touch us personally, and certain songs affect us greater than others, but there are certain songs that hold stories within them that the history books don’t tell. One could put together through accounts and records that Bing sang “White Christmas” for the troops right before the Battle of the Bulge, but would anyone have thought about how that affected Crosby had his nephew not shared those words?

When my mom was talking about her childhood and listening to the Christmas Classics, it made me think of mine, because 30 years after she sat on the floor of her mom’s living room flipping through old records, I sat on the floor of my grandma’s living room doing the same thing. My affinity for Bing Crosby comes from my grandma — it didn’t matter what time of day it was, or what we were doing — we could be baking cookies or sitting by the fire — Bing was playing on the record player. I knew the words to his album before any other, and when I was 25 and found an old album from the ’50s of his music in a flea shop, I thought I’d hit the jackpot.

“White Christmas” was a song for the ages, and it was one that is so easily recognized and re-recorded that it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know about it, but for me, it tells the story of home. Did Crosby know, how the song would affect the world? I think on some level he did, because as he said, the hardest part of his career was singing it in front of men who cried for home, and never made it back. He gave the best Christmas gift he knew how in that moment — he gave a glimpse of home — and nearly 75 years later, his words still evoke home.

I hope this Christmas you feel home. I hope you feel the warmth and love that reminds you of one of the most sacred parts of life. I don’t know what song it is that gives you that feeling, but whatever it is, play it, and share it with your loved ones. Teach your kids and your kids’ kids why the song matters. Carry it with you, so that others will know its importance, and as the song sings, “May your days, be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.”




Scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sunday: Uno,1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Pretty nails, 10 a.m.; brouhaha, 11 a.m.; library cart, 1:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.; craft, 3 p.m.; laundry day, 4 p.m.; dinner theatre, 5 p.m.

Wednesday: Rosary, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 11 a.m.; puppy visits, 1 p.m.; pokereno, 2 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking, 11 a.m.; bunco, 1:15 p.m.; jigsaw brain teasers, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; Daily News, 11 a.m.; spinning records, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Iron County Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Room visits, 1 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Exercise, 11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Sunday: One to one church visitor, 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; hangman, 10 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Christmas stories, 9:30 to 3 p.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Book Club, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; Christmas Pictionary, 2 p.m.; holiday movie, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; Travel Club, 10 a.m.; you be the judge, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; Presbyterian church, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10 a.m.; birthday party, 2 p.m.; musical movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: ICMCF word search, 10 a.m.; taste test trivia, 10 a.m.; parachute, 11 a.m.; Intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.



Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m. daily.

Movie, 10:45 a.m. daily, and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Gathering place, 11:40 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 11:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Popcorn Day Fridays.

Protestant Church service, 3 p.m. Sunday.

Exercises, 10 a.m. daily.

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; morsels and more, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Christmas fun facts, 10:15 a.m.; Paula D entertains, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.

Tuesday: Christmas social, 9:30 a.m.; Christmas bingo, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; “Deal or No Deal” bingo, 2 p.m.; magic moments, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: ManorCare monthly, 10:15 a.m.; lucky 13, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Parachute, 1:30 p.m. daily.

Monthly support group for grief and loss, 2 p.m. second Monday of the month.

Weekend pet visits.

Sunday: Rosary, 8:30 a.m.; Mass, 9 a.m.; bingo, 10:15 a.m.; tailgate party: Packers vs. Jets, 1 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Protestant service, 9 a.m.; Christmas sing a long with hot cocoa, 10:15 a.m.; nickel jokereno, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary, 10 a.m.; reindeer trivia, 10:15 a.m.; Christmas Mass, 10:30 a.m.; Christmas movie, 2 p.m.; holiday bingo, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Jokereno, 10:15 a.m.; you be the judge, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; bunko, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattergories, 10:15 a.m.; crafts, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Yoga, 10 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Jokereno, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Coffee clutch, 9:30 a.m. daily

Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.

Sunday: Packers vs. Jets, noon; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Merry Christmas.

Wednesday: Birthday party, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Music with Crystal, 2 p.m.; Rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Morning news, 6 a.m. daily.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; flippo, 2 p.m.

Monday: Bingo with Bette, 10 a.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Merry Christmas.

Wednesday: Chair exercise, 10 a.m.; cards, 2 p.m.; one on one visits, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; caroling program, 1 p.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.

Friday: Catholic church service, 10 a.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Life connections, 9:45 a.m. every Monday.

Busy bee, 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Rosary 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sunday: Grace church, 10:15 a.m.; Uno, 10:30 a.m.; Packer party, noon; Lutheran service, 2 p.m.; ball toss, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Beauty shop, 10:30 a.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; ball toss, 3:30 p.m.; mind joggers, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Bingo, 1:45 p.m. Call the home about information on passing out Christmas gift times.

Wednesday: Tea party, 10:30 a.m.; social circle, 2 p.m.; one on one visits, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Exercise, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one on one visits, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; bunko, 2 p.m.; Sorry board game, 3:30 p.m.; one on one visits, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Hang massage, 10 a.m.; life stories, 10:30 a.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.; sensory, 3:30 p.m.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. If you have meals delivered and will not be home, notify the center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Breen Center


Meals Monday through Friday.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month.

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m.

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Lucy Korhonen


Meals will be served on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., with the salad bar opening at 4:30 p.m. The dinner donation is $5 for those age 60 and older and $6 for those younger than 60. There is a $1 charge for take-out containers. All are invited.

Cribbage will be played at 1 p.m. Wednesdays and be concluded in time for dinner.

Monday: Closed.

Tuesday: Closed.

Wednesday: Closed.

The center is closed Thursday through Sunday.

A blood pressure reading can be taken by request at any time while the center is open.

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., crafters, scrap bookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Friday: Smear, 12:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of the month: Music jam starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Dances take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Admission is $6; coffee is free.

The Photo Club meets 1 to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.

Evening meals are usually on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with the meal served at 4:30 p.m. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors age 60 and older but not required.

Home-delivered meals are for seniors 60 and older can be delivered seven days a week. Christine McMahon has information for all meals and can be reached at 906-774-2256 ext. 235. For transportation rides call “Buzzin’ Around Town” at 906-282-0492. Rides are $3 for age 60 and older, and $3.50 for younger than 60.

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Felch Center


Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County


Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations needed 48 hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

Four senior dining locations are listed below:

Fence Center/Town Hall


Meal at noon Wednesdays only. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Jigsaw puzzles, cards, cribbage and board games are available. The coffee is always on.

Tipler Town Hall


Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Jigsaw puzzles, cribbage, cards and board games are available. The coffee is always on.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60.

Morning coffee is available daily.

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50-50 drawing.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60.

Thursday meal, 3:30 p.m. soup, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner at 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Christine McMahon has information for all meals and can be reached at 906-774-2256, ext. 235. For transportation, call Buzzin’ Around Town at 906-282-0492. Rides are $3 for age 60 and older, and $3.50 for younger than 60.

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Meal site manager: Corrie Maule


Senior center director:

715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday.

Transportation to the meal site from the Niagara, Wis., area is offered.

They welcome any senior groups that would like to use the meal site as a meeting place — join them for lunch and then stay for a meeting or social time.

Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play.

Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome.

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea, and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two special-themed meals take place each month, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50.

If Norway-Vulcan are schools are closed due to snow days, so is the senior center. If the schools are on a two-hour delay, the center remains open.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Puzzles always in the works.

A senior coloring class meets daily. All are welcome. Some materials will be provided.

Telephone reassurance is available for any senior who doesn’t get out much and would like a friendly daily phone check to see that all is well.

Monday — Christmas Eve; center will be closed.

Tuesday — Christmas Day; center will be closed. Merry Christmas from the center board and staff.

Note: A CSFP food card (green card) is available to income-eligible seniors. Make an appointment to get signed up. File of Life packets available at the center.

Note: Ask about the Medicare Savings Program. This program helps people pay their Medicare part B premium. You may be eligible. The local MMAP counselor can be reached at 1-800-803-7174, or dial 211.

Sagola Center


Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m.

Cards: Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.

Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months.

A puzzle table is available to enjoy.

Volunteers are always welcome.


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