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The Whitman Christmas Tablecloth

After 50 years, a 12-foot strip of white linen has become the heirloom to a family's heritage.

By far my favorite family tradition is the Whitman Christmas Tablecloth, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.

It began in 1959, when my family was living in Connecticut. That year my mother purchased a white linen tablecloth 12 feet in length specifically for use during the holiday season. On Christmas Day, the extension leaves were added to the walnut wood dining table and the huge white drape was positioned over the table top. A tradition had been born.

During my first Christmas, when I was 8 months old, Dad held me while Mom traced the outline of my infant hand on the tablecloth. Within the outline, the date was added and then later embroidered. My brother’s hand, equally small, was traced, dated and embroidered as well. Grandma and grandpa, mother and father hands were also traced, dated and embroidered.

Read the entire article in the December 2009 issue