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Celebrating Our German Heritage with Handmade Accents

One of the most fun and amazing things for my husband and me as parents, is teaching our kids about their heritage. I have always been absolutely intrigued by my family history, and my dad is a huge history buff (he double majored in both music and history). History lessons were my bedtime stories when I was growing up. When other kids my age were singing nursery rhymes, I was learning the names of the six wives of King Henry VIII. I've been immersed in history throughout my entire life, so imagine my absolute delight when I fell in love with my best friend, who also loves history.

My husband's mother oversees the history room at our county library headquarters. History is a huge part of our lives, even still. I mean, we binge watch nearly every historical show that we can stream from The Crown to The Tudors, and many others. Since we love history so much, we're always excited when we have a natural opportunity to share our family history with the kids. My husband's family is German/Austrian by way of Prussia, and just earlier this week, my son had a family heritage project to do for his fourth grade history class.

My side of the family is mostly Italian and French Canadian, with a very fair mix of German and Scottish, as well as Welsh. We can even trace our family tree back to Scottish royalty. While my family tends to be very deeply rooted in our Italian heritage on my dad's side of the family, my husband's side of the family is equally rooted in their German heritage. In third grade, my son focused on Italy for his history project, and now that he's had another opportunity to talk about family heritage, we thought it would be fun to explore the German side of the family together.

I reveled in an impromptu family history lesson presented by my mother-in-law to my son. Learning about the Beilfuss family coming from Prussia and settling in Austria, later Germany, was fascinating. With her, my mother-in-law brought along family heirlooms and objects of great significance. Some of these items included a hand-woven and stitched linen shirt, postcards and letters, currency, jewelry, and even a piece of the Berlin wall.

While such cool pieces were fun to look through, and even take into school to show his class, my son loves reminders of his heritage out on display in our family members' homes, as well as our home. Over the years, we have collected a number of handmade items from all over the world, some of our most prized possessions being those that were brought over from Germany. Some of our favorite reminders of our German heritage include wooden Advent candle holders, as well as a family cuckoo clock. There are also several other wooden German trinkets spread out between family members, but the cuckoo clock is a cherished family heirloom.

Cuckoo clocks were developed and made in the Black Forest area of Germany (southern Germany) in the eighteenth century. These clocks were carved by hand, and included a little bird and a cuckoo sound that chimes the hour. While these clocks were exported to the rest of the world later in the 1850s', they are still incredibly popular today, especially in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and are even considered a favorite souvenir among travelers.

Displaying family heirlooms or reminders of our heritage do help us to proudly remember where we came from. My kids love looking at these treasured pieces of family history. It's so easy to work pieces like these into everyday decor around your home. They are wonderful accents, and are fun conversation starters, as well. What types of family heritage accents do you have on display in your home?

If you think your family would like to have an original Black Forest cuckoo clock of your own, we recommend a visit to the Original Cuckoo Clock Shop. Everyone will find something to suit their tastes with the wide selection of both traditional styles and modern cuckoo clocks available. We hope that a German cuckoo clock will bring your family as much joy as it has ours. 

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