In a previous post on Amish wall decor, reader Kate had this to say on visiting an Amish friend’s home:
I realized that I could see six picture calendars from where I was sitting in the kitchen [featuring] horses, barns, lighthouses, bluebirds, and wildflowers.
It’s true, as Kate’s example suggests, that Amish are partial to calendars. Amish generally don’t display art for its own sake. But practical items that are also decorative are another story.
Popular among Amish are calendar images of nature, outdoor scenes, and animals. These may be photos, paintings, or drawings.
Keith James, who works closely with Amish craftsmen in the Midwest, discussed the prevalence of calendars in Amish homes:
…they are in every room, and sometimes several in one room. I have a pair of photos I took during my recent visit. In the first photo you can see the dining room table and there are three calendars visible. I turned around on the spot to take the next photo of the adjoining kitchen area, in which you can another photo. At least one of the calendars is from us, featuring nature scenes from California. The others are either nature-related or feature horses. In years past I’ve seen “hillbilly” calendars with comic scenes hanging in their kitchen…
I don’t recall ever seeing a zip code calendar, but birthday calendars are in almost every home. They list the birthdays of the most immediate family members. I took a photo of one from my March trip that has 106 birthdays listed.
The photos below, taken in Mark Curtis’ home, show two types of calendars. The first is a “perpetual calendar”, so called because with a little shifting of wooden blocks it can be used, in theory, in perpetuity.
The second is of a more traditional style, in a wooden display frame. They are often produced and given away free by Amish businesses, though I’m not sure of the origin of this one.
What about calendars featuring photos of Amish people? Eli S had this to say:
Visiting with my brother who is Amish, he pulled out one of those Amish picture calendars by Doyle Yoder and asked me if I could pick him out in a barn-raising photo. Which I then did.
You may think they would all be offended by the photos, but they will buy the calendar for the photos, and then not hang it up. The same thing applies in magazine photos. Offended people would not cluster around to see themselves in photos. Clearly they enjoy those great pictures of themselves, but not on an official level.
Amish appreciation for calendars runs deep, according to Lee Jay Stoltzfus:
Here in Lancaster County, PA, vintage picture calendars command high prices at Amish household auctions because Amish bidders compete for them like fine art objects.
It is often the Amish men who bid on these colorful calendars, so the antique calendars with hunting scenes or wildlife images often sell for big bucks.
So if you have a 1920s calendar published by Winchester Rifle Company, sell it to an Amishman. It will make him very happy!
Calendars are something you’ll find in even the plainest Amish homes–though they might not look quite like the others. Kristen shared the following on calendars in one of the most traditional Amish communities:
We were at the Ethridge, TN settlement yesterday and my son asked about the plain calendar hanging in an Amish workshop. The Amish man said they didn’t allow any sort of pictures in their group. (Swartzentruber). He said it got so hard to find plain calendars that he finally asked his local bank to have them made especially for the Amish. So the bank produces these special calendars with a few word-only ads, but no pictures.
Thanks to all the readers whose calendar comments helped put this post together today.
Love these calendars in the wooden frames.
I have only been in a handful of Amish homes, but I did notice the calendars immediately since there was nothing else on the walls except a clock. The calendars I noticed came from a local grain elevator with farm scenery. I’m not sure if they were local pictures or perhaps stock photos.
The wooden calendar holder that says Home Sweet Home is very pretty. The picture is so tranquil. I feel myself relaxing already.
Call for calendars
The third calendar in the “Home Sweet Home” frame, looks to me like a Doyle Yoder “Amish Country Calendar.” Perhaps the frame is reused with a new calendar next year. The wooden “Home Sweet Home” bar is nicer looking than a ruler to keep the top edges of the calendar from curling down!
Will cell phone calendars someday replace wall calendars?
Linda maybe a perpetual calendar that is just an LCD screen?
That does look like a Doyle Yoder photo now that you mention it.
Great article. Love the wood framed calendar.
Linda, I think the wall calendars have already gone by the wayside. I use to get so many free from businesses that I threw them away. Now you have to buy them. I haven’t seen a calendar on someone’s wall in years. I guess in farm country they are more prevalent.
For once I don’t have to ask Mark about this. The perpetual calendar was not Amish made. It was Curtis made. By me! I made this after I retired. I could still stand without a walker, then. I could do lots of things I can’t do, now. When I moved to Florida in 2002 Mark wanted it so it is now at his house. The wooden framed calendar I don’t know about it. Mark sends for the calendar from Holmes County. He usually gets several. Some get sent as Christmas presents, even overseas to Switzerland, England, and Germany. I know that the “Home Sweet Home” piece is stuck to the frame by Velcro and covers up where the calendar is hung to the frame.
Don great to hear and know this is a Curtis-made calendar. I should have asked Mark how many he had though I just remember seeing the two. I only have one, hanging up anyway.
I asked Mark about Amish having calendars. He said that most Amish aren’t supposed to have photos, paintings, pictures, etc. displayed on their walls. It is considered fancy or prideful. However, a calendar is a useful, practical, item that can also add some color and interest to a room and is acceptable to most Amish. Since it is acceptable and also pretty, calendars get hung in just about every room in the house.
I also love these calendars in the wooden frames
I had no idea anyone even made wooden calendar frames — I’ve honestly never seen one before, but like it very much! That is the kind of calendar my family ( parents w/whom I live ) typically displays in our kitchen, a simple calendar bound with ( oh I can’t think of what it’s called ) those plastic rings, usually from a local business giving them away. Then I usually have a nature calendar of some kind ( this year, it’s wolves ), and a smaller desktop calendar I got as a Christmas gift, I think the title of it is “simple blessings” or something like that. It’s really cute!
I love perpetual calendars; my brother has a perpetual Advent calendar; it has two small wooden blocks, each printed with numbers on the various faces, held up by a miniature wooden nutcracker doll.
Something else really neat I saw in a catalog recently was a “kitchen towel calendar,” which displays the entire 2013 or whatever year’s calendar screen-printed ( if that’s the right word ) onto the towel itself. I really wanted to buy one, but figured ok, I have more than enough kitchen towels AND enough calendars already lol — maybe a good Christmas gift for someone ( or for me haha! ) for 2014.
I can’t imagine having so many birthdays listed as 106! Ours’ lists far, far fewer than that!
I think I may try to find one of those calendar frames; you know, now that I think about it, my grandparents may have had one in their kitchen. And I like those keys hanging from the pegs at the bottom of the frame!
Sadie, for the past forty years my son have given me a kitchen towel calendar. I call them linen calendars. Anyway, I have kept them all. I would like to have someone make a quilt out of them.
They can be found in the catalogs that are always in the mail
To Jodie / Kitchen Towel Calendars
Jodie, I love your idea of having someone make a quilt out of those linen calendars! I’d think it’d be so pretty and so neat because it’d be made out of 40 years of gifts from your son. I don’t know how it is that I’ve never come across one of these calendars before, but I like them a lot. I hope if you decide to, you can find someone to make that quilt for you!
I’ve been ordering an Amish calendar yearly for at least the past 4 years…and I have the same one that’s in the wooden frame above. I always order through Lehman’s. I’m pretty sure I also saw a similar wooden frame in either their catalog or on another Amish-goods website.
I always have a calendar hanging up, though mine is attached to the side of my refrigerator (hanging from a plastic stick-on hook). The frames are pricey, but certainly beautiful, if you hang it on an actual wall! I used to get the linen, printed calendars when they were a buck or two, but they’re way more expensive than that, now, so I pass.
I look at my (yes, I believe it’s a Doyle Yoder) calendar every day, and always look forward to turning the page to the next month, the next photo. Instant tranquility and good vibes!
I asked Mark about his calendars. He says he has six hanging up in his house. One in his living room. (framed one) One in his kitchen/dining room. (perpetual one). Two in his bedroom. (both gifts) One hanging inside the basement door (the Belle Center Amish Community Calendar with birth, death, and wedding anniversaries). Mark said the calendar in the frame is a Doyle Yoder Calendar. He sends for them directly from Doyle Yoder. The reorder form is right inside the calendar. He, says, he usually gets about a dozen and gives them as Christmas gifts, especially to overseas friends.
My dad hasn’t been Amish for nearly 40 years but he still loves calendars! As kids, we were always embarrassed by the number of calendars hanging in our kitchen, dining and living rooms. No one else had that many! It never occurred to me that it might be part of where he came from!
For the record- I love them now, too, and tend to have more than most…although not as many as Dear ol’ Dad!
The mosr important calander among Amish churches around here (and I incluse my own Beachy church all Old order and New order)and is the church calander. Telling every birthday, anniversary, sewing date, and where church is that week. These are usually displayed right in the dining room as everyone is always referring to it. I refer to mine several times a week!
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