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THE DREADED CHRISTMAS LETTER
4 December 2017
My old boyfriend's (Brother Bill) Christmas arrived a bit late--December 2, instead of the 1st. His is always the very first Christmas card we get. He is apparently having health problems that he didn't go into this year and I was sorry to hear that.
I take Bill's annual card as a challenge. It is my personal challenge to get our Christmas letter written and e-mailed to him before I get his card. This year I completely forgot about it and it took his card to remind me.
But I got my letter written (it is linked in the left column if you want to read it). The venom over Christmas letters seems to have lessened a bit but each year you know there are going to be some who "hate...hate...hate" them.
I can never figure out why someone would be upset at getting something that someone has spent time creating to share with friends and would prefer to get a card with a pre-printed name and no message whatsoever. But to each his own.
I have been sending out Christmas letters ever since we got married (52 of them!) In the beginning the preparation was much more elaborate because I took my paste up to a real printer and had them printed to mail out. They always included a family picture or more
This was our family picture in 1969, Paul's first Christmas. I folded the printed letter and put it in purchased cards.
The printed letter started to get spendy, when you considered not only the price of the printer but also the cost of the regular cards and the rising cost of postage. It was costing me nearly $300 just to send greetings that most people would glance at and then throw away. I started xeroxing the letter to save money but the photos always looked liked...well, xeroxed photos.
Email was a godsend because I could reach a good number of our friends and email greetings without having to whittle the list down to an affordable postage list. And then when Funny the World came along and I realized that I could design a web page and just send out the link to the site, I had found Nirvana. I could do what I loved to do, I could design a prettier card and still reach all our friends, and now even acquaintances that I would like to greet during the holiday season
I probably go overboard on who is on our list, but I really love sharing the card.
I heard a story this morning of someone who had regifted something that turned into kind of a nightmare. I don't have any regifting stories of my own, but I do remember the Christmas that Walt's mother gave my mother the gift she had given her the previous year. I loved that we always had a blended family, from the first year of our marriage. Walt's mother came to my parents' house for Christmas and forever more, until distance or health made that an impossibility, wherever we were having Christmas the two families always spent it together. Now, of course, that there are other in-law families to consider it's different. It helped that Walt's brother and sister didn't marry until late!
But the regifting story got me to thinking about memorable Christmas gifts I have received. Not memorable in the "Oh Wow you got me a ....." story, but the strange gifting incidents. Like the Christmas that I begged and begged my mother to let me open just one gift. I was in grammar school and it was a gift a classmate had given me. I don't know why this is such an indelible memory, but I even remember where I was sitting when I opened the gift and how disappointed I was because it was a piggy bank. I don't even know why I was disappointed but I guess I expected something more exciting.
Then there was the year I got the camera. Something I dearly wanted. In those days, department stores delivered your purchases for you and when this box came, my mother said it had my gift(s) in it. She said there were something like five gifts in it and decided to just wrap the box it had been sent in. I was thrilled to get a camera, but the multi gifts she was talking about were the various parts of the camera--the flash attachment, the bulbs, the batteries and don't remember what else. That little Brownie box camera changed me into a photographer, but I always felt heated that I didn't have four other gifts in the box.
Then there was the year that I got a big box from the family for whom I babysat. The father was a big joker and from the time when I went with them on their vacation to Lake Tahoe, he gave me a hard time about not eating my vegetables. I was so excited to open their gift, and then so terribly, terribly hurt that it was just full of limp vegetables. I wasn't going to let them know that I wasn't a good sport, though, and called to thank them fort he vegetables. "Did it take you a long time to find the present?" the father asked. Turned out he had hidden a book of movie tickets in the tissue paper under the vegetables. I might never have found them if I hadn't decided to be a good sport and thank him for the vegetables.
There was the year of the Mary Hartline doll, which I've spoken of before. I wasn't into baby dolls any more and so desperately wanted one of those big fancy dolls that look like a young woman from Tara or somewhere. I watched a show called Big Circus at that time and the hostess was Mary Hartline and I guess my mother thought that any non-baby doll would make me happy. I knew when I saw her under the tree that I would never get the kind of doll I really wanted .. and I never did.
The final gift memory I have is from when I was in high school. My mother was so excited about the gift she had given me and she teased me about it for weeks. Then I was somewhere babysitting and watching television and the girl on the TV was wearing a faux fur bolo jacket kind of like this one:
I knew instantly that this was the gift I was getting...and it was (only in grey). I never liked it but I never let my mother know and acted excited, but I think I only wore it twice.
I guess this makes me sound like an ungrateful kid. I received a lot of wonderful gifts throughout my childhood and adulthood, but these stand out as some of the most "memorable" gifts I have ever opened.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #6465