Throughout the holiday season it's hard to say who looks forward to the mail carrier's arrival more, me or Willie. Willie's just trying to earn his daily Beggin' Strips with warning barks. I, on the other hand, am anticipating Christmas cards, newsletters, and family photos. My favorite ritual of the holiday season is sending and receiving these annual updates. Here's this year's favorites, by category:
Best All Around Christmas Card -- received this greeting from John, a long-time friend from Newcastle Upon Tyne in the U.K. We met over 30 years ago while on a youthful mission to "save the world" on a small island in the West Indies. I was a Peace Corps teacher and John served in the U.K. equivalent to the American Peace Corps. In September 2001, I had the pleasure of meeting John's family for the first time in New York at a volunteer reunion. Since then we always touch base during the holiday season and I'm always excited to see the air mail post in the mailbox. I loved the simple bird drawing and the bright red and yellow colors, plus card sales benefit poverty relief efforts through OxFam.
Best Kid Photo --would it be safe to call these three the Bling Sisters? I think they pretty much prove that it's impossible to over-accessorize during the holidays--sequins, beads, rose corsage and feather tiara--more is more. I'm also learning an important fashion lesson from the little one. You know how insecure you can feel when you're dressed up more than usual? Requires a lot of attitude or, I now understand, some cool shades and a pacifier. These girls get their love of bling from Nana Pam who sent this photo.
Best Family Newsletter -- who could not give best newletter award to the family celebrating "The year of the chicken(suit)" in '08? The reporter/editor is a trainer who understands how important it is to grab your reader's attention right away by engaging them in an activity like the opening quiz. Never mind that she's trying to weasel out of getting blamed for not sending greetings in '06. She does score points by laying production difficulties off on dealing with 2 and 1/2 year old Emily's representatives, since a lot of the newsletter centers on the tot's activities and accomplishments. Which, by the way, was more interesting to read than much of People Magazine!
Most Insincere Card -- has to go to this shifty eyed, fake grinning pooch. "Too bad I can't read. . ." my hiney! Something tells me he's smart enough to scarf down all Santa's cookies, do an under the table crumb cleanup, and then eat something disgusting to hide the smell of chocolate on his breath! On second thought, perhaps he should get credit for helping Santa meet the proposed new dietary guidelines for Jolly Old Men--less trans fats and carbs and more sharing of Rudolph's carrots. . .
Like many of you, I keep a Fridge Blog with interesting postcards, pictures, articles, artwork, etc. that makes me happy to see on a daily basis. Right now the Fridge Blog is filled with these wonderful holiday messages from friends and family. Every time I get in the fridge--which is a lot--I'm reminded of how lucky I am to know these cool people. I hope you've got Christmas mail also.
- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.