Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend Edition

Here we are with another holiday season fast approaching. Every year I determine to “keep it simple” and every year I still find the stress of the moment. Many, many years ago, during our ‘poverty’ years, my husband and I determined that we would not go into debt during the holidays. In fact, at that time we set a gift limit of $25.00 on each other. We’ve up’d that amount now, to $35.00. It makes it challenging and exciting to try and find something the other would like and appreciate for that amount of money. We often remind ourselves, it is supposed to be Jesus’ birthday, not ours.

We find that money is generally the best gift for adult children and grandchildren, but the little ones still enjoy a gift they can open. The challenge is to find something age appropriate. The best part of a holiday is that of making memories and having family traditions.

Recently, I was asked by a friend to answer her children’s letters to Santa. I was even able to find a post office in Anchorage Alaska that will post mark it ‘North Pole’. Since I know her children, I can personalize the letters. This has been great fun and allows for a certain amount of creativity. Just in case you’d like to attempt the same, here’s the information:

POST OFFICE TO SANTA: WRITE BACK EARLY

THE NORTH POLE - You are six years old. Your Mom and Dad bring in the mail. They hand you a letter with a North Pole postmark. You open the letter. It's more than Santa's response to the wish list you sent him - it's a memory of a lifetime.

The Postal Service is helping you create and preserve this memory for your child. Here's how it works. Work with your child as they write their letter to Santa. Secretly craft a response from Santa and mail it in a second envelope to North Pole, Alaska Post Office. The Postal elves will postmark and mail Santa's response back to your child. To make this holiday activity especially enjoyable, follow these suggested guidelines.

– Beyond the traditional, "here's what I want" list, ask your child to write why the holiday season is special.

– Teach the child that proper addressing techniques include a return address -- otherwise Santa may not write back.

– After you take the letter and tell the child you'll mail it, keep it in a safe place until you can write Santa's response. If your child recognizes your handwriting, ask a friend or neighbor to rewrite it.

– To make Santa's response extra special, beyond reminding the child that Santa knows if they've been bad or good, add a positive line or two about the child's recent accomplishment that was not included in the letter to Santa.

– As a P.S., Santa might want to remind the child to be in bed at a certain hour, and hint that he and his reindeer appreciate holiday snacks left near the tree.

– Place Santa's response in a stamped envelope addressed to the child, and be sure to include the North Pole as the return address.

– Place this envelope into a larger, properly stamped, First-Class Mail or Priority Mail envelope and mail it to:

North Pole Christmas
CancellationPostmaster
5400 Mail Trail
Fairbanks AK 99709-9998

The North Pole Post Office will postmark Santa's reply and place it in the mail stream.