Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas Letters and Other Things

Grandfather Frost and Snegorichka
When I was a kid back in the '50s, everyone sent Christmas cards to everyone, even neighbours who lived half a mile away. They were displayed on racks and hung from strings and wires. I think a first-class letter was 5 cents and a Christmas card, unsealed, was 3 or 4 cents. For several years, I went door to door on horseback selling Christmas cards to our neighbours. Lyle Harris told me Santa Claus was dead because he shot him by mistake but he bought cards anyhow.

Letters went in some of the cards to distant people we didn't see too often and my mother spent many a Sunday afternoon writing them. When Ella and I got married in 74, we stopped sending cards to anyone that didn't get a letter and eventually stopped sending cards to almost everyone, just letters. When there were too many to write individually we started photocopying a handwritten letter. Once we got a computer, it was much easier. I have many of those letters but wish I had all of them, one for each year.

We used to get many Christmas letters too, some by mail and eventually many by email. With Facebook, even that has died away as everyone knows everything about everyone as it happens. But I still send an annual letter to a few people and still get a few, all of which are saved and filed. I have about 40 years of family history in thumbnail format. A few years are missing from the '80s and a couple in recent years, for reasons that most can understand.

We will have a family dinner on Dec 25th "Catholic Christmas" and on New Year's Day. Since Tanya's background is Russian, we do not celebrate Orthodox Christmas January 7th in the same way that Western Ukrainians and Canadians of Ukrainian descent do. Someday I would like to participate in that.

Yesterday and today were Christmas baking days, though you might not recognize it as such. Tanya made pelmeni (ravioli to the uninitiated) until her hands got tired just because she wanted to. then we made 8 dozen oatmeal cookies, one batch with chocolate chips for Dasha and one batch with raisins for me. Today we made two loaves of banana bread and a big pan of 'Mexican' cornbread. The family all like these and so it is a treat for them.

I have not enough nerve yet to tackle shortbread or Christmas cake but someday. I have a thermometer for deep-fat frying but not yet the nerve to try making doughnuts. My mom was afraid of deep-fat frying and it rubbed off.

Our 5-month-old foundling German Shepherd, Lucky, is huge and full of mischief. We cant put him with the other two dogs as his coat is not thick enough to keep him warm, though these days he needn't worry as it is +10C in the day time with five days rain forecast. He is too big and plays too rough for our little female. He wants to wrestle and play fight. So we keep him in the back porch at night and on nice days he runs out in our yard all day. I get up with him at night as we are on roughly the same schedule. Last night he went from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., a record for both of us.

He is getting the idea and today when Tanya went to take him outside to do his business, he was standing by the door and whined to go out. Progress. When he has done his business and if his feet are dry, we let him run in the house for a bit two or three times a day so he doesn't get too lonesome. Today he was wandering around the bedroom and living room while we were working in the kitchen. All of a sudden he took off as fast as he could go for the back porch. Tanya was suspicious and followed him. He has stolen the TV remote and was hiding it under his blanket.

Tomorrow is our 13th anniversary. Tanya was looking at our wedding certificate the other day.  I think she was checking to see if there was an expiry date.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all and all the best in the New Year.

(I found this on Facebook and now I can't find who posted it to give credit or beg forgiveness for stealing it.)


  1. We stopped sending Christmas cards by mail when stamps reached $1 apiece. Just too darn expensive if you had an extensive list (which we did). Your Christmas baking sounds yummy! And I laughed at your "expiry date" remark -- Happy Anniversary to you and Tanya!

  2. Christmas card are a dollar to mail? Ouch. Thank you for the anniversary wishes. Happy holidays to you.

  3. Happy Anniversary; may you have many more! I smiled at your expiry date comment.

    Naughty Lucky! They are just like children a lot of the time - they know what they can and can't do and wait until your back is turned - lol

    All the best to you and yours for the holidays, TBF :)

    1. Kids and pups have much in common. Lucky knew he was in the wrong but it was worth it.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours

  4. I love to create my own Christmas cards, usually using a linocut print. I mail to just a few of my overseas rellies, too expensive to send to everyone. Email has to do these days.
    Lucky just wanted to make sure he had control of what he wants to watch on the telly.
    Wishing you and Tanya and the rest of the crew a very Happy Christmas and continued good health in 2020.

    1. Good you are creative. How do you get envelopes to fit?
      Happy Christmas to you and yours too and a wonderful new year

  5. Tanya is wise to check the date. :)
    Happy anniversary and happy holidays! I would imagine a quick trip to Thunder Bay on the 7th of January might get me a little Ukrainian culture. That day would have been my father's 100th birthday. He would laugh if I told him I needed a perogie fix.

    1. Joni, so glad to hear from you. Have you given up blogging? Everyone needs a Ukrainian culture and good fix. Merry Christmas to you and yours

  6. Belated Merry Christmas and happy anniversary! We send out a lot of Christmas cards and letters, but our return mail has dwindled significantly in the past few years. The cards are expensive to start with, and at $1 a pop to mail them, I think a lot of people have just given up. Our list will get pared down significantly next year. It's too bad, because I always enjoyed getting Christmas letters; but I guess that's "progress" for you. I may have to break down and start checking the hated Facebook more often...


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