Christmas 2007
Russell's nearly famous Christmas letter


Katie(22), Jordan(22), Kay, Madison (1), Russell, Haley (7), Melissa(25), Matthew(29), Ally(20)

Merry Christmas from the Greens! For those of you who thought I wouldn’t get around to writing . . . ha!! I’m just way behind this year. For those of you viewing this via e-mail or the Internet, this is the “director’s cut” with far too much holiday junk. Think of it like the cookies, candy and other junk food you have seen since Thanksgiving. This electronic version also includes my rendition of a politically correct “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” 

The following letter is rated PG for poor attempts at sophomoric humor . . . Some of the following content was gleaned from the Internet, so it must be true. The rest is from me, so it must be truly suspect. On with the show!!

Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday. This tradition began in 1836. It was not the first holiday in Alabama however.  “Date your Sister” was recognized as a holiday in 1809. Okay, I apologize, but I did say PG-rated.

"Hot cockles" was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking a blindfolded player, who in his/her moment of stupidity had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. The game lost popularity when people finally decided that getting whacked up-side the head was not a great way of delivering holiday cheer.

Today we call it the Fred Meyer sock sale on the Friday following Thanksgiving. Kay and Melissa storm the castle otherwise known as Fred Meyer. It is the only time of the year in which either gets up before 7:00, unless motherly duties call.

“Wassail” comes from the Old Norse “ves heill” -- to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health (stay with me, I will tie all of this together, maybe).

A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard. Some idiot apparently thought this was a good idea, and probably came up with this stroke of culinary brilliance after drinking to the good health of friends (are you starting to see how I expertly weave this all together?)

According to a survey, 7 out of 10 dogs get Christmas gifts from their doting owners. One out of one dog in the Green family may receive a gift this year, but it won’t be in our household. Sadly, we had to find a new home for Ginger the Wonder Dog earlier this year. She now has 350 acres on which to roam! Matt and Melissa found new homes for their two dogs as well, deciding any spare time would be absorbed by Madison (a wise call).

Madison is a blast. While I have not completely adjusted to the title of grandpa (actually poppy seems to be my given title), it is fun to watch her grow. Matt and Melissa are great parents, but I can’t imagine how they will top the recent first birthday “event,” complete with M&M candy theme. A hall was rented, with about 60 in attendance. Madison is walking everywhere now, and her vocabulary grows by the day, no doubt influenced by the barrage of words that flows as she watches and listens to nana, mommy, Haley, Katie and Allison.

Madison's Blog http://marteneylove.blogspot.com/

Back to the dogs. The only dog within the Green clan resides with Jordan and Katie (of course, newlyweds, no kids . . . gotta have a dog!) Well, they have a wanna-be dog. A blonde fuzzball with cute eyes and razor-sharp teeth named Lyla. Upon receiving the dog as a gift from Jordan, Katie made the comment, “This is the best day of my life!” Apparently the wedding/marriage thing is more than a day, so it falls into a different category.

Jordan and Katie live nearby in Beaverton. Jordan was recently promoted to manager of H&M Motorsports, and is putting his mechanical genius to work on an older Kawasaki motorcycle. Katie is taking a break from school, doting over the aforementioned fuzzball, and working at US Bank.

Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition. They go well with pig heads, but only after drinking to the health of everyone in your community.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year. The Green family continues to hold up its end of the deal, as we braved monsoon rains from the remnants of a tropical storm to bring our tree home. The 15-minute trip must have set a family record that will probably stand forever. Despite our brevity, Queen Kay declared the tree “perfect” when it was placed in the living room.

America's official national Christmas tree is located in King's Canyon National Park in California. The tree, a giant sequoia called the "General Grant Tree," is over 300 feet (90 meters) high. It was made the official Christmas tree in 1925.

Okay, who cares about meters!? Besides, 300 feet sounds bigger than 90 meters doesn’t it? If I told Kay her tree was less than three meters high, she would make me take it back and find a bigger one. This brings to mind a recent conversation in which Mrs. G lamented the lower ceiling height in our Hillsboro home (loyal readers may recall that our previous home had space for a 14-foot tree). I mentioned that we could build a vaulted ceiling in our current living room, to which she gleefully responded “We can?!” When I told her what it might cost to get another 2-3 feet of space, her voice sank with recognition of something that wouldn’t be (whew!!). If she can’t have at least 14 feet, forget it!

Speaking of tall trees, the row of Douglas firs that border our home survived another big windstorm recently. Last year a large limb imitated a javelin, piercing our roof. We have a new roof now, and the row of trees was thinned significantly by a horde of tree trimmers.

Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895. The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American, Ralph E. Morris. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles. Ralph, who worked for the electric company, received a promotion for his stroke of marketing genius. I am now three years removed from my electric company career, although I continue to work at Ruralite Services, a communications company for electric utilities in eight states. I did my usual tour of duty at our high school summer camp, played softball, imitated a golfer, and spent most of my free time working around the house. We also took a few short trips with the family.

In 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. was worried by the amount of extra mail at Christmas time. His preferred solution to the problem was to limit the number of cards a person could send. This approach, if applied to Mypreciouskid.com shipments, would have disastrous impacts. Post Office workers should get a Christmas card from Kay, as her business continues to grow. The postman generally knows to come to the door for packages, and he is getting to know the MPK staff of Melissa and Kay’s friend Mona. He may also run into his new friends, the FedEx guy, the UPS guy and the DHL guy.

Kay's Business Web Site http://www.mypreciouskid.com/

Kay continues to lead her “Mommy2Mommy” class at church, but her most rewarding activity this year is being Nana Kay to granddaughter Madison.

 “Silent Night” was hastily written with a guitar accompaniment because the church organ was out of order on Christmas Eve, 1818. Today, Allison writes not-so-hasty melodies and lyrics on her keyboard for her band “Initiate the Parallel.” This seemingly thought-provoking name was stumbled upon as a term in a driver’s manual (apparently not Oregon’s – I checked), and a band was born. Allison is a rock star by night, and a personal banking representative at US Bank by day. If you want to check out some of her musical talents and upcoming shows, go to the band’s MySpace account (if you don’t know about MySpace, ask someone under 25).

Allison's Band Blog http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=185729470

Allison is moving from the apartment she shared with friend Amanda into a house with two other young ladies. This past year she finished her associate degree studies, and plans to take some time off from school for a while.

Before settling on the name of Tiny Tim for his character in "A Christmas Carol," three other alternative names were considered by Charles Dickens. They were Little Larry, Puny Pete, and Small Sam. Peewee Herman and Sponge Bob Square Pants didn’t fit either, but that doesn’t stop Haley from watching the latter. Our little source of perpetual energy entered the second grade, took a karate class, then opted for jazz dance and soccer. She scored a goal in the first game!

After "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none was as successful as the original. Kind of sounds like my Christmas letters, doesn’t it?

New cars are the most asked for item on American’s wish lists to Santa. Okay, I made that one up, but what Green family Christmas letter would be complete without some reference to cars? Matt continues to work on his ’71 Chevelle, commuting to his parent’s shop in Lebanon on selected weekends. Melissa looks at the scattered parts and claims the project a “junk pile.” Matt and I scoff at her lack of vehicular vision and see a gleaming red and chrome masterpiece due for completion sometime next year. In the meantime, Matt was able to boost cash flow for his hobby (or was that for Madison’s birthday party?) by receiving a promotion at Wells Fargo, where he works as an analyst catching bad guys who launder money.

More diamonds are purchased at Christmas-time (31 percent) than during any other holiday or occasion during the year. On a recent trip to Las Vegas (on business of course), Kay purchased a pendant and matching earrings garnished with “man-made” diamonds. While God does a better job with his gems, man’s version was much more reasonably priced!

Well, that is enough for one Christmas letter. If you actually made it this far you are truly a loyal reader. We appreciate you!

Merry Christmas, and may God richly bless you and yours in the coming year!

Twas the night before winter holiday (CHRISTMAS!!),
when all through the recently-weatherized-so-as-not-to-increase-our-carbon-footprint house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse that was intentionally brought in by the family cat, Tinkerbell.
The Disney character stockings were hung by the wood-free chimney with care,
In hopes that Al Gore’s inconvenient truth he would not share.

The children (well, Haley, Madison and Matt) were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar free-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her organic cotton ‘kerchief, and I in my fair trade cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the chemically free lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the double-pane window (remember that carbon footprint) I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The low-watt icicle lights on the lawn where there used to be snow (#*@* global warming!)
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature hybrid sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer –
whose growth now is stunted by the lack of tundra caused by the melting polar ice cap.

With a height-challenged mature driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he quietly whistled, and – so as not to in any way be demeaning – called them by name!

"Yo yo Dasher! What up Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, hey, knock it off Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
If it’s not too much trouble – now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the ozone depleted sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of lead-free, non-China Toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in synthetic fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished from washing with phosphorous free laundry soap that won’t clean the ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler (which of course, is a perfectly acceptable occupation), just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the paint on Al Gore’s Tennessee mansion and private jet.

The stump of a pipe he used to hold tight in his teeth,
is now on a chain that encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a horizontally gifted face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was full-figured and weight challenged, a right jolly mature elf, err . . . height challenged person,
And I laughed when I saw him, (although in no way should my laughter be construed as mocking) Rather, I was laughing at myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread (like a lawsuit from his attorney, who they call Big Fred).

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Shut down the gas engine, we run on rechargeable batteries tonight!"

To view previous Christmas Letters go to 2003 / 2004 / 2005 / 2006 / 2007

 

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