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Summarizing the Year

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01 A practical joke
02 My grandparents die
03 English Tour
04 Barn swallows
05 Buying hubcaps
06 Group photos
07 Mr. Science
08 Backpacking, Middle English
09 Leukemia
10 Comfort Clothes
11 Marmots and Texas
12 Eagle, Turkey and Emu
12 Accident and Hike

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01 In the Foothills
02 Excess
03 Things unsaid
04 11 Kids
05 Multiple Choice
06 . . . bit my ear
07 Facts and Stats
08 Neiheisel Review
09 Family and Horses
10 Sing a Song
11 The Professional
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Erma Bombeck & Martha Stewart
Around the World
Coping with DUI
Defining Pretentious
The 12 McQ's

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[Ed. Note: Mrs. C's Christmas letters run to two pages, but she summarizes the year. She writes: "I have been doing this for 50 years. Two years ago I made copies of all the letters, put them in binders, and sent them to my adult children. My grandchildren enjoyed reading the antics of their parents as they grew up, and these letters brought back memories and served as a history of our family to the children." Great idea!]

Dear Friends and Family,

How wonderful to be able to greet you once again at this spiritual time of the year!

One of the most treasured times of the year for me is the annual newsletter and greeting cards we exchange with each other. I hope your year has been a good one and all of you are staying healthy and active.

Pete has been gone for 7-1/2 years now and it gets more difficult each year to do things alone without the help of a strong man. However, I have managed to continue my usual activities with church, choir, bowling, and maintaining the house and yard. I am still having minor medical problems. I thank the Lord every day for His blessings that I stay healthy. My family needs me! And I need them!

My mother, Julia G---- (soon to be 100) had a mild heart attack in April, and then fell in October bruising her ribs. She spent a month each time in an assisted living facility. Now she is home trying hard to maintain her independence and keeping a positive outlook. My sister, her husband and I share household duties because we haven't found any per- sonal care/aid to help us. Needless to say, this has resulted in a lot of stress for us all. For me, it means driving 22 miles one way, so I usually stay longer and have "quality" time with her. My sister lives one block away, so she can be there more often but doesn't have to be there as long. Mom dresses and washes herself, reads many books and watches TV, but can no longer cook, so this has become the main chore for both of us.

On December 30th a special 100th birthday party in Mom's honor will be held at a local restaurant. All my children and grandchildren will be here for the event, using their Christmas vacation time to come. (Mom's birthday is actually in January.)

A gala event is planned, with balloons, games, music and singing, and just a lot of general hilarity and fun-time with 15 great grandchildren participating.

My travel plans for this year were curtailed somewhat, but I did get to the Balalaika and Domra convention held in Reno in early July. What fun for me, taking lessons from masters from Russia (there were 8 this year), playing in the orchestra for the well-rehearsed concert at Nevada State University, and making new friends. A vodka-tasting party was the highlight one evening, along with a Cossack poetry forum. Next year the convention is scheduled for Sitka, Alaska. That will definitely be unique and wonderful.

In late June I went to the 50th anniversary party for my dear friends, Ron and Shirley B----, who live in Oak Ridge, TN. Their five children truly came up with a spectacular dinner that included a slide show of old photos and entertainment by their many grandchildren with cute songs. What a most memorable event for the 200 attendees!

By September, I was beginning to get "cabin fever" so I flew to Sarasota, Florida to visit my other dear friends, Vera (who has medical problems) and Alex L----. Just spending the week visiting, eating great meals, and sunning at the beach was very therapeutic. My friends were happy to see me also, and I was happy that I went.

Family News: Dan and Judy are still in Hanover, NH where it seems to snow quite a lot. He is in a small pediatric surgical practice with a woman surgeon at Dartmouth Medical Center. Judy is volunteering at the breast oncology center and palliative care. Eliza, 19, is a sophomore at George Mason University in VA; Rachel, 17, is a HS senior and looking at colleges in the South; Sarah, 15, has joined a thespian group and playing field hockey. Her cancer remains in remission. Grace just turned 13 and Christine is now 12. Both are playing field hockey and enjoying their friends in school. I have not seen any of them for a year and a half -- I can't wait for their visit so we can do some "girl" stuff!

Both Michael and Renee are super busy with their jobs at FlightSafety International and The Treehouse in Wichita. The excitement in their household is the outstanding football year Alex had playing for his school team. Alex, 18 and a senior, is one of the star wide receivers, and hopefully, this talent will get him a college scholarship. Ben, now 16, too has been playing outstanding football and doing well in school. Sarah is 13, and a straight A student, is playing saxophone for the school band. Zachary turned 7 in November and is in first grade. Alex and Ben are altar boys for St. George Orthodox church, where the rest of the family keeps quite active by volunteering in various ways.

Well, the word is that the "Hungarian family" - Bill, Tanya, and Nicholas - will be moving back to the States next summer. OOPS! I wrote that last Christmas. Yes, they are still in Budapest. Bill is finally completing his project in the UK, and he tells me that it's 99.9% certain they will be back in July. The big news in the family is that Andrew (18) was accepted into Tamburitzans AND into Duquesne University. He is currently in his freshman year, studying Communications Technology and Music. Bill (who made the big 21 in August) will graduate in May with a degree in Physics and German and wants to work for a German company. Both boys play numerous instruments in the folk ensemble and are thoroughly enjoying their time performing. Nicholas, 16, performed the lead in "Into the Woods" for the school musical in early December. I believe this is his 7th play - he truly would like to be an actor. Tanya played violin for the small orchestra and also made all the costumes for the show, for which she received many accolades. I think she should go into business! The D---- family vacation times were spent in Egypt in April and in October, they went to Italy to Sorrento, Capri, Pompeii, drove along the Almafi coast, and spent a night in Naples where they had the good fortune to hear Andrea Bocelli at an outdoor concert. They have visited 24 countries during their seven years in Europe.

With the stock market at an all time low, the world in turmoil, and many problems facing our newly-elected president, I foresee a very difficult time ahead for the USA. Please keep our country and troops in your prayers. I send wishes for peace in the world, and my love to you all.


[Written and contributed by Vera C., in Pennsylvania.]

This is one page of over four dozen devoted to Christmas news letters. The main Christmas News Letters page has links to more examples, plus some general guidelines and specific suggestions for writing Christmas news letters. If you have an example, either good or bad, that you'd like to share with the rest of the world, send it to me and I'll add it to these pages.

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This page updated: June 21, 2014