Bazyn Communications Newsletter
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3. An Article of interest “Christmas Memories” by:
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I wish all of you a great holiday season. I really enjoy getting together with friends and relatives this time of year. I do miss the snow here in Southern California. It doesn’t feel quite the same as when I was growing up and living in Iowa. I hope you all have safe travels wherever you go to see those you love.
In this newsletter, I’ve included a story I wrote a few years ago about some of my favorite Christmas memories. I hope you enjoy it. I’ve also included my usual updates.
If you wish to contribute an article to a future newsletter or make any suggestions, please check the contact information at the end of this newsletter. Enjoy reading this issue and do enjoy your special holiday celebrations!
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My earliest recollections of Christmas are happy ones. I can remember various sizes and varieties of Christmas trees, both alive and artificial. It did not matter because the feelings of love and joy mingled in the air all the way from Thanksgiving until after January 2nd. When I was younger, the reason January 2nd always signaled the end of the Christmas season was because that was my father's birthday. We always left the tree up until after we celebrated his birthday. We always had a family celebration on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my father's birthday.
I grew up in a conservative, traditional, Christian home. This for me meant that family and God were the most central elements of my life growing up. We grew up learning about God's love and how we as humans should show that same love to one another. We always gave gifts to one another on birthdays and Christmas. When buying gifts, we tried to get each person exactly what he/she wanted most.
When that particular gift was unaffordable, we would give them something to remind them of it. For example, my father loved cars. He was a mechanic and particularly liked GM products. One year for Christmas, we gave him a new car. We knew he had never owned a new car. Of course, it had to be a Matchbox car. Everyone got a laugh from dad's reaction.
We would often play practical jokes with gifts. Wrapping a really large box that was quite heavy was fun. For us, that meant we had to find some particularly large rocks and put them inside a box before wrapping it. Other times we would tape a small empty box, wrap it, put it in another box, tape it very well, wrap it, put it in another box, tape it well, wrap it, etc. until we thought there was a sufficient number to keep the excitement building.
If anyone in our family complained too much about any particular thing, you can bet that they found something relating to that in their gifts. My sister Char's husband has been growing bald for the last 20 years. He has often received items to supposedly help him revive his hair, cover up the bald area, or just a smart comment on a plaque or mug. We haven't done anything lately since that grows old after a few times.
My brother-in-law Don is a repairman for all kinds of moving vehicles. He even has a patent on some types of re-constructions to garbage trucks, cattle trucks, and other vehicles. We have given him various items that needed fixing. Of course, they were items that were obviously not repairable.
My brother, Russ, was single up until this spring. I for years have given him spoons, forks, or other items that were ruined in the garbage disposal. Now whenever he gets a gift from me, he asks if it is something to add to his collection.
One of my most unforgettable experiences took place the Christmas after I lost my sight. My brother Russ was six at the time. I lived at home for a few weeks before I went to rehabilitation training. Russ noticed that whenever I would clear the table after meals, I would often accidentally put my fingers in the butter. Since we usually used the margarine sticks and put them on a saucer, it was not that difficult to do.
At Christmas, Different members of my family often give gag gifts appropriate to the recipient. This particular Christmas, Russ gave me a unique gift.
We often wrap gifts in all types of containers, so I was not surprised to unwrap a plastic bowl with a lid. I innocently opened the lid and put my fingers inside. Oops! My fingers were soon full of butter. Russ laughed hysterically and so did the rest of us.
We don't just give gag gifts on Christmas. I also am in the habit of bringing small or inexpensive gifts that I have picked up at flea markets, garage sales, or sales. We try different ways to give these away each year. Sometimes, we have an alarm clock go off different times and whoever is talking at the time gets the gift. Other times, we have put stickers or tape under dishes, chairs, etc. to give them away. We have also played cards and given gifts after each hand. If all else fails, we can give out numbers if we have too many to give out in one of the other ways.
When the time comes to open gifts, we let the youngest children hand out the gifts, with help if necessary. When all have been passed out, we open them and go around to tell all what we've received from who. Some years, we have varied this by having music and a ball to pass. Someone controls the music and when the music stops, whoever has the ball gets to open a gift first. The younger kids get a little too excited for this so we can't sustain this way very long. Other years, we have started with the youngest child and gone until we hit the adults.
Mom usually saves the supper for last unless juggling all of our schedules, five kids and three married grandchildren, makes us have dinner first. We traditionally have a big turkey dinner for Thanksgiving so Christmas supper is more casual. We usually have ham sandwiches or sloppy joes, chips, several favorite salads, apples-both green and red with carmel dip, and lots of homemade candy. Each person brought family favorites that they make the best. My sister Barb brings the carmel dip and some special salad and dessert without sugar (her husband is diabetic). My sister Char often brings her Snicker apple salad and homemade candy. My sister Laurine brings her famous fudge, other confections, and buns. My brother, Russ, has usually brought the chips since it's easiest for him. I usually just bring extra gifts since bringing food is a hassle on a plane. My mom usually makes the meat dish and makes bars or more confections. No one starves.
I find that the preparation before the day comes is as much fun as the day itself. Trying to conjure up the right idea for a gag gift is challenging. Some years, I have written a note to explain the reason for that particular gift. Sometimes that is really necessary because I have really struggled to come up with something. Last year, I wrote poems to go with each gag gift. I found it quite amusing just to come up with the rhyme. Not all recipients appreciated the humor or the time spent in preparing that "special" gift.
Our Christmases are truly fun and joyful. Most of all, they are special because we are a loving and supportive family that truly believes that Christmas brings the best gift of all, God's Son.
Copyright © July, 1997 by Ardis Bazyn
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Bazyn Communications continues to offer inspirational and motivational speaking and coaching. A free consultation by phone or in person is available upon request. My primary topic areas are: coping with challenges and change, developing/maintaining a positive attitude, image building for organizations or churches, setting reachable goals, and successful business strategies. I also give training and facilitation on team building, time management, stress management, diversity training, and goal setting. I can adapt my presentations as necessary for the person or group with which I’m working. For a list of the key points on these subjects, either email me directly or go to: HTTP://www.bazyncommunications.com.
I also provide writing projects including: articles (with or without interviews and research), transcription of tapes and cds, press releases, copy for websites or brochures, flyers, speeches, presentations, training modules (developed in consultation with the company or organization), and ghost-writing. If you would like to see a sample of any previous work, contact me. If you have questions, please ask.
To order one of my books, check out my website or call. I take checks, money orders, and can accept Visa or MasterCard through Paypal, since I’m registered with them.
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If you would like to contribute an article for an upcoming newsletter, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send any article, which may be of interest to readers, both individuals and organizations.
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Check out the links of organizations in which I participate:
Business Network International: HTTP://www.bniburbank.com Burbank
Chamber of Commerce: HTTP://www.burbankchamber.com Burbank
activities: HTTP://www.burbank.com Burbank
American Council of the Blind: HTTP://www.acb.org
Council of the Blind: HTTP://www.ccbnet.org California
Sheppard Vendors of Randolph : HTTP://www.ntcbv.org America
Independent Visually Impaired Enterprisers: HTTP://www.acb.org/ivie
California Voter Empowerment Circle: HTTP://www.dredf.org
(accumulated articles on voting issues)
of Blind Students: HTTP://www.blindstudents.org Alliance
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500 South 3rd Street, #H
Burbank, CA 91502-1476
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“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!” Unknown
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." -- Albert Einstein
"The only real mistake we make in life is the one from which we learn nothing." anonymous
"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much.” - Mother Theresa
“Beautiful things cannot be seen or touched - they must be felt with the heart.”