Friday, September 20, 2013

World's Largest Stamp Gallery

I wish I could go to this! The grand opening of the new William H. Gross Stamp Gallery at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum is Sunday, September 22nd. It is the world's largest stamp gallery and the only one to show stamps and mail in the context of American history and culture.

 Among display will be like a cover postmarked on the moon in 1971, and a watch worn by a sea clerk aboard Titanic. You'll be able to see a letter addressed to John Hancock postmarked July 4, 1776 and the world famous Inverted Jenny, along with other stamps from America and around the world.

 Lots of fun for the whole family too! Check out the list of awesome activities for kids. There's everything from a Bugs Bunny meet and greet to a scavenger hunt. Ben Franklin will also be there himself to pose for pictures. Anyone out there planning on attending this?

Monday, November 14, 2011

An Advent Calendar Christmas

I love advent calendars almost as much as I love opening the mail. I look forward to each day when I get to reach inside and pull out a little surprise. Last year, I got ambitious and decided to make my own. I found a kit online that came with 25 mini boxes that were precut. All I had to do was fold them up and stick a cute little sticker on the inside of each one:


Next, I stuffed them all with fun little gifts:


And I was all done! I sent them to family members as part of their Christmas gifts. I can't wait to share this tradition with my kids!


Do you open advent calendars in December? What other fun holiday traditions do you have?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yes, Virginia

This is one of my all time favorite Christmas letters. In 1897, eight year old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Sun, asking if there was a Santa Claus. The response moves me to tears every time I read it. Below is a copy of the letter, as seen in the original newspaper:
  
 We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
Dear Editor—
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Reprinted from the September 21, 1897, issue of The New York Sun.