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Friday, December 30, 2016

Flower-Power Flour Sacks

Photo credit:  Cimarron County, Oklahoma - A father with his 2 sons in a dust storm, 1936. Photographer: Arthur Rothstein.
There is an old adage that comes to mind, which is appropriate for today's post:  "Necessity is the mother of invention", and this was certainly apparent during the Great Depression.   This economic downturn was the result of the stock market crash in October of 1929 and lasted approximately a decade.  In one day, 16 million shares were traded and 30 billion dollars vanished, and millions of investors were depleted of their finances.  A very dreary picture was painted, as it was known as the "deepest and longest lasting" economic decline in the history of the Western world.    Banks failed.  People's savings were gone, thus spending decreased.  Industries were forced to lay off it's workers.  Unemployment and poverty skyrocketed.

Black Sunday Storm - approaching Ulysses, Kansas on April 14, 1935.  Photo credit: Historic Adobe Museum and pbs.org
Then, after suffering so much loss, our nation had to endure a severe drought which only exacerbated the hardships already felt.  Dust storms became frequent events, which resulted in this time period being known as "the dirty thirties".

Millions of people headed west to find work, however, these migrant workers overburdened the system as they competed for jobs.   Children did not attend school, and were forced to travel with their family in search of work.  Many schools had closed or only offered reduced hours.   People foraged for scraps of tin and wood, from which they made temporary homes.  They sought shelter in old train cars, or abandoned shacks and warehouses.

Photo credit - people and places
Photo credit: inkbluesky.wordpress

Often times, people, like the migrant workers, only had the clothes on their back.  Yet, those who were lucky enough to stay put, made due with what they had on-hand.  They learned to prevent waste and re-use as much as possible.   Frugality was simply a way of life and women began to utilize the cotton sacks in which flour, grain or feed was sold, to  transform them into dresses, curtains, quilts, towels and even underwear for their families!

By the time the Great Depression rolled around, many women had already sewing machines in their homes.   Commercial sewing patterns had been around since the mid 1800's, and I would assume that the art of sewing was not something that was "discovered", but rather the utilization of "found" material was a logical solution to growing children.

It should be noted that the trend for using sacks to transform into clothing, actually began around the mid-19th century, as manufacturers sought cheaper ways to sell their products.  Prior to the manufacturing of "sacks" (for items sold in bulk such as grain, sugar, salt or flour) were sold in wooden barrels or tins, which was much more expensive.  Canvas was then used, and eventually manufacturers began to utilize textile mills to produce strong-weight, yet inexpensive cotton, replacing the more expensive options.

As you can see, Life Magazine captured this photo in which a
factory worker is sealing the top of a flour sack which has
been printed with an actual cut out pattern for a stuffed animal!

Another Life Magazine photo showing this gentleman amidst a
variety of flour sacks, all bearing colorful prints and designs.
To explain how textile mills created feed sacks for specific products, it is important to note that if the manufacturer was selling flour, sugar or salt, a tighter weave of cotton was used to ensure that there was no leakage or spillage of the actual product; and in contrast, grain for animals were sold in sacks with a low thread count.

When the manufacturers of these sacks began to realize that women were using not only the intended products, but its shell, they rallied and began to print textiles with both cut-out patterns, as well as a large variety of floral, kitchen and multi-colored patterns.

During this same time, many publications were developed to assist families with ideas of how to utilize the fabric, and some manufacturers of fabric used certain inks that would fade with washing, to print instructions directly on the sacks!  "Sack Dresses" earned popularity not just for poor families but grew into popular fashion.

When you consider the time, it was a very kind - an almost heroic act - on behalf of the sack manufacturers, who had contributed far more than just providing a product.  They brought color into otherwise dark times. At the onset of World War II, economics again forced these same manufacturers to begin to utilize paper instead of cotton and this is where the story ends.

Here are a few examples of the prints found on the colored flour sacks that were manufactured during that era:

Special thanks to Melissa B., who posted this meme on Facebook, and was the inspiration for today's post.  Thanks, Missy! :)

*All images without specific credit were found on Pinterest.com

Saturday, December 24, 2016

1816 - Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death

Two hundred years ago, in 1816 is known as the 'Year Without a Summer", due to extreme fluctuating temperatures which made growing crops virtually impossible.  Other names assigned to this dark year were, "Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death", "The Poverty Year", "The Summer that Never Was" and, the "Year There Was No Summer".  

Paricutin volcano erupting in Mexico - Image credit:  mexicoimportarts.com.au
In New England, the "Dark Veil" anomaly prevailed, as 6 inches of snow fell on June 6th, and there was a impenetrable frost during every other normal summer month.  During July and August, temperatures fell to as low as 40 degrees, which caused the inability to raise crops and resulted in farmers charging exorbitant prices or, people hoarded what they had. 

Some went hungry and some farmers even left New England to try their luck in the west.  Snow fell the following day, in Boston, which was the latest time ever recorded.  On June 8th, in Cabot, Vermont 18 inches of snow blanketed the ground.  

The New England Historical Society states, "On June 11, a temperature of 30.5 degrees was recorded in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Frozen birds dropped dead in the streets of Montreal. Lambs died from exposure in Vermont."  Then, just 11 days later, temperatures soared to 101 degrees in Salem, Massachusetts, and then plummeted between 30 to 40 degrees around the region, during the beginning of July. 

An unrelenting "dry fog" persisted which gave the skies a reddish hue and sunlight was weak and subdued.  People were able to observe sunspots by the naked eye.  Winds blew, and rain fell but it didn't lift the fog.  Temperatures dramatically soared, and then fell to freezing within hours.  

Here in the east, people were fearful of famine and rightfully so, as the railroad from the west had not been operating so they were unable to share the stocks from their granaries, so the east did what they could in their own communities to simply eat.  But, the effects were felt across the world.  

Remarkably, it gave rise to the growing and production of opium in China.  After their crops failed, they found new prosperity in this trade. 

The origin of this strange year was the result of a volcanic eruption, that occured in April, 1815 (designated as the most powerful eruption in recorded history) at Mount Tabor, in Indonesia.  

Image source: eh-resources.org
The Tambora volcano registered a 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index whose measurements are from 0 to 8, with 8 considered a "mega-colossal" event.  To compare this to other historical eruptions, Mount St. Helen's and Mount Vesuvius (Pompeii) registered as a 5.   It was reported that the mountain summit site was viewed up to 370 miles away, as nothing but pitch blackness for about 2 days.

Billions of tons of gas, ash and debris were expelled from the violent explosion, and lingered in the atmosphere which caused the severe oscillation of temperatures, lingering fog and the ability to see sun spots.  It is assumed that at the time of the eruption, possibly hundreds of thousands of people died from the pyroclastic lava lows which extended up to 12 miles surrounding the site.  Tsunami waves crashed onto shore at heights up to 13 feet.  Sulfurous gas and falling ash likely choked people to death. 

This natural disaster likely slowed the Indian monsoon, which is the world's largest weather system, encouraging drought due to the devastation of crops, and inevitably brought disease.  A breakout of a deadly strain of cholera, developed in the Bay of Bengal as the volcano actually altered the microbial ecology in the surrounding seas and mutated into a new strain. It began to affect the local population and then spread into Asia.  The disease continued it's path around the globe and, before all was "said and done", an estimated death toll was in the tens of millions.  

Fortunately, the global climate change lasted about 2 years.  The ash and debris settled back onto the earth's surface, and the sun's radiation slowly returned to normal.   Tomorrow is Christmas, 2016, and I can't help but wonder if the phrase "Christmas in July" was the result of this phenomenon?

mentalfloss.com gives 3 additional facts about this horrible year:

"CROP FAILURES FURTHER HARMED A FOUNDING FATHER.  We don’t normally think of leaders of the United States as individuals without money—especially in current times, it’s common for candidates to require vast personal wealth in order to seek the highest office in the land. In the early days of the United States, however, this wasn’t always the case. Thomas Jefferson lived most of his life deeply in debt, and the summer of 1816 didn’t help. That year’s extreme weather caused Jefferson’s crops to fail for several years afterward, heavily contributing to the Founding Father’s already-considerable debt. Jefferson never recovered financially, and he lived the waning years of his life in debt that would equal millions of dollars in 2016."

"THE YEAR WITHOUT SUMMER HELPED GIVE US THE BICYCLE.  When crops failed as a result of the extreme weather in 1816, it wasn’t only humans that suffered without food. The failed harvests sent the price of oats soaring, making it harder and more expensive for individuals to afford to keep horses for transportation. Looking for a new way to get around, Karl Drais invented a device called a “Laufmaschine,” or a “running machine.” The contraption is very similar to the bicycle we know and love today—instead of using pedals, however, you operated it with your feet Fred Flintstone-style."

"THE COOL DOWN LED TO ARCTIC EXPLORATION.  Weather exists as nature’s way of trying to balance out the atmosphere. When one part of the world experiences extreme weather, somewhere nearby is often experiencing the opposite weather to balance it out. When much of the world experienced a cool-down in the wake of Mount Tambora’s eruption, the Arctic warmed up, and it warmed up enough that it cleared the sea ice and allowed British explorers to map out the area and hunt for the Northwest Passage."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


The dark night of our souls is Solstice,

for winter's courtship with autumn divorces,

its manifold of amber and gold;

and all is concealed beneath a cloak of snow.

Fire has expelled it's last breath,

giving way to winter and it's death.

And, as I gaze across the silvery field,

no living things or life are revealed;

Yet the umber milk-blossoms are still exposed,

and splay their fairy wings as their pods unfold,

and burst from the white, innocence of snow.

In the silence of this day, I pause;

For, the musk of the rose doth not waft,

and quiet, are the bees and the wasp.

Other beings with gossamer wings,

have turned into unnatural things;

as the snow blankets the grass o'er field,

and I hear the distant church bells peal.

From light to dark, and dark to light;

The great god of Yule ignites a spark,

and the Goddess matriarch embarks

from perpetual day and endless night.

The sun and the moon collide in it's arc,

And from the sun, they take flight.

©Denise Goodwin, All Rights Reserved

***This entry is repeated from my poetry blog: https://moonspyre.blogspot.com/

Image credit - elephant journal

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Swamp Has Officially Overflowed

Earlier this month, I blogged about Donald Trump's cabinet picks to date.  Since my last post in which I said, 
"You may have voted for Trump because he seemed defiant and his message was that he was a renegade and a rebel, and he was going to ride his white stallion into the White House and save the country.  His repeated [campaign] message was clearly anti-establishment, however, the establishment from which you wanted change is the precisely the empire he is building.  
So, in opposition to his promise to America to take the wealth out of Wall Street, he is embracing the elite, and filling his cabinet with billionaires and multimillionaires, super rich financers and industrialists who will favor only the rich getting richer, and don't think that for one second that Trump favors the poor or the working class.   His picks are all very clearly self-serving."  
Donald Trump continues to amaze, astonish, dumbfound and baffle Americans with his cabinet picks, to whom he refers to as "players", based on their wealth and status in the business world.  

Snippet of the "player", Trump - your President Elect,
in the now infamous "grab her by the pussy" edit
I would also like to point out that I am uncertain as to why he continues to chose people who are in opposition to the very administrations to which he is appointing.  The bottom line thus far, is that his choices are clearly the most conservative administrations we have seen in decades, and one of the LEAST diverse cabinets in United States history, due to the fact that the 4 most senior and influential appointments are all elderly white males, who just happen to be, worth a fortune.  

George Washington, in an 1853 lithograph, oversees his slaves at Mount Vernon. (The Granger Collection, NYC) - Smithsonian Magazine
The year is almost 2017. Remember, People:  Our founding fathers were all white, male slave-owners.  The same men who promulgated in our Constitution that "all men are created equal."  

Americans have fought for human rights for 241 years, and now it seems that all the blood, sweat and tears which we have fought and died for through civil war and world wars, and as he continues to chose more and more conservative members, we are at risk of reversing all the good that has been done...especially after the past several decades.   

It is crystal clear that Trump values 2 things: 




hard cash.

And it seems that the Good Old Boys club, is alive in well.  Gregory Krieg of CNN wrote on 12/15/16: 
"By selecting ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state, Donald Trump on Tuesday guaranteed that his four most influential departments will, if confirmed, be led entirely by white males for the first time since George H.W. Bush's first Cabinet was approved in 1989. Bush kept white males in those positions for his entire term."  

"He's much more than a business executive," Trump said of Tillerson, "I mean, he's a world-class player."  
64 year old Rex Tillerson, has been chosen to be the next Secretary of State.  He  is another multi-BILLIONAIRE, and "outgoing" CEO of Exxon-Mobil.  

Many considered him a *dark horse in the Secretary of State race.  His business history includes ongoing close "ties" to Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.  Putin awarded Tillerson with the Order of Friendship in 2013, which was most likely the rsesult of an agreement made between Exxon-Mobil and a state-owned Russian oil company in 2011.  The agreement gave Exxon-Mobil access to rich oil resources in the Russian Arctic. and afforded Russia with the opportunity to invest in Exxon-Mobil's overseas operations. 
 *Dark Horse [Definition]:  "a political candidate unexpectedly nominated usually as a compromise between factions."

Tillerson has no government or political experience, and his ties to Russia will be of utmost concern from Senators on both sides. 

Trump's Cabinet is now the wealthiest in American history.  I ask you, Mr. Trump, how will being a "player" affect the middle-class working American?   You said, that you want people (in your administration) "that made a fortune because now they're negotiating with you."   What are WE, THE PEOPLE, negotiating?  Are you trying to pacify those people who voted for you that you have OUR best interest in your plan?  Everything that Trump has promised to "Make America Great" is a complete and utter oxymoron.

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that Trump's approach to his cabinet is all about "the deal", and very little to do with how these individuals will benefit or contribute to the well being of the average American person or family.  In fact, one must wonder what is going on behind the scenes - what planning is being conducted on the side?  Yes, I am eluding to the potential to line one another's pockets while in office or surreptitiously and covertly through existing business ties.  I ask you:  What other conclusion can we make of these choices?

"Trump's "anti-establishment" cabinet of millionaires and billionaires is worth more than 1/3 of U.S. households combined.....It truly does not make sense that 52 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent....[Trump] said, ‘We are going to be standing up for working people. We are anti-establishment.’ Well, if the Cabinet he appointed of billionaires and millionaires is anti-establishment, boy, I would hate to see what the ‘establishment’ looks like."    - Senator Bernie Sanders

Image source: theonion
Only 3 of his cabinet picks are not white males:  Ben Carson, as the Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] who is known for stating that housing vouchers foster dependency.  I disagree.  Fortunately, we do have the Fair Housing Act, and other safety nets which I pray receive strong defense by both parties. 

I personally work in the housing field, and can tell you that by removing these safety nets, would be detrimental to a large portion of the population.  You must understand that in order for people to receive a housing voucher, they are scrutinized under both the state and local levels.    All cases are examined under the microscope of each individual basis, and multiple steps and  are involved.  The state simply does not "write out" a housing voucher.  There are strict requirements based on income, (for most, this means a "fixed" income - meaning that it cannot be changed).  Other factors such as chronic homelessness and possibly mental illness are also at issue, and absolutely nothing is given out without legal documentation and verification of need.  It is a long and stressful process.   

Vouchers may also be considered for working families who lack the training or education to lift themselves out of poverty, or perhaps there is a serious medical issue in the household which prevents them from earning more.   It is the means in which a family can stabilize, and sometimes this is a temporary situation as they work to achieve goals such as the completion of educational programs or training.  

Consider the rising monthly cost of rent, food, heat, electric, car payments, gas and so on.  The monthly burden can be overwhelming and without hope.  If one's income is not flexible or if an individual or family is not able to improve on their current circumstances, then our moral responsibility is to assist our brothers and sisters who are in need.

Obviously, there is much more to it, but let me say that vouchers almost always involves the service coordination of multiple agencies, which must assist in proving the need of any financial assistance (such as the housing voucher).   The the issuance of housing vouchers are a matter of moral and economic urgency.
Image source: Time
Elaine Chao for the Department of Labor Secretary, "Chao became the first Asian American woman to be named to a Cabinet post in 2001 and for 8 years, went on to lead the Department of Labor under George W. Bush. In naming a former Cabinet member, who has been married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) since 1993, Trump has selected another Washington "insider" even after repeatedly campaigning on a promise to “drain the swamp” of the political and financial influences that he said saturate the Capitol.  

So, here is an individual who will be negotiating with legislature regarding our budget of a trillion dollars for the infrastructure.  Will she be negotiating directly with her husband?  Though, some may see this as a conflict of interest, it is not the first time that spouses have partnered in administrations.  

Chao also was VP of the Bank of America and at Citicorp, an international banker.  She took heat after being found to have some responsibility in the Sago Mine and the Crandall Canyon Mine disasters, that took the lives of 15 miners,  in which proper inspection could have resulted in regulating safety standards.   To her credit, she actually does have direct experience in the Transportation Department.  "Chao was steeped in the transportation world early. Starting as a young girl, she watched her father build a global shipping business. He still runs the company, the Foremost Group, with two of Chao’s sisters." -washingtonpost

Apparently, Trump wants to issue massive tax credits to investors who will be responsible for the [re] building of our infrastructure.  This dubious belief will be controversial because, by issuing tax credits Trump's proposal offers an 82% tax credit to a corporation that invests in infrastructure.  So, the builders get money, and America pays.  

The challenge will be HOW to pay for it.

Traditionally, the government borrows money by selling bonds to the public.  The bonds are paid back with tax revenues of fees that are bound to the infrastructure.  Think of tolls for roads or bridges, or bills that you receive for sewer usage. Trump will abandon the traditional planning and wants to attract private builders for public roads, bridges and waterways.  He has proffered an incentive by issuing tax credits in which companies will receive an 82% tax credit.  

"For example, if a company invests $20 million of its own money and borrows an additional $80 million to build a $100 million bridge, it would get $82 million of tax credit over the life of the project. That's a huge credit relative to the amount of equity committed to the project. The tax credit benefits the builder and it is paid for by you and me, the taxpayer.  The second way to incent private capital to build infrastructure is to give the private investors a lasting right to collect fees from the public to use the infrastructure."  -usnews

Q:   Is there more good news for the potential construction workers and contractors in that last statement?  

A:   Yes, because at least the American government will pay their bills, and these people will not be at the mercy of waiting to be paid by Trump directly.                God, I love sarcasm.

Trump has chosen Linda McMahon for the Small Business Administration.  She is the 68 entertainment executive who ran the World Wrestling Entertainment league, with her husband, (who founded the company) Vince McMahon.  Forbes states her net worth is about $1 Billion dollars.  

She ran for Senate in the state of Connecticut but never was "voted in", even after spending millions of dollars on the race.  She also donated $6 million to the Trump campaign, as well as to the highly questionable "Trump Foundation".  

(Be reminded that  the Trump Foundation's Board consists of Donald Trump, his oldest children and a treasurer.  It has no paid employees. The foundation also neglected to register under article 7A of New York's Executive Law, which requires any charity soliciting more than $25,000 a year, and was ordered to stop fundraising. )

Kate Vinton of Forbes.com writes of McMahon: 

"Between 2007 and 2009, Vince and Linda McMahon donated $5 million to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, making the couple the biggest outside donors to his foundation, according to Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold.  In an interview with the AP in September, Linda McMahon said of Trump: "Once you're his friend, he is loyal to the end. He's an incredibly loyal, loyal friend." That loyalty has paid off for McMahon, who joins a growing list of Trump administration picks with billionaire connections."

President-elect Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of the state of Oklahoma, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.  Ironically, this man is yet, another pick, who is skeptical of climate change.  This is absolutely, positively 100% confounding to me.    Trump picks Pruitt - who doesn't believe that climate change or global warming is real, regardless of countless scientific studies confirming it is a global concern - to work for the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY whose mission is "to protect human health and the environment".  I can't stop shaking my head in disbelief.

With this appointment, I believe that Trump's actions are defiant, and in retaliation  against President Obama, who's hard work toward climate change and environmental protection was to be his legacy. Pruitt is documented as saying:

* that the science of climate change is “far from settled”.  

Maybe, if you live on Mars.   

*  GOP AGs warn Dems that if climate "skeptics" can be prosecuted for fraud, so can "alarmists".  

So referring to the “alarmist,” he’s attempting to debunk that millions of people which include EVERY world leader, (except the incoming orangutan-elect), that climate change is real, and plans must continue in order to prevent the most detrimental global results. 

* Pruitt actually campaigned AGAINST states who complied with Obama's Clean Power Plan.  

In fact, he actually SUED THE EPA to attempt to block Obama's plan to save billions of dollars in health and climate-related costs/spending by the year 2030. 

Regarding Pruitt, Green Peace states:  "Pruitt’s public statements on climate and energy are frustrating (to say the least) for anyone who understands basic science. 

But it’s what he hasn’t said that’s even worse.  In 2014, Pruitt was caught in a secretive alliance with oil and gas industry insiders aimed at tearing down environmental protections. Emails obtained by the New York Times show Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general collaborating with corporations and lobbyists to file lawsuits and challenge federal regulations on everything from fracking to air pollution.

One of those fossil fuel insiders was Harold Hamm, Trump’s top energy adviser and CEO of the country’s largest fracking company. Hamm would go on to chair Pruitt’s 2013 re-election campaign. More recently he’s made news as one of the biggest proponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline; it’s his company’s fracked oil that would have flowed through the pipeline if it had been completed.

Meanwhile, Pruitt has received $318,496 in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry since 2002, leaving little doubt about whose interests he’ll protect as EPA head — and it’s not people or the environment."  -greenpeace.org

Pruitt is also an anti-LGBT, and opposed to transgender integration school policies use of rest rooms, locker rooms and other related facilities.  He was dubbed the "head bully" on this issue. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Many Faces of Santa

Last year at this time, I blogged about strange vintage Christmas cards, which featured (among other strange things) pigs, bugs and mushrooms.   

You really have to wonder if the Victorian artists or those illustrators from the early part of the 20th Century possessed an evil streak or did they simply embrace the season with that era's form of humor?  It is difficult to tell from where they found inspiration, as some illustrations were funny, but others were nonsensical, and dark in nature, and some appear to even embrace violence.   

For instance, dead frogs - how in the world does this suggest a Merry Christmas?  I continue to shake my head, in wonder!

And then, there is this:  A rat apparently hitching a ride on the back of a lobster.  This totally reeks of Christmas!  Not.

Translation:  "Peace, Joy, Health and Happiness."  

With the invention of the camera, Christmas became a favorite subject.  In the 6 photos, featured below, Santa is not always the jolly, sweet man with a white, pristine mustache and beard, whose twinkling blue eyes and merry laugh spread joy.  No, Santa appears to either have tied one on, or suffering the ill effects from the night before.  Let's face it - he's just plain creepy.  

Fortunately, the typical Santa is a more welcoming presence, and his happy demeanor remains his enduring charm and appeal to children and adults around the world.   

Image source:  bindblottyandcajole
The interesting thing about Old St. Nick, is how many ways he has been portrayed, throughout centuries. Santa Claus is known by many names, for example, in Poland, he is Swiety Mikolaj (St. Nicholas); in Russia, Ded Moroz (“Grandfather Frost”); in Sweden, Jultomten (“Christmas brownie”) and in the United Kingdom, he is Father Christmas.  He is also portrayed as a religious figure as either a Bishop or a Saint.  

If you have read my blog, you probably know by now that I enjoy reading and writing about the Victorian era, and love all things vintage.  These delightful illustrations, featured below, are from (mostly) vintage greeting cards.   They are extraordinary examples of the variations of this beloved figure.  

The reason I love the Victorian artists is because Santa is frequently featured in rich clothing that isn't always the typical white-fur lined red velvet suit.  Instead, he is often portrayed with an air of wealth and social status.  It is interesting to note the detail of illustration to show-case the embroidery and trimmings of his clothing, which are often indicative of this era. 

As you can see, Santa Claus can be thin or fat.  He can be merry or serious.  He can be seen wearing red, or blue or green or beige and apparently has a large assortment of hats.  He may carry a staff, parcels or a sack of toys.  The common denominator is that he always appears in the snow, donning his marvelous long, white beard, mustache and hair.  
However you spot Santa this year, his appearance is guaranteed to bring a feeling of joy to your heart, as we anticipate the sentiments of the season.   May the wonder of it all, be yours. 

Seasons Greetings, 
(with love)