PaperBackSwap Blog


Dear Members, Newsletter – December 2008

For a lot of us, this is a very special time of year.  My family celebrates Christmas; others celebrate different holidays this month that are equally meaningful to them – Eid al-adha on December 8th, Chanukah starting the 21st, the Winter Solstice on the 22nd, Kwanzaa on the 26th…
The holidays can be as stressful as they are wonderful, and this year is going to be particularly tough, what with the recession and trying to celebrate on a budget.  And for the families who have loved ones far away, the festivities will be bittersweet.
Lately, I find myself thinking a lot about one Christmas in particular: the one when I was 16 years old.  Sixteen: not quite a grown-up but not a boy anymore.   I had just bought my own first car and I was responsible for all the expenses – gas, insurance, repairs – but I was still kid enough to want “fun stuff” at Christmas.   The country was going through a recession then, just as it is now, and money was very tight; my siblings and I didn’t expect too much in terms of presents.  But still…
I remember my initial reaction when I saw that the only present under the tree for me was 2 new car tires!   After the initial disappointment, I realized what that gift actually meant.  My tires were bald; my dad didn’t want me to have an accident; my safety was more important to him than anything.    Now that I am a lot older and (I hope) a little wiser, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of that gift more than ever.  Looking back on those Christmas tires just provides more proof that the memories that matter don’t have to do with material things.  We devote a lot of time to shopping at this time of year, but long after the “stuff” is gone, the intangible things are what stay with us through the years and make us smile.
I bet many of you have similar stories, of a “lean” holiday that nonetheless gave you some of the most special memories of all.   We would love it if you would share them.   Please take a few minutes out of your day and think back to previous holidays… then click here to share one of your stories with the PBS family!

Happy holidays, and best wishes in the New Year!
from Richard and
The PaperBackSwap Team

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