What are your favorite Christmas memories?

kirkus(5a)November 28, 2008

Merry Early Christmas, Everyone! Gearing up for Christmas, I wanted to start this post. What are your favorite Christmas memories?

Ill start Every Christmas Eve, my wife and kids take a "Santa Cruise". ItÂs on Lake Coeur d Alene, across the border in Idaho. The cruise is at night and takes us across the lake to SantaÂs Village. ItÂs magical with Christmas music playing on the cruise, drinking hot chocolate When you arrive at SantaÂs Village, the lights are turned off but suddenly music starts playing and the village lights up and you see the whole village from the ship. Then, Santa comes out and reads off childrenÂs names (which you give in advance.) I cry every year as my children are so delighted. It will be so special this year with our little Benjamin who is almost 2. I posted a link to some Santa Cruise pictures I found on-line.

Another special memory I have is from a few years back when we wanted to go to a Christmas Eve service and weÂre way out here in the country. We found a little country church in the wildernessÂthe snow was falling. It was like a scene out of "The Waltons: The Homecoming" as the children of the church recreated the nativity, and we sang Christmas carols and listened to the true Christmas story.

Finally, every Christmas Eve as a boy in the 60Âs, my 3 brothers and I would drive around with my parents in our station wagon looking at Christmas lights and trying to spot SantaÂs sleigh in the sky with Rudolph leading the sleigh. (Back then, there was a local pilot who would fly around with a red light on his plane on Christmas Eve. Of course, we didnÂt know that.) When we returned home, Santa had left his presents and we would open them on Christmas Eve. (I never knew who brought in the presents while we were gone!) The house would be lighted with only Christmas tree lights, Christmas music would be playing, and we would be drinking hot apple cider. Special memories. HereÂs a picture of me as a baby with my parents on Christmas. (I really miss my parents this time of year but have such wonderful, fond memories of them.)

So, what are your special Christmas memories? Please share. Bear Hugs! Kirk

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My Favorite memory Is on Christmas we've had a Santa come in for our three girls.It started in Okla.We were away from home and I wanted to make it special so I found this guy who rented his self out for $20 a half hr.We had an open house for friends and neighbors and that has been going on now since 1977.When the girls got older we just had a open house. Which was fun but the excitment wasn't the same.Then my first grandchild was born and my girls asked if I could get a Santa again.Well in Pa I haven't found any one that does it.We have a neighbor who is a great guy and I asked him if I bought a suit would he be Santa.And he's been doing every year for the Past eight years.I emailed him last night,cause my granddaughter who's 15 months had a bib on that said I'm going to be a big sister.He wrote back that santa's lap getting full.I have 1 grandson and two granddaughters now.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 3:38PM
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use2bcapecodr(z5 OH)

Ahh...yes...Christmas memories!

I was raised by my grandparents after my mother died when I was three and a half, and my brother was two. We lived in one of those houses where you could walk from the foyer, through the dining room, through the kitchen, through a hall, through the large living room and back to the foyer. There was a fireplace in the living room with French doors on either side leading to a sun room. My grandmother hid our gifts in the sun room. On Christmas Eve, (We're Scandinavian and celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve.) the doors would be closed at either end of the living room, in anticipation of Santa coming...and so we wouldn't scare him away when he came down the chimney. Grandpa, Nana (Swedish pronunciation...Nuna.), my brother and I would stand in the hall by the kitchen, outside the living room door, and listen for Santa. When at long last, we heard the fire screen fall, we would know Santa did it and rush in to find our gifts under the Christmas tree. Of course, we never noticed Nana wasn't still standing behind us while we waited all this time. We were too excited! What a great woman she was...sneaking away to the other end of the house...through the other door to the living room...to the sun room...putting all the gifts under the tree in the living room...tipping the fire screen over...and running back out of the other living room door and through the house back to enter the living room with us to see what Santa left under the tree! She was one dynamite lady!! It really tickles my funny bone when I think of her tearing through the house the way she must have. It was a pretty big
house!! LOL

As we got older, Ron and I realized Nana hid our gifts in the sun room. We never did let her know we knew! One year, I discovered she had bought the bride doll I had wanted so badly. I don't know how I did it, but I unwrapped the doll while Nana wasn't watching...several times...to look at it. Christmas Eve came...and I had to pretend to be surprised!! It was disappointing to know what I was getting ahead of time...and I've never peeked at a gift since! As a matter of fact, I would actually wrap my own gifts from my first husband every year...and never once looked to see what was in the boxes! LOL

The most fun Christmases were spent in Vermont with my aunt and uncle and five cousins. The best year was when my grandparents, brother and I were there...and my dad came with my future step-mother. She turned out to be my very best friend for 40 years. We did a "Man on the Street" audio tape...funny voices and all, with my oldest cousin as MC. (Like the old Steve Allen Show did. It just goes to show you how old I am! LOL) It was so darned funny! And...of course...there was the batch of rum-laced eggnog that got spilled on the kitchen counter...that my cousin and I licked off!! LOL

Now, I am the Nana...trying to create wonderful, funny memories for my own grandchildren. Who knew! I just hope they remember me as fun loving...and not just plain nuts! LOL


    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 9:52PM
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Oh, what beautiful memories! This is like a Chicken Soup for the Soul post... Garden Junk style. Thank you for sharing. :o) Kirk

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 10:59PM
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Last Christmas was Hubs and my first empty nest Christmas trip. We went down to Galveston Island. We pulled over and watched a live Nativity with animals and children on the way to our hotel. Then went to the historic Strand area and checked into the Tremont hotel that use to be a warehouse a hundred years ago. Christmas bells were ringing out all over the Island every hour until 9 PM. Then again at Midnight. That thrilled me so much it was like a scene from "The Bishops Wife". I dressed in a black velvet dress and black velvet opera coat and we went to midnight mass in the oldest Catholic Church on the Island. On the way to midnight mass at 11:15 PM we past an alley behind a historic home. I looked and OMG there was a discarded computer desk that I knew could be cleaned nicely for my grand daughter (Hard Core Junkers can also wear heels). So Hubs, dressed in full suit and tie, pulled up into the alley and loaded the large heavy desk into our truck bed. We were oblivious to the fact that someone might call the police, shoot us, or just think that Santa was going down the narrow alley. Luckily we made it to the Church on time alive. We pulled into the parking lot with furniture loaded in the back of the pickup. Mass was joy filled Christmas Carols and candles!!! After we returned back to the Hotel the parking valet never asked us where we went furniture shopping at Midnight on Christmas Eve. We went up on the roof of the building. You could see out over the island lights; Feel the chilly wind blow from the gulf; and then slow danced alone to Christmas jazz coming through the speakers. Christmas Day we slept in, then called the kids, and then went to the Hotel's Gormet lunch complete with live pianist and champagne. It was the fanciest Christmas I have ever had. I'm usually in the kitchen in blue jeans cooking. This was enchanting and sometimes feels like a dream when I remember back. And since Christmas is usually full of kids and grandkids, this was my first Honeymoon styled Christmas. May I say I highly reccommend it. :)

P.S. I heard that the historic district took on 7 ft of water during the IKE Hurricane. So I'm wondering if they are able to open for this Christmas since the restaurant was on the 1st floor. There was only one solid marble staircase separating it from ground level. Also wondering how that beautiful ancient old Church weathered it all.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 2:17AM
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I'm going to sound really old so let me say that at our house we did have indoorplumbing by the time I was ten. But the best memories were of going to aunt's house. She lived to be 109. Never had any kids. They had a basin as you entered back of house & you "washed" if you had gotten dirty! Homemade soap & water poured out of bucket into basin by my uncle then after he was sure you were clean he opened the door to "heaven" that old coal stove had the bread nearly finished & turkey was waiting to be cut, homemade raspberry jam & fresh pies on the metal counter of the hoosier?? Delicious food & at the end while everyone was still too full to get up my aunt would take a bone or 2 & crack it to get the marrow out, I found that fascinating for some reason. Soon after a couple of us kids would have to go out to the outhouse. If we were lucky there was a catalog, if not it was corn husks. Then back in for the best part-listening to the men tell stories & I always fell asleep & dad had to carry me out to the car. My uncle had been kicked out by his siblings when he was 12, both parents had died & such a time he had getting to adulthood, but some other boys joined in & they helped each other as it was common to do that to kids back then.
I wish I had those stories written down & so glad I have my dad's. Back to the kitchen at my aunt's house, there was a pump you poured some water in to prime & water was heated on the stove,it was dangerous & so the kids were in with men. Years later my cousins bought & did the work to put in a bathroom in the house & running hot & cold water. Well, they used it in the kitchen but for some reason just didn't trust the new bathroom, it was spotless but we were always told we could use that or of course the outhouse was just fine too. Finally after my uncle broke his hip they started to use the bathroom.(several yrs later) We were there with our kids 1 yr.& I asked if she would give me 1 of her old spoons & she asked why,I remembered the beautiful old spoons in her wonderful jam & she said "Oh, honey, I wish you had gotten here a week sooner, I threw them all out because I wanted to have nice silverware
(stainlees steel) when you got here. I tried to hid my disappointment. But as soon as I got back to Ca. I asked my grandma for a little something. She gave me 4 pieces of pink depression glass. So copy down the stories & ask grandma or aunts for a little treasure to remember them by. While they are still here!! This is long!! Jan

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 2:38AM
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kudzukween(8 MS)

I remember a few gifts that were favorites. One year when I was pretty young, maybe 4 ? it was paper dolls. I played with them for the longest time, we had plenty of paper and crayons and colored pencils, and I made tons and tons of new clothes for them. Another year it was a transistor radio and a Sting Ray. And another it was Barbie, I loved it. One year Twin and I each got a wheelbarrow and a scooter; and a blue Cadillac and a wagon to share...BUT, we'd also gotten a new fridge, so we wound up playing with that huge cardboard box til it disintegrated. We made a cardboard kitchen in it, and played with the aluminum dishes and pots and pans we also got.
Now.....my children always said their favorite Christmas was the year their Uncle gave them each(and this includes their cousins) a huge length of rope and a booklet on how to tie knots. We knew they were getting that, so we got them camouflage clothes and paint. After all the kids were here, they all got dressed in camo and painted their faces, they took off out to the woods( almost 90 acres here, nothing but trees and the river)and in the end my son had captured all the others and taken them prisoner :D Then they made Tarzan swings and swung over the gullies and the river. Their favorite Christmas memory:D

I just have to mention...that every year my Dad would grumble about Christmas and say "just get them sticks and string, all they're going to do is play with the empty boxes".....but it was true, LOL. The year my son got a Big Wheel, he played with the box; my daughter with her Big Wheel,too.
Just never tell them there is no such thing as Santa.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 6:44AM
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I have several good memories of Christmas favorites. #1 being that almost 4 years ago my first Grandbaby girl was given to us to cherish. From my childhood it would have to be the stringing of cranberries and popcorn to garnish our tree, to be later enjoyed by the wildlife. We would have wall to wall family to enjoy the special day with. This I miss the most, because families are miles and states away. But I do count my blessings. I am healthy, I'm not poor and have a home, and I have my son, my DIL and my Zoe.
Happy Holidays to you all.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 9:18AM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

I've so enjoyed reading your stories!

My mom used to have some pretty silver earrings. And a few months before Christmas, when I was around 8 yo, I noticed a matching necklace in one of the jewelry stores in our little downtown! It was $10, a lot of money. So I started saving and right before Christmas, I had the whole amount. Mom was getting new glasses and I asked her if I could go do a little shopping while she waited at the eye doctor and she said yes. It was the first time that I had been out at night (probabably only 5 pm really but dark) shopping by myself. I was so worried that the necklace would be gone. Our town used to be called the "Shoppers Town" and it had some wonderful stores. The main street was all decorated for Christmas, music was playing and snow was softly falling. And I was walking past the stores with $10 in my pocket. Finally I went into the jewelry store and asked about the necklace. It was there! I was so excited when I bought it to give to my mom.

I don't live in that town anymore tho my mom does. I still like to try to shop in the downtown at night for Christmas even tho there's not much there for stores anymore.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 2:24PM
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melvie001(z6 PA)

I love these stories! I guess my favorite memories of Christmas involve eating dinner on Christmas night by candlelight. It was a tradition that my mom started. There were 5 kids in my family and we didn't have a lot of money but my Mom and Dad made it special for us. The candlelight tradition didn't last long, my Dad hated that he couldn't see his food so we turned on the lights after saying grace and then the tradition just sort of faded away after that. Another thing we did when I was a kid, was to take a walk through our town as a family after dark on Christmas Day. We bundled up and walked hand in hand looking at the lights and decorations. I remember feeling so safe and loved, walking beside my tall daddy and much shorter mom. It was a bonus if there was snow on the ground! I remember one year my older brother and I decided we were going to hide behind the couch and spy on Santa when he made his delivery! Ha, ha! My Dad discovered us dead asleep and woke us up to carry us to bed. But I swear, I heard the reindeer prancing on the rooftop that night!! As an young adult, I worked night shift as a critical care nurse and I always volunteered to work Christmas Eve so those with children could stay home with them. Christmas Eve in the hospital may seem sad but it really wasn't. Patients were only there if they were really sick as everyone else was discharged if at all possible. The staff tried to do extra nice things for our patients, decorate a tree, hang all their cards at the end of the bed, give an extra special bedtime massage etc. Patients were so grateful for the extra attention. Going home in the morning, it was fun to look through the lighted windows at the kids opening presents or see a youngster trying out a new bike dressed in PJ's, boots and coat! Of course, my all time favorite memories are of my two daughters and the excitement and light shining out of their eyes on waking Christmas morning to the wonders that Santa left for them. For years I could never get my youngest to sit on Santa's lap for a picture and I always mentioned that I didn't have any pictures of her with Santa. So when the girls were teenagers they went to the Mall on their own and had a picture taken with Santa. Its one of my favorite pictures in the world and hangs on my tree every year.
Great thread, everyone!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 4:46PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I remember my mom as a nurse had to work and get up early. There were 5 of us and one year she put all our gifts in black trash bags .Each kid had a bag and all our gifts were in it. Talk about a depressing tree in the morning with 5 black trash bags beneath it.
My favorite gift was a ladies shaver when I was a teen because my mom wouldnt allow me to shave my legs til I was grown up. It made me realize she finally thought of me as an grown up.My dad hated holidays so memories of him were few.
My Russian grandma celebrated Orthodox Christmas and there was a great feast.
As a parent I relish all my memories with my wonderful children. Reading Christmas stories over and over especially the scratch and sniff books my kids would wear them out. Christmas pageants I often helped produce for church as a pastors wife.
Every Christmas eve my children were too excited to eat so our big dinner was Christmas Day.
So what I did was set a tablecloth in front of the roaring fireplace(lived in PA then) I made peperononi pinwheals, crackers and cheese from Hickory farms ,tiny p-butter and jelly sandwiches,and any other Holiday goodies that were finger food.My son now has everyone over at his house on Christmas eve and he sets up a tablecloth and has pepperoni pinwheel
(Crescents rolls not cut ,thin layer of pizza sauce pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.Cut like rolled cookies and bake on sheet)and other finger foods.
We still have the big meal here.Each year gets more exciting with the births of more grandchildren.The Bible Christmas story is ALWAYS read.
We always get our dogs presents and wrap them in tissue paper.They know which gifts are theirs and open them and everyone cheers as they play with and devour their toys.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 7:50PM
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use2bcapecodr(z5 OH)

You are all wonderful!

Your memories touch my heart!


    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 8:34PM
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I am loving these stories! Really puts me in the Christmas mood.

Concretenprimroses, your story reminds me of the year when I saved my money to buy everyone a gift. When I was 8 years old, I went to our local mall at night on Christmas Eve...this was in 1969. The mall was an outdoor mall. You walked down an open area and every shop had its own display window. Magical...all decked out for Christmas with Christmas displays and lights and music playing. I bought my Dad a socket wrench set. Of course, I hadn't planned for tax and was 50 cents short. The clerk said not to worry about it. I bought my Mom a teacup and saucer... it was $2 which was a lot of money back then to an 8 year old boy! My Mom cried when she opened the gift. She is gone now but every year I place the cup and saucer in my garden as a cup and saucer birdfeeder, and I think of Mom. Dad loved his socket wrench set although he already had 2 and never told me. The mall is gone now, replaced by a Walmart, but that Christmas was a special memory... Merry Christmas! Bear Hugs! Kirk

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 12:11AM
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tennesseetrash(7 east tenn)

Love reading all your stories! Great thread.

My sis & I were 15 months apart and we usually got the same thing every year. One year we "graduated" to 20 inch J.C. Higgins bicycles from Sears cira 1958 or 59. They were identical but we realized after a couple of days that the reason we could tell them apart is because my Dad, excuse me Santa had put the handle bars on Sis's bike upside down lol. Believe it or not, she wouldn't let him change them to the correct position. She liked being backwards LOL.

Mother always put a lot of thought into our stockings, the best fruit and candies. Daddy always read from the same Night Before Christmas book when he tucked us in on Christmas Eve. It had this red velvet stuff on Santa's suit on the cover. My birthday is a week before Christmas and I believe that book had been a birthday gift. When you have a birthday that time of year, you get used to birthday gifts wrapped in Christmas wrap LOL.

We always were involved with the Mary & Joseph manger scenes at the church, and with the Christmas program as my Dad was the church pianist. I was always Mary, apparently because I was chubby lol. My cousins were the other actors in the play each year. Nice to look back on that period, because I don't see any of them very often now. Mostly when a relative dies, or maybe a reunion once a year.

And I remember the year we got Thumbelina dolls (they moved slowly when you cranked them up), my Barbie (it had 3 wigs!), and the year I got a Polaroid Swinger camera and GoGo boots, white of course, LOL. Still have that camera, and it always made terrible pics (black & white only), but my parents went to a lot of trouble to find that one, they were sold out because it was the trend that year.

The way they found my camera was because my Dad worked part time that year at the Camera and Craft store, and he was the photographer for the Santa photos. I remember waiting on him at the mall while he worked. He had a full time job, and used that camera store job to buy equipment for his home darkroom. That was a fun experience too, developing film. Now it's mostly digital, but I enjoyed doing that at home when I was a kid. Ended up in printing profession myself and got more than plenty of darkroom work later in life.

I enjoyed my kids each Christmas, now I'm making new memories with the 2 small grandsons. They're such a joy!

Holidays hugs to you all ~tenderlee

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 9:41AM
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Am enjoying this thread so much! Christmas memories...great to share! Ahh, we were fortunate to have many, many good Christmas' in our family. We spent Christmas Eve at my Grandma's house (who made it the best Christmas' ever!). Santa would visit and you can see that I am a bit scared of him...in 1948...here I am with my Mom (holding my hand) & Dad, my Grandma, my two cousins & Santa's face just coming in from the porch.

We always had so much fun celebrating Christmas at my Grandma "Obbie's" home. All my Mom's sisters and their DH's and my cousins...we ate and ate...and got a great present from my grandparents (presents that none of our parents could afford)! As us grandkids got older, we would also go Christmas caroling around Obbie's neighborhood! And my older cousin would put together a Christmas program that we all participated in...she was just a few yrs. older than I...one yr. we did "Frankie & Johnny"...I'll try to scan that pic later!

Great memories! And while we were at Grandma "Obbie's," Santa would come to my house (a few blocks away)...I know it was Santa...because my Mom & Dad were with me at Grandma's. My Mom saved money in white envelopes to pay bills and for a special b'day dinners for each of us & to make Christmas special...Mom & Dad both worked hard & gave us what was most important, love & memories!

Also I know it was SANTA at Grandma's house...because we would go outside and see the reindeer tracks in the backyard! Thanks for sharing & letting me share the memories! Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 9:06PM
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Whoops! Forgot this pics...my cousins & I with our gifts from Grandma "Obbie's" (& from grandpa, too!)well, Santa brought them from the porch! ...I'm on the right standing behind my little sis. Happy Memories! Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 9:11PM
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I don't have many good Christmas memories. My dad was an alcoholic and most of the folks who came to our house on Christmas Eve were drunk too. On Christmas Day (we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve for some reason), everyone had a hangover so we had to be very quiet.

I do remember baking all kinds of Christmas cookies with my grandma, mom and sister. I think I sampled the batter and final baked cookies more than anything. he-he

My mother is the best cook I know and meals at our house, Christmas or otherwise, were always outstanding. We always felt grown up helping her do the cooking.

One of my favorite things as a kid and then as an adult was decorating for Christmas. Unfortunately with my fibromyalgia, I can't do that any more.

But something I still do to this day is ride around the city to look at the Christmas lights. It is my favorite Christmas tradition! It makes it all so magical.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 11:53PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

luna, my dad also. And then one day he just left.We found him tho after nearly 30 years of not knowing if he was dead or alive,It has taken almost 3 years to get him off booze(took about 10 years off my life)
I am caring for him and he is a WONDERFUL man minus the beer!
We are making up for lost time now.Here he is holding his newest great grandchild Samantha.These Christmases like it or not he is surrounded by family.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 2:30PM
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Wow, these are all wonderful, wonderful stories. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I remember we had one of those silver tinsel trees and the color wheel. It was so magical back then. I remember my mom, ( she could NEVER keep a secret!) would always let me peek at 1 present while my dad was at work. I thought it was for me, but when I got older I realized she just couldn't stand the suspense! LOL!! I really like the tradition that we have of going to Muskogeee, OK to Honor Heights Park. The drive starts off at the top of the hill and winds down into the park with all kinds of lights and animated scenes. Then we always go to Braums and get ice cream and then head to Broken Arrow, OK and go to Rema Bible College. You can actually get out and walk around and see the lights and hear the live carolers and get hot cocoa. I love to pile the boys in the truck and just go around town and look at lights too. I guess a great tradition we have is always putting up the lights and tree together. We have Christmas music on and always laugh alot.
When I was younger we always had Christmas dinner at my granny and papas house after everyone had opened their gifts at home. It was always special to have all of the aunts and uncles and cousins there. We always played basketball even in the cold!!
Now, I hope We are making great Christmas memories for our grandbabies to remember when they get older!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 10:07PM
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I memorize the year I woke up and Santa Claus had brought me my first bicycle. I was probably seven years old. It was beautiful moment for me.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 12:49AM
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