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Christmas confessions

By Jennifer M. Latzke

Confession is good for the soul, or so they tell me.

This Christmas I'd like to get a few things off of my soul before the 25th rolls around. It's about time I've opened up about these personality quirks and tics.

First, I haven't mailed out Christmas cards since around 2003.

Look, I love getting cards in the mail. I like seeing pictures of growing kids, old friends, family members and the like. I like hearing about special vacations, new jobs, new homes and all the other newsy tidbits that friends and relatives share in their annual newsletters.

But I just can't get excited about all that myself. After all, I'm on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Instagram and all the other social media sites on a daily--if not hourly--basis. If you want to know what's going on in my world, you can follow along there, or you can read this column. Take your pick.

I suppose it would be different if I were married and had kids, but I'm not and I don't. It's tough to get excited about writing what is essentially a news story about my year in review when I do so each week for my career.

So, forgive me friends, but if you want Christmas greetings, check my Facebook wall.

The next thing I should get off of my chest is that I'm a package shaker. Have been since I could first understand that the letters J-E-N-N-I spelled my name on the tags on the boxes under our family tree. I'm also a package snooper. I'm the family member who kills surprises because I like to know what I'm getting. Those little stickers that read, "Do not open until Christmas" were made for me.

Oh, my mother tried to break me of this habit, but it's still a part of my DNA. It's a shame to waste the talent, really. With one shake I can tell you what gift is in the box and/or the size and specific article of clothing wrapped in it. My sister calls me the package savant.

That said, I make up for it by being an excellent secret-keeper, and my surprise present wrapping skills are legendary.

There's more, though. I'm a pet owner who likes to put fake reindeer antlers on her dog purely for photographic entertainment. I once chastised a mall Santa for smoking in costume on his way out to his car after his shift in front of a group of children. I know all the words to multiple holiday cartoons. I loathe fruitcake but I pretend I don't so that I don't hurt friends' feelings.

A part of me still wonders if the legend is true that farm animals can talk at midnight on Christmas Eve. And, once, when I was about 11, I snuck out to the barn to see if it was real.

Sure, there's a lot about the holiday season that drives me to confession, but waking up on Christmas morning with a renewed hope for the world is worth all of the hassles.

Because, all the tinsel and holiday greetings, all the mall Santas and fruitcake, all of the trappings of the holiday can't hold a candle to the light that came into the world so humbly 2,000 years ago and still shines brightly today.

May we all remember that this season, and Merry Christmas everyone.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or

Date: 12/17/2012


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