Christmas Gifts for Jack
From People Around the World

Jack and I have an important tradition on his birthday and on Christmas. He receives gifts from around the world. Along with these treasures, he gets a letter from each of the gift givers explaining their gifts. Jack reads the letter first and then opens his gift.

Jack has received so many Christmas ornaments from China that he read greeting in Mandarin fluently.

Christmas 2018

Dear Jack,

In China, we say, “Nǐ hǎo ma.” That means how are you? Many of my friends are artists like I am. I thought that you would enjoy an ornament of a running reindeer. Maybe next year, I can paint a picture of your papa’s Ginger running in the snow around the lake.

However, in the meantime, take care, study, and enjoy your life in the New Year.

Take care,


Santa’s Elf

Jack has read his letter from Sandy about the Himalayan Salt Lamp. Owen had already opened his, which is already plugin and is producing negative ions while destroying positive ions. Himalayan Salt Lamps are supposedly good for one’s health.

Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas Jack,

When I was your age, I lived in Pakistan, which is on the other side of India from Myanmar where your papa has a part of his family. My parents still live in Pakistan, but I live in Stockholm, Sweden. I help your papa do his webpage.

In a recent essay, he mentioned getting a Himalayan salt lamp. Well, I emailed him that when I lived in Pakistan, my father took me to the Khewra Salt Mine. That is where his lamp came from. He also told me that he was giving you and Owen a Himalayan salt lamp like he has.

Your papa is funny. He has two lamps in his home and has given some of his friends and family lamps like what you got. During his next winter break, he will go back to visit Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty. I’ll be going back with him to work on his webpage. Then we will go to visit my parents and see the salt mine. Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

Merry Christmas,

Sundas Jabeen (Sandy)

Plato’s gift to Jack is an evil eye, which protects the owner from problems in life. Along with Plato’s gift, he gave one of his famous quotes that he wants Jack to remember. Plato wrote, “Courage is knowing what to fear.”

Christmas 2018


My name is Plato, but, in Greece where I live, my name looks like this—Πλάτων. Your papa took Greek in college and graduate school. He’ll explain the Greek alphabet to you. See if he remembers.

As a Christmas gift, I would give you an evil eye. Your papa has hundreds of them all over his home. He lives on a lake in America, but, if he lived in Greece, all the fisherman that fish is the Aegean Sea have evil eyes painted on their boats. Evil eyes protect them from problems and bad things happening to them. Put the evil eye in your bedroom.

Whenever you see your evil eye remember this quote of mine, “Courage is knowing what to fear.”


Ti Ti, one of my grandchildren in Myanmar, wrote to Jack about a picture that I took at Inle Lake. Jack was fascinated about the way they fish on the lake, but he could hardly believe that they grow tomatoes in the lake. These gifts are great but so also are the teaching moments.

Christmas 2018

Dear Jack,

Your papa talks about you all the time when he visits my family. My sister, Snow, and I call your papa, PaPa Al. My youngest sister, Fatty, calls him Bo Bo Gyi. I hope that you can visit us sometime. We live in Taunggyi, which is about ten miles from Inle Lake. Your papa really likes the lake. In fact, I did a video for his webpage about the lake. It isn’t a deep lake. It ranges from 5 to 12 feet deep.

Your papa took this picture of a fisherman with his net. However, they grow tomatoes in the lake. Really. Also, there are a lot of homes that are built on stilts. You would need a boat to go to school or to another part of the lake.

Well, Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.

Take care,

Ti Ti