Christmas Gifts for Owen
From People Around the World

Owen shares the tradition that Jack and I have with getting gifts on his birthday and on Christmas. Their gifts are accompanied with a letter from the person giving the gift. The letter explains the gift and why it was chosen by the giver. The tradition is to read the letter first and then to open the gift.

This is Owen reading the letter from one of Santa’s elves who lives in China.

Christmas 2018

Hi Owen,

Merry Christmas from China. If you and your brother dug a real deep hole in your backyard, you would wind up on the other side of the world in China. Well, it would be faster to just take a plane to China, and you wouldn’t make a mess of your yard.

This is a painting that I did. I call it, A Gift from Christmas Church Mouse. This ornament is my gift to you. I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’m thinking about what to paint for you next Christmas. Hmmm?

Take care,


Santa’s Elf

This gift was to Owen is from Sandy. It is a Himalayan Salt Lamp. It is said that it can purify the are and help heal all sorts of medical issues.

Christmas 2018


My name is Sandy. When I was your age, I lived in Pakistan. That is a country that will take you an entire day to get there by plane. It is on the other side of India from Myanmar where your papa’s three grandchildren live. It is a faraway place. My parents still live in Pakistan, but I live in Stockholm, Sweden. I am your papa’s web administrator.

In a recent essay, your papa mentioned getting a Himalayan salt lamp. He was all excited. I told him that when I lived in Pakistan, my father took me to the Khewra Salt Mine. Your lamp came from that mine. I got one for Jack also.

Sometimes your papa is funny about things. He has two lamps in his home, but he thinks he needs another one. However, your papa has given some of his friends and family lamps like what you got. He has ordered over ten lamps already.

During his next winter break, he will go back to visit Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty. Guess what? I’ll be going back with him. Then, we will go to visit my parents and see the salt mine. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? I’ll try to keep him from buying any more Himalayan salt lamps while at the mine. Each of them weighs about 25-30 pounds.

Merry Christmas,

Sandy Jabeen

Owen got a gift of an evil eye from Plato. He read Plato’s letter. He also gave Owen one of his famous sayings, “If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.”

Christmas 2018


My name is Plato. Have you ever heard of me? Your papa tells me all about you and your brother. I live in Greece, and my name looks like this in my language…Πλάτων. Your papa took Greek in college and graduate school. He’ll explain the Greek alphabet to you. Well, that was a long time ago. He might have forgotten.

I am giving you an evil eye as your Christmas gift from Greece. Your papa has hundreds of them all over his home. In Greece, all the fisherman that fish is the Aegean Sea have evil eyes painted on their boats. Evil eyes protect people from problems and bad things happening to them. All that you have to do is to put the evil eye in your bedroom.

Whenever you see your evil eye remember this quote of mine, “If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.”


Owen read a letter from Moh Moh and Ko Ko of Mt. Popa and is interested in Myanmar. He knows about my family in Taunggyi. Moh Moh and Ko Ko are the parents of Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty.

Christmas 2018


This is a picture that your papa took at Mt. Popa, which is near Mandalay. It is really quite high. Actually, it is a volcano that erupted about 2500 years ago. At the top of this extinct volcano, there is a Buddhist monastery. It takes 777 steps to reach the top, which is over a half mile high.

Our family are Buddhists, and this is a very holy shrine. We believe that many of the important nats live in the monastery. Many Buddhists go on pilgrimages each year to this shrine. If you and your brother visit us, we will take you to Mt. Popa. We hope you enjoy the photo.

Merry Christmas,

Moh Moh and Ko Ko