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Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.—John Muir

Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Aunt Rose

Christmas Past Photo: Rose De Dan©2009

Christmas Past
Photo: Rose De Dan©2009

It all started with my desire to give a special Christmas gift to my niece and nephew, who are two and four respectively. I saw the ad for the Hallmark recording storybook “The Night Before Christmas” and instantly knew this was a great idea. Due to circumstances I had been unable to travel to visit them in person. Aunt Rose was simply a voice on the phone or perhaps a photograph. But with the storybook their Aunt Rose could read them her much loved Christmas classic from 1823 at bedtime, and perhaps they could have wonderful dreams filled with promises of Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve.

I ordered a copy, and a week after it arrived I began recording. Several hours later, extremely sad and frustrated, I concluded that my copy was defective. I cannot tell you how wretched I felt—Christmas was ruined. It was late in the month, and internet research showed that the storybook was sold out of stores across the U.S. Apparently I had stumbled across this year’s hottest item.

I did find a few copies being auctioned on the net at almost triple retail price, and seriously considered it as an option for a few moments. I had complex feelings of being a bad aunt for not being able to get a copy, and at the same time questioned whether I was becoming too materialistic. I finally concluded that it simply boiled down to seriously wanting to be some part of my niece and nephew’s life. If I could not do it traditionally by being there in person on Christmas Eve, then I was willing to do the next best thing.

Next morning I had another crack at recording, and lo and behold, it worked! Christmas was saved! By this time the store had returned my call and explained why. Apparently the sensor was light sensitive. I had been trying to record by firelight to add the ambiance of the crackle of the flames. Breathing a sigh of relief, I wrapped the storybook up and shipped it off via U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail. Since it was December 14th I had plenty of time for it to get there.

December 22 rolled around and tracking revealed that the package appeared nowhere after Seattle. More angst. Took me 45 minutes to finally figure out how to contact the right department at the post office to initiate a claim. Once again, Christmas was ruined and I felt like a bad aunt. Maybe I should have spent the additional money and sent it Express Mail?

At this point I decided that the best thing to do was to send Reiki to the situation, which I did. Half and hour later I received a notice from the P.O. that the package was in New Jersey. Christmas was saved! I figured that it would be delivered that afternoon. It was not.

Drastic action needed to be taken, and so bravely Aunt Rose took out her new Flip camcorder which she had little experience with, and decided that she was going to make a movie, something she had never done. Feeling somewhat Grinch-like toward the Post Office (after all every other package either she or someone else had sent before or after this one had long ago arrived at their destinations), Aunt Rose drafted her trusty dog Puma, and faithful cat Saqqara into the effort.

After much maneuvering of the camera on its very cute, but tiny, tripod, Aunt Rose finally arrived at a balance where you could see part of her face and all of Puma. Apparently the small frame of the camcorder limited the amount of scenery you could include, and moving it back made sound quality difficult. So many decisions!

Thankfully the shoot went off without a hitch in one take. Puma was a pro, albeit a somewhat nervous one, being a bit camera shy. He even made an effort at acting, at the point in the poem where Saint Nicholas comes down the chimney with a bound, Puma shot up from his resting position looking startled. And Saqqara played the part of the cat settling down for a long winter’s nap well, giving a convincing yawn before exiting.

Figuring out how to edit the portions and put them together took longer, but finally it was done and uploaded. Christmas was saved once again. Clement C. Moore’s timeless classic from Christmas Past now lives again on YouTube as The Night Before Christmas read to Dog and Cat. All made possible by the technology of Christmas Present and one determined aunt!

From all of us at Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing,
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a blessed and Happy New Year!

Rose De Dan, Saqqara, Kiya, Cougar, Sand and Puma

Postscript: Today is the 24th of December, and the package has moved closer to North Jersey but is not there yet. Package might arrive on Christmas Eve along with Santa. Or maybe not.

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Think Outside the Cage
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Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is a mesa carrier in the Peruvian Q’ero tradition. In addition she is also a Reiki Master Teacher, animal communicator, author of the acclaimed book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, and creator of Animal and Reiki Art. As an animal shaman, she views her role as a healer as one of building bridges between people and animals, and of empowering them to reconnect with Pachamama, Mother Earth.

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2 comments to Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Aunt Rose

  • Really giggled over your story of all that went into trying to make Christmas special for your niece and nephew. Did the original package ever arrive? Sounds to me like they have a pretty special aunt Rose!

    • Hi Maureen, I finally have a conclusion to the story. After several calls to the local post office, where the supervisor was quite friendly and helpful, and I learned a lot about how mail is delivered in a rural setting, the missing package was finally discovered by my sister on Dec. 28 IN THEIR MAILBOX. It had indeed been delivered on Dec. 24th. Apparently her husband had thought it was a UPS package they were looking for and did not check the most likely place. I guess that illustrates the craziness that can be the holidays!

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