Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 11: Jolly Old Mrs. Claus (Ana’s Spoons)

red advent

Welcome and thank you for joining Ana’s Spoons, a feature co-hosted with Queer Sci Fi on the second Wednesday of the month. Today’s topic, as part of the holiday fun, focuses on our favorite holiday figure.

Wait.

Mrs. Claus who?

Our Christmas lore is filled with references to her husband.

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

The examples are endless. In the season of Christmas, Santa Claus rules. In some cultures, it might be Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or St. Nicholas.

But what of the women? Or little girls, for that matter? A friend recently told me that Santa Clauses where she lived were not allowed to hold children in their laps. Kids can stand next to Santa, but no lap-sitting was allowed. Presumably, this was to reduce the chance of inappropriate touching. Perhaps a little girl might not feel as comfortable with a male figure, too, but that could be parental choice rather than a mandate.

Parents in recent years have debated whether Santa lore amounts to lying to children, and some say the trauma of finding out Santa isn’t real outweighs the positives. Others say the magic of Christmas includes believing in Santa as a child, and we shouldn’t take that magic away.

Either way, we focus on a man.

A few years ago, I went to a Christmas event with a friend. People waited to “visit Santa,” and the line went through the upstairs and downstairs of a cozy, well-decorated house. In the kitchen, Mrs. Claus wore her trademark apron, offered cookies, and got out of the way when I held up my camera.

“Oh, actually…can I take a picture of you?” I asked.

“Me?” Mrs. Claus paused in handing out cookies and gave a slow, startled smile. “You want a picture of me?” Apparently, no one had asked her before.

I took several photos and thanked her. “We all know who does the real work around here,” I said, and she grinned. Of course, she was holding a wooden spoon.

Advent 2013

Not quite like the Mrs. Claus drawn by the incredibly talented Minelle for Ana’s Advent Calendar 2013, but a good, sturdy spoon nevertheless.

Incidentally, my very first publication was a short book called The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus. It’s been three whole years since I became an official professional author. πŸ˜€ Happy author-versary to me! In essence, Mrs. Claus spanks girls and boys to take them off the “naughty” list so they can enjoy Christmas.

In celebration, let’s discuss a few questions today.

  1. What female figures are celebrated in your December holiday traditions?
  2. If you celebrate Christmas, what (if any) have you heard about Mrs. Claus (Mother Christmas, etc.) in childhood and/or in teaching your own children?
  3. Some people have proposed that Santa is really a woman. What do you think about that?
  4. Here at Governing Ana, Mrs. Claus’ first name is Kristine (don’t try calling her that, though!)

IfΒ  you are reading this on QSF, please join the discussion at governingana.wordpress.com, today and every day until December 25th! Participation will earn you prizes. πŸ˜€

vitskymrsclaus

In some countries, turning 21 means gaining the right to vote and drink alcoholic beverages. For Claire Labraun, the Christmas after her 21st birthday would be beyond her wildest imagination.

Minelle and Matthew Labraun believed in a traditional marriage. Matthew was head of their household, and Minelle was his helpmeet.

When it came to raising their headstrong 21-year-old daughter, however, they found themselves at a loss.

Minelle had always taught Claire to do the right thing for right’s sake. Claire, however, had different ideas.

She rebelled against their rules, flaunted authority, and connived to get things she wanted.

She had never been spanked in her life; Matthew and Minelle kept that adult privilege strictly between themselves. But this year, a visit from Santa plus Claire’s newly adult status would change her idea of Christmas forever.

Ana’s Spoons for QSF

 

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34 thoughts on “Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 11: Jolly Old Mrs. Claus (Ana’s Spoons)

  1. Joelle Casteel says:

    1. As a Unitarian Universalist, I primarily mark Chalica. It’s a newer and created holiday focusing on our Principles. There is no female figure at the center as UU endeavors to be an egalitarian belief. That seriousness said, it’s entirely possible for a woman to be important. This year my focus happens to be on my daughter and my character Lady Audrey, both transgender women.

    2. I had sadly never heard about Mrs. Klaus that I can remember before I heard about her from you, Ana. I also don’t remember seeing Mrs. Klaus as you saw her because I was always too busy protecting my daughter from my parents’ harsh judgments.

    3. That is intriguing, the notion that Santa is really a woman. Given my complex thoughts on gender, I’m really not sure that Santa isn’t a woman; after all, has anyone ever asked Santa what their gender identity is or have we merely progressed from a cis-sexist idea that “Mr. Claus” is man?

    4. Hehe, I love the name- it’s rather close to my middle name.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SH says:

    Let me start by saying, Happy author-versary!! Congratulations! Has it really been three years already? Time has flown by and you have written so many wonderful books that I just love!

    Mrs. Claus has always been given a nod in our family tradition. My children left cookies for Santa with a couple included for her. I really don’t know too much about her although I hear she wields a wicked spoon πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. awesomesub says:

    Hi Ana, happy anniversary! Congratulations! Woohoo! I think it is wonderful that you have been writing your awesome books. I hope that there will be many more anniversaries with maaaaaany more exciting books. πŸ™‚

    1. We celebrate St. Lucy / Santa Lucia on 13th December (a little). It is a festival of light, and for us the latest signal that Christmas is close. Lucia is meant to overcome the darkness, and it is a wonderful event to come together to sing songs … and eat cookies afterwards. Adults might have glogg.

    2. I have learned about Mrs Claus from my nieces, because they have a few children’s books where Mrs Claus is present, working and helping to get everything done for Christmas. I think in one book Mr and Mrs Claus go on holiday. I don’t remember the details, but in another book the Christmas elves looked like lots of little Santas and Mrs Claus was responsible for their lunch and caring for all of them.

    In past Christmases my nieces were slightly worried that Santa might actually eat all the cookies and Mrs Claus wouldn’t get any. It was a serious point of discussion among them, and in one discussion they decided Christmas elves and Mrs Claus make the best cookies for their own special Christmas party. πŸ™‚

    3. I like that Santa is a woman. She is just too humble to win all the praise, that’s why she hides behind a white beard. It also explains why Santa is only seen once a year. Mrs Claus can do whatever she wants to after Christmas, because nobody knows that it is her who does the Santa job. Maybe comparable to some sort of Batman and Batgirl? they can take their suits off and live another life too, can’t they?

    4. Kristine is a very nice name. Wow, I have friends who have this name and some which are only slightly different, like Kristin and Kristina. I think it is funny because when I’ll see them next, they’ll remind me of Mrs Claus. πŸ™‚

    hugs

    Nina

    Liked by 2 people

      • awesomesub says:

        This is a non-alcoholic recipe. The ones with alcohol contain either vodka, rum, or red wine instead of the juice.

        Glogg
        for 2-3 people

        500 millilitres (17 fluid oz) cranberry juice
        500 millilitres (17 fluid oz) apple juice
        4 cloves
        2 cinnamon sticks
        4 tablespoons lemon juice
        1 tablespoon agave nectar
        A handful whole almonds
        A handful raisins

        Invite more than two others for such an event, and adjust the ingredients accordingly.
        Then use the largest cooking pot you can find and put the cranberry juice, apple juice, cloves, cinnamon sticks and agave nectar in.

        Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.

        Remove the cloves and cinnamon sticks and discard.

        Add the tablespoons lemon juice and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.

        Just 5 minutes before serving, add the handful whole almonds and the handful raisins.

        You can leave the cinnamon sticks in for much longer, it will be spicier then, if want that.
        Careful with the raisins, I think not everybody likes them, so you might leave them out. the almonds are optional too.
        Another non-alcoholic glogg recipe I have tried once was pretty orange-y … πŸ™‚ with orange tea, some fruit juice and a little orange zest.

        … Mrs Kristine Claus … uh oh, there is this one friend. She is so close to Mrs Claus’ attitude I think, very resolute, quick in solving troubles in her way, strong willed and self-assertive (i.e. she gets things done). Her hair colour is the opposite of Mrs Claus’ though; it is brown-black. πŸ™‚

        Like

  4. Laura says:

    🎢Happy Anniversary to you, Happy Anniversary to you, Happy Anniversary dearest Ana, Happy Anniversary to you.🎢

    1. My Dad used to have us all stand and raise our glasses of milk to my Mom and have us toast her. We stood there and we sang this little ditty that my brother made up – we love you Muzzy, oh yes we do, we don’t love anyone as much as you, thank you so much for all you do, oh Muzzy we love you. We didn’t only do this at Christmas my Dad taught us that my Mom was the most important person in the house. She deserved our love, honor, but most importantly our respect. My house definitely wasn’t a Brady house, however, even with all the bad things that occurred and there were plenty we were lucky.
    2. I only knew that Mrs. Claus was married to Santa and she took care of Santa and the elves.
    3. I don’t see why Santa couldn’t be a woman. In fact, I’m absolutely, positively sure Santa is a She. After all who else but a woman could make all the things that happen at Christmas occur?
    4. Kristine is a great name. I would never presume to call Mrs. Claus anything but Mrs. Claus and I don’t think anyone else here would either. I know red is one of the colors of the season however, I’d rather see hues of red in the fireplace and not feel a fire in my butt.

    Liked by 2 people

    • JoanneBest says:

      Laura, as I was reading your words to the song you sing to your Mom, I heard the melody in my head and sang along πŸ˜€
      What a wonderful idea! Mom IS (almost) always the most important member of the house (I understand we all have different experiences with our Parents, I am speaking generally) and regardless of outside appearances, I don’t think *any* family is a Brady Bunch house… although I totally relate to Jan’s middle child syndrome πŸ˜€
      And besides, if we break through the fourth wall of that show and look at the people portraying the characters, they weren’t exactly living a Brady Bunch life either πŸ˜€ Allegedly. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laura says:

        Joanne you’re right that we all have different experiences with our parents and that no house is a ‘Brady’ house. After reading your comment I thought about one of my friends who grew up in home where appearance was everything and where ‘happiness, light, and love’ allegedly abounded. One of them once told me it was exhausting to always pretend that they lived like that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • JoanneBest says:

          Laura, talk about synchronicity! Last night I got involved in a conversation (what else do you call it when you talk back and forth even though it’s on a screen? πŸ™‚ ) about appearances and how we/me/she/other people/whoever sometimes spend so much energy putting on fronts in certain situations.
          And then reading your reply just now brought to mind a relative who had the perfect everything, from extravagant vacations around the world to extravagant dinner parties, down to the custom-made name-thingies placed in front of everyone’s seat (including so much cutlery and glassware you (meaning I πŸ˜› ) needed an instruction guide to use the “correct” items ). They have 3 boys and until they came of age, they always had to dress exactly the same everywhere they went, the Mom said it was in case they got separated she’d be able to show the police exactly what they were wearing which makes sense when you’re a kid but when you’re a teenager, not so much… anyway, once the boys went to college each one of them picked a college in a different state and slowly the veil lifted and reality came crashing down leaving the parents desperately trying to hide behind their dwindling wealth until they found themselves moving from a mansion to a rented apartment (which is a big no-no in their circles) and are now waiting for the last child to finish college, and then they are getting divorced. They worked so hard on outer appearances they rotted from the inside out, the Mom’s hair is now pure white, nothing wrong with that, my point being that she aged herself long before her time stressing out about what other people thought. And of course all 3 boys still live in different states.
          I find it so sad and much prefer having to vacuum up the dog and cat hair rather then deny my (imaginary) children a dog, which their boys wanted desperately but it was forbidden. Probably for the best because knowing them, an animal would not be welcome in the house because they might mess up the furniture and they’d probably make a dog stay outside in a doghouse 😦
          Umm, sorry , I do ramble on sometimes πŸ˜›
          ❀

          Like

      • Laura says:

        You’re welcome Ana. It was our lucky day when you decided to follow your heart. The same brother who did the song came home after having a few (I think he was 18 at the time) and called my parents Muzzy and Fazzy. We laughed at his mistake but the names stuck and from that day forward that’s what they were called. I would indeed rather a reddened bum than to be on the naughty list. πŸ‘Ό

        Like

  5. Sassytwatter says:

    I still remember the first sorry loved that one and the art for it.

    Never heard of Santa being a women kinda funny I think I prefer him as a round jolly old man.

    But most important women figure and the official start that Christmas is really coming is St Lucia Sec. 13 she is the queen of Christmas!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. JoanneBest says:

    Please allow me to offer my own Happy Author-versary !!! Three years??? ❀ ❀ ❀ One heart for each year although you deserve all the hearts πŸ™‚
    The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus is one of my most favorite books ever and I really really wish there were more adventures of Mrs. Clause πŸ˜‰ You know, because you have so much time πŸ˜€

    1.Hmmm, lets see, we celebrate Mary of course with our manger scene, I've inherited my Mom's Nativity set so it's well over 60 years old and still holding strong but for some reason, the figurines that have held up the best are Mary and the Baby Jesus.
    I myself celebrate Jeanette Isabella, from the song "Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella" (which I meant to include yesterday and will add it to yesterday's post, I don't want to take up half the page again πŸ™‚ ) Although she is only a name in a song (as far as I know, in my head she was a real person)
    Of course Mrs. Clause is never forgotten, although I'm ashamed to say we never did anything special for her, but we believed that Santa couldn't do his job without her and now that I've read The Vengeance Of Mrs. Claus I have a brand new respect for her and an even greater respect for wooden spoons than I've ever had in my life πŸ˜€

    2. I wish I had children so I could teach them about Mrs. Claus and the important role she plays in Christmas. When I was a child I remember watching a lot of Christmas specials where Mrs. Claus was included, a few where the story was told of how Kris Kringle met Kristi- I mean the future Mrs. Claus πŸ˜€

    3. Although I've never heard the idea that Santa is really a woman, I would not be surprised, in a way, she IS Santa, whether or not she has the official title, for Santa wouldn't be able to get everything done without her. That old saying, "behind every great man is a great woman" to me means that the woman is the greater one, she is able to carry herself AND the man to greatness, therefore, she is twice as great as the man, but we already knew that πŸ˜‰
    I love the idea of Santa being a woman, such a beautiful mixture of strength and softness ❀

    4, I love Mrs. Claus's first name which I will not say out loud unless given permission πŸ˜€

    Wow, three years!!! So many conratulations, and huge amount of years to come ❀
    Oh, and the fact that you took a picture of Mrs. Claus, and her reaction to it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I’ve never really known about Jeannette and Isabella. What a great idea to have a story about her. πŸ˜€

      And thank you for the sweet hearts. ❀ I would love more adventures of Mrs. Claus, but unfortunately there are so many other projects that have to come first.

      Like

  7. Irishey says:

    Hugs, Ana. 😘

    I love Mrs. Claus! I got to spend quite a good amount of time in her company during the infamous 2013 Ana’s Advent Calendar event. She helped take my mind off what was (mostly) otherwise really…crappy.

    Personal issues and illness were knocking me for a loop. I even had to go outside some days, in bitter cold, simply to get a faint signal to read posts and comments, then go back out again to send my own comments. I was desperate and determined to find something to drag me through those weeks.

    Humor, silliness, caring and the warm community at Ana’s were just what the doctors would have ordered to soothe my soul, heart, mind, cough, sore throat, aches, pains, fever and angst. Mrs. Claus figures largely in most of my good memories of that particular Christmas Season…as do my other wonderful friends from that Advent.

    Homework: **

    ** What female figures are celebrated in your December holiday traditions?

    Mary, mother of Jesus, is the only female I can think of that we actually celebrate, or recognize, for her contribution to the reason for the season. Other females that figure into our idea of all the various ways we enjoy the fun of the Christmas season include:

    Mrs. Claus, of course. It is amazing how many different names she has, thanks to various authors and screenwriters. Lol! I love all her characters and names. I am partial to the Kristine Claus who lives in Ana Land. πŸ™‚

    Mrs. Frosty, Crystal. So awesome.

    The Ice Queen, Snow Queen and Ice Princess usually are seen sometime during the holidays, as are the Claus’s and Kringle’s assortment of daughters, plus all the many females in various holiday movies and television programs. I miss the plethora of variety shows and Christmas specials featuring iconic singers – far too many to list.

    Cindy Lou from Whoville

    Lucy and the other Peanuts girls

    The Little Match Girl (traditional read for me since I was young)

    And, of course, my mother, grandmothers, and the other women in my family who passed on Christmas traditions. In many ways, they embody the everyday essence of how to celebrate Christmas in spirit and acts.

    ** If you celebrate Christmas, what (if any) have you heard about Mrs. Claus (Mother Christmas, etc.) in childhood and/or in teaching your own children?

    Mrs. Claus bakes cookies, makes candy canes and hot cocoa, supervises the making of toys, keeps and trains the reindeer, grows mistletoe and holly in her hothouse along with fir and pine trees and poinsettias, decorates Santa’s Village at the North Pole, and treats the elves as her very own beloved children. She ensures all these things are infused with love and joy. She does this with her own magic, and sprinkles it around like glitter or snowflakes. She is warm, gentle, kind, patient and jolly, and she loves Santa very much.

    ** Some people have proposed that Santa is really a woman. What do you think about that?

    Santa is genderful.

    ** Here at Governing Ana, Mrs. Claus’ first name is Kristine (don’t try calling her that, though!)

    We only use our first names after the elves are put to bed and Santa is snoring in his easy chair. Then, we remove quietly to the kitchen where we have some mulled cider or hot cocoa (or, if the elves have been particularly feisty, we indulge in Irish coffees or white Russians), watch the snow fall, listen to Christmas music, and take off our “Mrs. Claus” and “Ms. O’….” name tags. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    • JoanneBest says:

      Oh Irishey! It’s so crazy when I read your comments, so much of what you say seems like it came from my own life, my own brain. Pretty much everything you’ve said, from the angst and illness to all the Christmas specials you’ve watched, from Mother Mary to watching the snow fall while listening to Christmas music, so much a part of my own life…and the magical healing powers of Ana’s Advent Calendar! Just ❀

      I adore little Cindy Lou from Whoville so much, we are a family full of nicknames and once given one, it sticks, although there's always more than one per person, anyway one of my sis-in-laws is named Pat which somehow morphed into Penny then quickly became Penny Lou Who from Whoville πŸ˜€ I adore the cartoon version of the Grinch the most but the little girl who plays Cindy Lou in the movie version is so adorable, whenever she sings that song "Where Are You Christmas" my heart cries, I love that song and can't believe I forgot about it yesterday, but I'm listening to it now ❀

      And The Little Match Girl!!! ❀
      I actually wrote a super short story, maybe 300 words at the most that included her, I'd copy and paste it but I think I did enough potential rule-breaking yesterday when a picture of my big old self appeared with my band's cover song πŸ˜‰ I really will need to stock up on pillows soon if I don't watch it πŸ˜›

      Oh! And I love that Santa is "genderful" ❀ πŸ˜‰

      Like

      • Irishey says:

        Our ISP has been doing maintenance and upgrades all this week. As a result, many customers in our area code have had problems with their connections the past several days. I would be one of those. Dagnabbit.

        Yes, so many things are very similar, and probably just as many different! I love hearing about both.

        I promise I haven’t been mucking about in your head, stealing memories from your treasure trove. πŸ˜‰ I would like to read your story about The Little Match Girl. I don’t know if Mrs. Claus or Ana have a rule for that or not. You could ask. πŸ™‚

        Gotta get over to the new post before my connection goes away again. Hugs!

        Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      LOL Irishey! So much to reply to, and I’m rushing on a quick 10-minute break before a return to one of the most hectic days I’ve had in a while. At least it’s good hectic.

      Your comments about first names, etc. are awesome. πŸ˜€

      Love your idea of Cindy Lou. Had not thought of her!

      More later.

      Like

      • Irishey says:

        Good hectic! Yea!

        Did I really share that about the names? That must’ve been the diuble-spiked eggnog talking. πŸ˜‰

        Cindy Lou rocks.

        Hugs!

        Like

  8. AM says:

    Sadly, I have never considered women at the center of our non-religious traditions. Of course, there’s lots about Mary this time of year. We also celebrate Hanukkah, but there really aren’t women at the center of that story either. I think we’ll have to re-examine some of our traditions and see what we can come up with. I really like the idea of having some fun with Mrs. Claus!

    Like

    • Irishey says:

      The hand that rocks the cradle is central to every holiday, every celebration, every event – unless it is one of those “men only” Waterbuffalo Lodge-type meetings. Otherwise, most things would never get celebrated – because who would prepare the feast and make the special clothing?They wouldn’t become traditions – who would decorate, arrange seating, invite guests, make up needs for overnighter, and remember it all to repeat the next year? Who would clean and store it all, and tell the stories before the next occasions so it gets passed on to and learned by future generations?

      If women did not work behind the scenes, if they were not helpful or supportive, much of what we have learned to do and be and celebrate would be very different. If women had not then asserted themselves, who knows what might not exist today?

      Just because the stories were written by men, who were the only ones allowed to get an education or to be published or both, or to have official meetings to pass on histories, and those oral or written stories largely excluded any documented female contribution, it does not mean the women were not very much involved on many levels in a variety of central roles.

      Soapboxing a little on behalf of all the Mrs. Clauses. I know your comment didn’t call for that. I just had to throw in my totally unnecessary two cents! πŸ˜‰

      Like

  9. pieclown says:

    Hi All,

    My dad’s sister and my mom’s mom both ha birthdays in in December one before and one after. Of course my mom’s birthday is Jan 6. The 12 day of Christmas.

    Ok i have not heard a lot of Mrs Claus. I have only the clay-mation cartoons to base my understanding. The Mrs Claus from Santa Clause is Coming to Town and Rudolph.

    Santa is not Mrs Claus. He is a Time Lord. Think about it. He can travel the world in one night. Thus controlling time. And he can get in and out of locations, so space he has mastered. Oh and no locked door stops him. Thus he has a sonic screwdriver.

    Mrs Claus is his greatest companion.

    haha hehe ho ho ho.

    To be honest I was reading a book about Santa was a shaman. Of course I know the stories of ST Nick.

    Ok I need to call it a night

    pie pie 4 now

    pieclown

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Pie you really like to brush up against the line don’t ya? lol You make a valid point and there is some evidence i.e. last year’s Christmas Special that give credence to your argument. I therefore bow to your greatness and agree wholeheartedly that Yes Pie, Santa is a Timelord.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. kaisquared4 says:

    Well, firstly, congrats on your Authorversary!

    Mary is the main female figure in my Christmas, although Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, also plays a major part. Both were very strong women,

    When my daughter was younger, her favorite part of Christmas was going to the public library to see Mrs. Claus, who had children sit on her lap while she read them a story. She couldn’t stand the Santas in the mall or at various parties, only Mrs. Claus.

    Santa as a woman? Well, Christmas would definitely be more efficient πŸ™‚

    What a lovely first name, which I would not presume to use for fear of a glowing tush.

    Like

  11. minellesbreath says:

    Good golly! Was it that long ago that you wrote Vengence? Wow, I have so many fond memories of that year. Thanks for showing my drawing! I remember where I was sitting to do that drawing! Lol
    I always celebrate Mary….. I have always had a fondness for Mrs Claus. I think she is a very import partner for Santa! I bet she is right there with Santa delivering the presents!
    I think instead of writing more I will agree with Irishey and Joannebest’s comments regarding all the memories and celebrations of Christmas woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. catrouble says:

    Wow Ana…in some ways, it’s hard to believe that it’s been that long but then in other ways, I can’t remember you not being an author. πŸ™‚

    Before your book and the famous/infamous Advent Calendar of 2013, Mrs Claus was the one who kept Santa and the elves in order. She made sure Santa ate and rested, made sure the elves behaved themselves. She also listened to/counseled anyone with trouble or worries. Your book just verified something I had always known…Mrs Claus rules the North Pole. You go Kristine! πŸ˜€ *snicker*

    Hugs and blessings…Cat

    Like

  13. renee200 says:

    The only exposure to Mrs. Claus I had growing up was in “The Year Without a Santa” and she is quite the powerful woman in that children’s show. As a matter of fact if I am remembering correctly all the women in that story were strong women who got things done. Otherwise I had not really been exposed to her until I got to know you. If Santa was a woman that would explain how he gets everything done and delivered every year. Happy Anniversary friend. Blessings R.

    Like

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