Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Memorable 2010 Christmas gifts December 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:50 AM
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WHAT DID YOU GET for Christmas? Anything interesting, fun, different?

This wind-up NunZilla walked and shot fiery sparks from her mouth. Sadly, the toy worked only briefly.

The gift our second eldest gave to her father ranks as the most entertaining and unusual of all the presents exchanged in our household.

Having heard her dad’s stories about attending a Catholic grade school, our daughter picked up a NunZilla at Vagabond Imports in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The sparking, walking, ruler-toting wind-up toy nun proved to be the perfect humorous gift for a man who endured the physical punishment of a sister or two during his childhood. He’s never explained why the nuns slapped his hands with a ruler or dug a thumb into his scalp. Apparently they thought he was misbehaving. He can laugh about it now, kind of.

I don’t condone corporal punishment. However, times were different back in the 1960s and teachers, unfortunately, got away with such physical abuse. Sad, but true. I can’t speak from first-hand experience (because I did not grow up Catholic), but I would like to believe that the ruler-slapping nuns were in the minority and that most were kind and caring.

Another Christmas gift also drew my attention, or should I say my husband’s attention. As he washed the eight new dinner plates that our eldest gave me, he noticed that the “IKEA of Sweden” plates were “made in China.” No need to say more on that one.

FYI, the wind-up NunZilla was also made in China.

Finally, the ghost of Annie Mary Twente, a 6-year-old girl who was buried alive near Hanska, Minnesota, in 1886, remembered me with a Christmas gift. For the second consecutive year, she (AKA my cousin Dawn and Aunt Marilyn) sent me a book about mice. She knows how much I detest rodents and takes great delight in taunting me.

The book was not—I don’t think—printed in China.

The imprint on the bottom on my new IKEA plates.

But the other part of Annie Mary’s gift, a combination calendar and notepad decorated with chickens (of which I am not fond), was manufactured in China.

HOW ABOUT YOU? Did you receive any memorable Christmas gifts? Humorous or otherwise? Submit a comment to Minnesota Prairie Roots. I’d love to hear your stories.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


11 Responses to “Memorable 2010 Christmas gifts”

  1. Amy Says:

    I got an Edward Gorey lunchbox! I love it and am going to use it to store my smaller knitting supplies. A couple of years ago, I got the Birds Barbie, who’s being attacked by birds on my desk right this minute. 🙂

  2. Bernie Says:

    I love those Nuns! How fun. I want to get a Crazy Cat lady action figure. That looks like it would be fun as well.
    Nothing amusing this year, unless you count my Miche bag that has no shell. My husband insists that I can carry it naked. I don’t think so. (The bag naked, not me being naked.)
    I stumbled oh you via the WordPress humor page. I look forward to reading more as I’m originally from MN.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Well, Bernie, I’m always happy to welcome a native Minnesotan to Minnesota Prairie Roots. So, welcome! Where did you grow up?

      I must confess that I had to google “Miche bag.” I’m not very cosmopolitan. My “purse” comes from a major discount retailer. Thanks for the fashion lesson.

      And enjoy all the stories I post from your home state.

      • Bernie Says:

        I grew up in Duluth. I so miss it. I’m not a designer purse girl at all. Usually, I go for the freak purses. Ones that look like chickens. Ones that you look at and wonder, “Who would ever carry that?” The answer is me.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        You sound like one of my sisters. She wore a feathery hat to church on Christmas Eve and now insists that next Christmas, we all wear hats. Of course, we will. We love her and her craziness!

  3. lanae Says:

    One of the best gifts given this year was having 5 out of 6 of my mom’s children and their families go to Christmas Eve services in Vesta. We all stayed up until 2:00 AM. With lots of laughter. Macat looked so cute when she got up the next morning after our wild slumber party. I’m sure she is still gloating to her friends on what a wonderful time we had. I’ll make sure to remind everyone to wear a hat as you were all so jealous of mine!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I agree, Lanae. Having almost all of us together for Christmas Eve was one of the best gifts this year. Just goes to show that some of the best gifts are not material ones, but ones that come from the heart.

      I did not say I was jealous of your hat!

  4. Now that I’ve read this, I’m going to have to go and check to see which of my gifts have been made in China. A few I’m sure.

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