The World’s Longest Christmas Card Exchange

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The Purse is infamous in our family. A couple (ahem, maybe a few) decades ago, my grandma bought my mother a handbag. The Purse in question had the appearance of denim but was plastic-y to the touch. It came with a matching wallet. My mom apparently opened the gift and had a pretty good laugh, thinking my grandma had gotten her a hilariously terrible present on purpose. My grandma, meanwhile, was wondering what was so funny about the lovely accessory she had taken great care to select just for my mom. Her look of total bewilderment only added to the tears of laughter streaming down everyone’s faces.

Ever since then, the Purse makes an mysterious appearance every year, not unlike Mr. Claus himself. Sometimes it’s hidden within a real gift; sometimes it’s concealed by reindeer wrapping paper in a box so big you’d never dream it was a purse; sometimes it even comes with money hidden inside.

Although this little bit of holiday cheer has been going on for 30 years, it’s still got nothing on the 57-year Christmas card exchange between Warren Nord of Mesa, Arizona, and Thor “Tut” Andersen of Ashtabula, Ohio. The pair started sending the same card back and forth to save a few pennies in 1930. Presumably the friends decided to continue post-Great Depression, not because the cost of cards was wallet-busting, but simply for the tradition. The only thing that stopped the worn card from being mailed in 1988 was Andersen’s death - though wouldn’t it have been great if he had arranged for it to be mailed one last time?

My family has a few years to go until we catch up with Warren and Tut, but I’m confident that the Purse will still be hiding inconspicuously under the tree even in 2036.

Do you have any long-running cards (or purses) in your family? Give us the backstory.

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November 15, 2011 - 7:25pm
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