Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. It does in fact say, "Mery hritma." Let me explain...
Christmastime is one of my absolute favorite times of the year. There are only two things I don't like about this time of year: the weather and the germs. Everything else I look forward to with great anticipation. I love decorating. I love baking cookies. I love Christmas music. I love how for one short month out of the year, just about everyone - no matter their beliefs or religion - seems to be a bit more giving and kind. I even enjoy wrapping presents to an extent.
As a child, I always anxiously awaited Christmas morning to see what treats Santa had brought for me. Had I been naughty or nice? Now that I have kids of my own, I'm pretty sure that I'm just as excited (if not more excited) as I was 20-some years ago, waiting to see if the jolly guy in the red suit will come down our chimney and what surprises he has for my own children.
This year Alec is almost four years old, and he is really starting to get into the whole magic of the season. He started talking and asking about Christmas before Hallmark even put their ornaments in their stores, which I'm pretty sure was just after Easter this year. Chase still has no clue what Christmas is, but he is just excited because his big brother is excited.
But back to the "Mery hritma"...
At the end of each holiday season I like to scope out bargains on decorations, cards, ornaments, etc. Rather than pay ridiculously marked up prices in December, I simply wait until early January and buy the same products for a tenth of what they cost a few weeks earlier.
Last year I thought I hit the jackpot. I found very cute Christmas placemats for only 75 cents each. Of course they were probably only 80 cents at full price, but still... I splurged and bought two of them, one for each boy, for a whopping $1.50 total. Five years ago I never would have thought to buy plastic Christmas placemats, but anticipating future Christmas meals with my young boys, I thought this was the greatest find ever. With Christmas already over, I brought the placemats home and put them directly into our Christmas storage that would remain in our basement until the next Christmas (this year).
Now fast forward to the weekend after Thanksgiving this year. Chad digs out our bins of Christmas decorations, and we start going to town, making our house look like Christmas exploded. We get to the bottom of a bin, and there they were...the Christmas placemats that I had bought last year. Somehow I had managed to forget about my incredible find, but there they were, all ready to bring festive joy to our dinner table. I placed them on the table at the boys' seats and continued with decorating.
A few days later we were all eating dinner when Chad suddenly asked, "What is Mery hritma?" I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and was worried that he had discovered something inedible in my cooking. Then he told me to look at the placemat. Here is what I saw:
Did you notice the picture on the top right? You can imagine my disappointment when I realized that my 75-cent placemats were wishing me a joyous holiday that I had never even heard of.
Don't get me wrong... I have never been the person who gets offended if someone wishes me a Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Nor am I the kind of person who wishes someone "Happy Holidays." I wish others Merry Christmas and hope that they accept it for what it is - a kind gesture - just as I would if someone wished me Happy Hanukkah. But for two snowmen in festive Christmas attire to be wishing me a "Mery hritma," I was a bit put off to say the least.
At first I thought that maybe there had originally been letters there that had just rubbed off while sitting in storage for 11 months. The placemats were, afterall, not what I would consider luxurious. But after rubbing my hand over the greeting I found the placemat to be smooth and not the kind of material that would flake off. So I investigated further, and here is what I saw:
After straining my eyes, I saw them. Yes, they were there. A very faint "r," "C," "s" and another "s" were tucked in with the other letters, doing their best to wish me a Merry Christmas. Apparently the designer of these placemats thought that it was a good idea to put white letters on an almost-white background.
With some experience in graphic design myself, I couldn't believe that these placemats had actually been produced, not to mention sold. Then I remembered what I had spent on them. I guess I found out the hard way why they were only 75 cents! At least I only bought two of them and didn't go crazy and spend six dollars to get a set of eight.
Now you're probably wondering if we still have the placemats on our table. Well, we do. They still look festive, and unless you look really closely you wouldn't even notice a hint of a fictitious holiday. In fact, it has come to be somewhat of a joke in our house.
So for anyone reading my blog, I would just like to take the time to wish you all a Mery hritma and a Hapy ew Yar.