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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Traditions With Hello Kitty

Hello, everybody! Welcome to December 26...also known as Boxing Day in some parts of the world.

In Canada, Boxing Day is widely considered to be one of the biggest shopping days of the whole year...some might even say that it ranks up there with the American Black Friday in terms of deals, savings, and claustrophobic crowds of people. Certainly not my idea of a fun experience.

While I won't be taking part in shopping during Boxing Day sales, I will be working them. So, because of my hectic schedule, this particular blog entry is going to be slightly shorter than normal. But, I'm sure that most of you will understand. It is the holidays, after all.

Besides, I don't really want to talk about Boxing Day. Instead, I want to talk about yesterday.

My Christmas celebrations were some of the best ones that I have ever experienced. I really had a lot of fun, and I certainly hope that all of you had just as much fun with your own holiday celebrations as well.

Part of the fun with regards to Christmas are the various holiday traditions and inside jokes that families share with each other at this time of year. And, as it so happens, I want to share a story with you in regards to one of these traditions, which links to the blog topic at hand.

The story begins when I was a toddler. Apparently when I was a little boy, there was a particular book that I really loved. Mind you, I don't really remember the book as I was way too young to even so much as picture what it even looked like, but according to my family, they would have to read the book to me on average...oh...fifty-three times a day! That's how much I loved that book.

Now, here's the thing. I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit what this book was because it wasn't exactly a book that was considered to be the most...shall we say, manly? Yet, it was a book that I really loved and probably would have continued to love had it not gotten lost during a move.

Would you like to know what the book was? I'll give you a hint. It starred this cute little feline below.

That's a creature by the name of “Hello Kitty”. And since I've brought it up, I may as well inform you that this is the topic of the Boxing Day blog entry!

Apparently, Hello Kitty will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014. I actually had no idea that she was that old, to be completely honest. The first appearance of Hello Kitty was in 1974, created by a woman named Yuko Shimizu. The character was added into the line of characters created by the Japanese company, Sanrio (established in 1962), and she first made her appearance on a coin purse where she was seated between a goldfish bowl and a milk bottle.

It wouldn't be until 1976 that Hello Kitty would make her appearance in North America. And, although the Hello Kitty line was originally marketed towards young girls (which is precisely why I was a little bit embarrassed to admit that I owned a Hello Kitty book), now you can find Hello Kitty products for all ages and genders.

I think Hello Kitty is unique in the sense that it has actually increased in popularity with each passing year. It had a brief slump in sales in the late 1970s, but over the years, Hello Kitty could be found in a variety of places. There are Hello Kitty pencil cases, Hello Kitty notebooks, Hello Kitty pencils, Hello Kitty cosmetics, Hello Kitty clothing, and as of 2009, bank customers could even have an image of Hello Kitty imprinted on their charge cards!

It is reported that Hello Kitty generates a worldwide income of over five billion dollars each year! Not bad for a little white cat with a big pink bow on its head who is as tall as five apples and weighs as much as three apples!

Heh...apples as a measuring tool. Who would have thought?

I know this history of Hello Kitty seems a little bit brief, but the reason for that is because the history of Hello Kitty is not really the important part of the story.

As I explained before, my link with Hello Kitty dates back thirty years. When I was a year old, this was my favourite book.

The book was called “Hello Kitty Can Count”, and from what I can gather based on the one and only reference that I could find regarding the book, it was written in the style of “one, two, buckle my shoe”.

You know, now that I have just typed that out, I do vaguely remember hearing a story that had a lot of that “one, two, buckle my shoe” read to me constantly. So, maybe in some part of my brain, that story has stuck, even if it does sound a bit hazy.

But then one fateful day, my family moved from one house to another, and in the madness of it all, that “Hello Kitty Can Count” book disappeared. And, since the book seems to be out of print, my family never did find another copy of it.

So, here's where the fun family tradition comes into play.

For the last few years, my sister has consistently given me themed gifts for Christmas each year. She manages to give some really nice gifts to all of us each year, but she always manages to give me at least one gag gift each year.

Two years ago, for instance, she gave me a Hello Kitty pen that naturally wrote in hot pink ink. Because, one can never have enough pens that have cartoon characters on them.

And last year, I was given a bottle of Hello Kitty travel shampoo. And, before you ask, yes I did use it. And, no I don't feel that I am giving up my so-called “man card” by admitting it. When one runs out of shampoo, you do what you gotta do, right?

This year was no exception. Not only did I get Hello Kitty chocolates, but I also got this.

A Hello Kitty ceramic jellybean jar, complete with “Jelly Belly” jellybeans.

Now, granted, these gifts from my sister are given to me in jest, and aren't meant to be taken seriously at all. But, they also symbolize a very fond childhood memory that I had, and it's cool that my family also holds those memories in such high regard. We can joke about it, but it's moments like those that help bring all of us closer together. And, that to me is what holidays are all about.

Of course, my sister claims to not rest until she can find a way to get a copy of that book back in my possession...and even if she does find it, I imagine that the Hello Kitty gag gifts will keep coming.

And, I'm perfectly fine with that.

So, I'm keeping the jellybean jar in a place of honour. After all, I do love jellybeans.

Well, maybe not all the flavours. Any of you like licorice jellybeans?

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