Here’s a trio of recent Christmas stories that will help you get into the spirit of the season.
Christmas Cards for the Queen
Andrew Simes’ grandfather started sending a Christmas card to the British royal family when he was a child. He carried on the tradition for decades and he began addressing them to Queen Elizabeth when she ascended to the throne in 1952. Maybe it was because he lived in Turkey, but the queen took a liking to them. The two met at an event in 1972 and Elizabeth immediately knew who he was. “So it’s you who keeps sending me those lovely Christmas cards,” she told him. Andrew took over the tradition when his grandfather passed in 2011. A year later, he received a letter from Buckingham Palace. It read: “When I received a letter from a different Simes this Christmas, I instructed my office to research your grandfather’s whereabouts. Therefore it is with much sadness I have learned of his passing and extend my condolences to you and your family.”
The Flaming Christmas Tree
South Coast Plaza, a shopping mall in Costa Mesa, California, displays a giant Christmas tree ever year. This year’s went up in flames on December 14. According to onlookers, the 96-foot, $120,000 evergreen sent flames shooting 150 feet skyward. While no nearby property was damaged, the tree itself was almost completely destroyed. Officials are still trying to figure out what happened and they haven’t ruled out arson. Needless to say, the mall’s owners aren’t too happy. For over 34 years, they’ve purchased a White Fir from Northern California and have paid to have it transported to Costa Mesa and hoisted into place with a 200 ton crane. The 2015 edition featured 20,000 Christmas lights and took over a month to decorate. They’re planning to make the best of a bad situation by shaving off the charred limbs and decorating the trunk with a new strand of lights.
Paying it Forward in Florida
Florida resident Torie Keene was ordering at a McDonald’s drive-through when she decided to “pay it forward” and cover the tab for the car behind her. Kenne asked Marisabel Figueroa, the clerk at the window, to wish the driver a merry Christmas before she left. The driver was charmed by this act of generosity and opted to pay for the meal of the person behind them. Then the driver behind them did the same and so on. By the time Figueroa ended her shift six hours later, a total of 250 people had kept the chain going. The clerk told ABC News that she had “never experienced anything like that before” in her 12 years of working at the burger franchise.