Ho? Ho? Or Ho?
My favorite part of the letter:
"Then one brisk morning in December, Emily ran by me yelling 'Wah zee ya wana ou! Wah zee ya wanna ou!'
"I had learned various Lakota words and phrases through my years of work on the reservation and now as Director at St. Joseph's Indian School, but this phrase was new to me. Our Native American Studies teacher explained the Lakota phrase the student learned is the English translation for 'Santa is coming.'
"It was then that I realized we had given Emily much more than food, clothing and an education. We had given her the ability to dream and hope. Thanks to friends like you, Emily could finally see past the hopelessness she faced at home. Is there any gift better than sharing the joy of a carefree childhood?"
Now here you are with a lap full of (or a tabletop covered with) holiday gifts from Lakota youngsters like Emily — how could you not want to share a child's joy that Santa is coming? Well done, St. Joseph's.
And while the letter never mentions them where I would have, the reply includes gift coupons with personalized ask amounts to provide a Lakota child with a Christmas dinner, a Christmas present or clothing. Most excellent, and the coupons are both Christmas-y and substantial in design.
St. Joseph's Indian School may also be a pioneer or an early adopter of a new take on the age-old holiday greeting cards offer. In advance of the "Christ Tunpi" bonanza, I received a 9.5-inch-by-6-inch package with a selection of Christmas cards and matching envelopes.
Like a lot of mailers trying to fly under the USPS thickness restriction, the cards are flat and scored rather than folded. But unlike others I've received, this collection is shrink-wrapped with cards facing out, showing on both sides, surrounding the smaller envelopes in the center. Unlike loose cards and envelopes or those that are banded, the shrink-wrap helps contain the cards more securely, and my guess is they are less likely to get mangled in transit — or puff up with air and cause a postmaster to kick your mail.