The Improvised Gum Leaf Christmas Card

by Jennifer Aylett
(Melbourne, Australia)

Strictly speaking, this improvisation was not technically a Christmas card. I guess that’s what made it unique!


If you didn’t know, leaves produced by the many types of eucalyptus and corymbia trees are generically known as “gum leaves” in Australia. I don’t know why. Nevertheless, the leaves are generally long and slender and quite tough (although koalas don’t seem to mind, gum leaves are their entire diet). Regardless, that’s just background. Here is the story.

The card from Santa that saved the day!

It was Christmas time, which is like summer in the Southern Hemisphere. My family was at a barbeque where Santa was making an appearance. (Poor Santa, he still wears his red suit and hat. You’d think he would get a lighter weight outfit for hot climates at least). Then it occurred to us, “Oh, no! We forgot about Santa!” Okay, the truth is, we perhaps assumed that our 10 year old was too old, too cool, and too sophisticated for that.

In essence, we didn’t get her a present and it was obvious that she expected one, along with all the other little children there.

What did we do? Inspiration was key. We scouted around to find a big gum leaf. Next, we found a marker pen and turned that leaf into a greeting card, much to the amusement of those who had provided their children with gifts. Basically, we wrote an IOU from Santa on the leaf that read:

Dear Miriam,

I wasn’t sure what to get you. So I’ve asked Mum and Dad to take you shopping later for a special present.

Lots of love,

From Santa.

We slipped the leaf card to Santa when he arrived, Santa gave it to Miriam. And, she was perfectly happy. I think she just needed to know that Santa had not forgotten her.

Although, at the time, we would have preferred to have a proper Christmas card and gift, the story about this improvised greeting card is now part of our family’s story and history. Plus, it will be remembered long after a gift would have been forgotten.

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