Hermosa Beach Councilman Jim Rosenberger's Christmas tradition started with an Impeach President Nixon rally.
Inspired by that rally 14 years ago, and bored with traditional Christmas cards, he decided to make his own. His holiday greeting to friends in 1973 read: "IMPEACH NIXON" on the outside, "& Have a Happy New Year!" on the inside.
Since then, most of his cards have had a political message.
"People keep in touch with me because they don't want to miss out," Rosenberger said.
He waits until the end of November to design the cards to be sure that his subject is current. "It's just a thing I do every year to test my imagination," he said.
The cover of this year's card reads: "A Xmas Gift From You!" On the inside, are Rosenberger's holiday message and checklist: "In lieu of any gift or verbal expression of syrupy sentimentality, a contribution will be made in your name to the following deserving causes:
Ronald Reagan Early Retirement Drive
Judge Douglas Ginsburg Drug Clinic
Oliver North School of Blind Obedience
Ed Meese Criminal Defense Fund
Stassen for President (Again) Campaign
Any Iranian "Moderate" not currently funded by our government
Rosenberger checks off different "contributions" depending on who is receiving the card. "I have friends who, at one point, were probably exposed to drugs, so I put three checks on the Judge Ginsburg Drug Clinic--just to let them know I care," he said, laughing.
"This year I'm signing them 'Let's keep politics in Christmas--it's in everything else.' "
Last year, Rosenberger's card included "the Iran/Contragate Game!" The card, which claims to be from "the makers of Domestic Economy Debacle Game and the Balanced Budget Joke Book," noted that the game's outcome is "predetermined by Justice Department Investigation/Ed Meese."
The card notes, however, that the game is "void where prohibited (Iran, Israel, Nicaragua)."
Other Rosenberger originals include:
A Christmas stocking on the cover of a 1978 card with the words, "Yes Virginia, Inflation Even Affects Christmas." The inside: "& Christmas Cards, too!" The back flap was cut in half. A jingle was also included:
May your spirits inflate
For the diminished buying power
of your dollar .
Ho Ho Ho!
In 1985, a picture of Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and President Reagan shaking hands, smiling and singing:
We wish you a merry X-mas
We wish you a merry X-mas
W e wish you a merry X-mas
Despite global fears!
An insert on the men's jackets showed each country's flag and the number of nuclear warheads and bombs each controlled.
The message: "Peace on Earth! (It's not just for X-mas anymore.)"
In 1975, he sent "the Bicentennial Christmas Card Act" which looked like a government form. The memo inside read:
To: Resident of the United States
From: Government of the United
Seasons Greetings .
Keep up your inalienable rights
for another 200 years.
A "supplemental Xmas card request form" was enclosed in case the recipient had moved or wanted "to be assured that someone else, less fortunate than yourself, receives the benefits of and is acknowledged by this great nation of ours during this Bicentennial holiday season.
Three years ago, Rosenberger announced that "On Nov. 6, 1984, the American People reaffirmed their belief in Santa Claus." The inside of the card read: "For Four More Years" and showed President Reagan in a Santa Claus hat.
Rosenberger said he spends about $150 each year to have a hundred or so of the cards printed. "That's my gift to people," he said.