These are just a small sampling of the over 2500 notes, letters and e-mails we have received over the years:
Dear Paul & Walter: Here is a letter I got from THE PRINCESS OF WALES, BUCKINGHAM PALACE in response to your design which I sent for Prince William's first Christmas in 1982: Dear Mrs. Connor: "The Princess of Wales has asked me to send you her warm thanks for your letter and message of good wishes. Her Royal Highness is most grateful for the Christmas present you gave for Prince William and thanks you for taking the trouble to make the special "CROWN PRINCE" ornament. The Princess sends you and your family her best wishes for the New Year.
Anne Beckwith-Smith, Lady-in-Waiting."Delores Connor, CANADA. January 1983.
Dear Walter and Paul,
So many years have passed since I first encountered your catalog. Back then I was a new Navy wife, pregnant with our first child. A friend gave me your catalog with hopes of raising my spirits while waiting for my husband to return from sea. I ordered one ornament kit at that time. I spent many hours putting it together and finally finished it just a day before my husband returned from sea. Not long after that we were transferred to another homeport and the ornament was lost in the move. Since I didn't have the catalog anymore I was devastated and on top of all that I knew I had been short on my first order payment by fifty cents (and error on my part that you graciously forgave with a very nice letter explaining that I could add the fifty cents to my next order.) Since then I've born two children,made it through the first Gulf war, divorced, moved nearly 12 times and remarried all the while searching for your catalog and today I found it! I'm so happy. I'll be ordering your catalog right after this email is sent and you can bet that extra fifty cents will be added into the first order! Thank you so much for the hours of happiness your little kit brought me and for not totally vanishing from sight like so many other companies do over time. I look forward to long and rewarding "partnership".
Diana Culver-Emmons Auburn GA October 07
Hello Paul and Walter:
I just received the latest three kit--thank you! I can not wait to get started. I have done over a dozen of your ornaments now, the first ones we bought on that special day when my daughter and I stopped in your shop on our way home to New Hampshire. We were so glad to meet you both and were mesmerized to see your designs in person. "Moonbeams on the Bay" is still my favorite. I just completed "Hungarian Rhapsody" and it is among the most beautiful I have ever seen. That one is marked for my son-in-law who is very special. So glad to have discovered The Cracker Box. I so enjoy seeing your new designs year after year! I just had to write you!!!!
Marcia Shields, Virginia September 06
Dear Paul & Walter.
Your ornaments are so beautiful. There just are not words to describe them. Man! I had a hard time choosing which ones to get right now. I know it seems like I have ordered a lot, but I could not help myself. One thing stood out more than anything: the personal attention you give me. How wonderful to find a company that really cares about its people. Thank you for making me feel like a person and not a number. I always let you know how they come out.
Tom Lefevere, Missouri September 06
Dear Paul & Walter:
Here is the letter I got from the WHITE HOUSE: Cathy Pratt, Virginia. "Dear Mrs. Pratt: Thank you for the handsome ornament "White Knight". The time and skill you put into your work is very evident. We understand your feelings when you visited the Pentagon to see your husband's office. We join the nation in gratitude to Lt.Col Pratt for his twenty years in the Marine Corps. He honors our country with his service. And we admire you for choosing a career in teaching. As Henry Adams said, "A teacher effects eternity" , because he knew that a teacher's influence is unending. You are called upon to do a great many things: to teach, inspire, motivate, guide, challenge, encourage, and mentor. Thank you for your devotion to a vital and meaningful profession, as well as to the multitude of students whose lives you touch. Thanks again for the lovely ornament you made for us. We send both of you our best wishes for a happy holiday season. Sincerely,
Cathy Pratt Virginia 2004
Recently I purchased RAZZAMATAZZ. As with all of your kits I really wanted to run home and start.
So, this past weekend, being all rainy and me not feeling so good, house work and yard work were put to the side and I started on my newest kit of yours.
Well, I couldn't put it down and in a matter of 2 days I was able to complete this ornament, which is the most inolved I've done. I emerged from my "studio" (really just a room over my garage), dazed, cross-eyed and just in love with my newest addition to all the ornaments kits I have purchased from you. I have never had so much fun putting together one of these kits before.
After more house cleaning and yard work I will be gearing up for new kits to make. I want to be able to "visit" with you longer since you both are so pleasant and enjoyable.
Tracy Buscham, NJ August 2006
Dear Paul and Walter:
Many thanks for sharing your time with us. We had such a delightful weekend. We can't say enough how much of a treat it was to finally meet the geniuses behind our creative passion and inspiration. Your showroom is so beautiful. It is as if your are walking into a treasure chest!!!! I am already working on another wish list. Michael, my husband, is halfway done the Ballroon Dancing and I am finishing Butterflies By Night that I started before the trip. The student is still learning from the masters!.
Thanks again for opening your hearts to us. You gave us wonderful unforgettable memories. We look forward to new "jewel" kits and hopefully meeting again in the near future.
All the Best
Michael and Caryn Kunik, IL June 2006 2006
Paul and Walter
I just wanted you to see a copy of the invitation that I am sending out to family and friends regarding a party I am planning in rememberance of my mother, who passed away in March of 2005. As I am sure you are aware from your files, Mother was a avid ball-o-holic for many years, and you kits brought her much happiness. When she became too ill to assemble for ornaments. I would make some of her favorites for her to add to her exentive collection.
I wanted to make sure the joy Mother derived from making these balls and giving them as gifts did not end with her, or with me. At the insistence of my sister and nieces, I have planned the first annual party in Mother's memory.
Just thought you would enjoy knowing that my nieces respresent third generation Cracker Box ball-o-holics.
The simple truth is, no one can design as well as the two of you.
Cathy Calvert, KY. December 2005
"Paul, I wish to congratulate you and Walter on the magnificent and amazing artistic work you both do with your enchanting catalog and awe-inspiring ornament kits. It has been several years since I last created one of your delicious masterpieces (thank God for your wonderful directions) and now , I look forward to beginning yet again with great relish. Not to neglect another fact, when I become listless and lonely for my beloved Italy, I have only to read the descriptions listed for your "Italian delights". From reading and viewing "The Spanish Steps" I can again experience the wonder and heady scent of the Steps in the Spring. Then, on to Florence, followed by La Scala, easily one of my favorite Opera Houses, all I can say with the passion and love of an Italian for her lovely country is....... Mille Grazie!!!!!!!
With gratitude and adminration, Bernadette Miller, PA. October 2005?
Dear Paul and Walter: (October 22,2005) "As you well know, since 1999, I have made about 50 of your gorgeous creations. I am now in a temporary facility only 8 miles from my home, which was innundated under more than 3 feet of water. We are allowed back for only 4 hours a day to try and salvage....anything. Of course, the basement's contents were all destroyed, and that (sob) included all my Cracker Box ornaments. HOWEVER , I did find two of your inserts, and I just have to have at least five, to start all over. The ones I did may be gone, but thank you for still being here"
Milton Schoettle, New Orleans, LA. October 2005?
Paul and Walter: (October 2005) "Just to let you know I have finished the kits I ordered only a month ago. I took your advice and started with Cinnamon Stick, then Orange Sorbet and the last was Jezebel. They are all beautiful and the instructions you give are great.
I thought I was going to have to take your advice and close the door and scream before I got the last swag done on Jezebel. She was a doosie for me, but for the most part it was pretty simple and turned out really well. These ornaments will be displayed through out the year, because of all my work and they are too beautiful to pack away in a box.
I am trying to make my mind up as to the next ones to do. When I get all my trees decorated (54 last year-all different sizes) for the holidays, I will get started and can't stop till I complete them.
Thanks again and have a super fantastic Thanksgiving and Christmas".
Audrey Eden, Dewey,OK. October 2005?
Dear Paul and Walter: (September 17, 2001)
"You have been a part of our lives for a long time. I first discovered you many years back in an advertisement in the American edition of Good Housekeeping magazine. At that time we were living in Kuwait. Christmas was regularly "banned" so of course we celebrated and decorated, behind closed curtains, even more! When I found you, I thought that I had died and gone to heaven! I call you my Christmas Faberge. We were still in Kuwait when Iraq invaded and the only things to survive intact in our apartment were ALL our Cracker Box Christmas ornaments. We could not believe our good fortune and your little treasures are even more precious. I wish that you could feel the enormous wave of compassion and caring that has poured from my country to yours, in this past ghastly week. Please tell everyone you know that we are with you. Yours very sincerely,"
Rosemary Emeny Surrey, England?
"I never loan out any of my catalogs or discard them when the new ones come out. The little personal notes you write mean so much. You take the time for that personal touch, and I really appreciate that. You two gentlemen are so very talented, and truly great artists. Also sharing your travels with us. How lucky we are. You two don?t know it, but my family has adopted you. The whole family gathers to put up a tree on Thanksgiving Day. The grandkids saying, "Hurry up", so we can get to Paul & Walter's!. Yours are the last to go up."
Aggie Shepherd, Roseville, CA.
"I normally don't do something off the wall like this, but I thought you would enjoy these photos. One day Katie (my dog) disappeared, and these will show what we found her doing, completely absorbed, reading your catalog. Thanks again for the many years of pleasure."
Rhoda Matts, Herndon, VA.
"Thought you might like to see the awards I got doing your designs!!!! "THIS PROUD LAND" got FIRST PRIZE, and "CLIMBING ROSES" got Second! There were 50,000 people at the fair, and I am so proud. Thank you."
Mena Mitchell, N.H.
"I haven't ordered in a while, but last week I ordered "Ballroom Dancing" and like a good book I could not put it down until I finished it. Thank you so much for being there, I just placed an order for Ivory Coast and Gold Coast. Believe me, I wish I could order almost every one of your beautiful creations and I will. Thanks again for your lovely and inspiring work."
"Please don't ever lose your personal touch. In this day and age, it is such a rare quality, and worth more than you'll probably ever know. You two have brought me years of happiness, satisfaction, self accomplishment and everlasting beauty through your ornaments. I have been able to create memories and family traditions, wonderment and joy."
Bev Wojcik, Idaho
"We surely do hope you had no family or friends in or near the Pentagon, the World Trade Center or the Pennsylvania field. How incredibly devastating. We ached to have some way to express how we feel, and want to thank you for THIS PROUD LAND to commemorate the heroes, and all of America!! It is truly lovely."
Pam Larsen, Hawaii
"Thank you, as always, for providing all of us so many hours of distraction from the rest of the world! Got to have a little humor in these solemn times! I have thanks for you and the great mental escape which your stunning designs provide."
Marla Zell, Florida
"OK, I confess. I'm addicted to your designs. I make them for me, my children, and now my grandchildren want them, too. What a pleasure knowing that several generations of my family will be enjoying something beautiful that I made for many years to come. Thanks for making that possible."
Barbara Marchand , MA.
"Thank you for including descriptions of the inspiration for your designs? they are as colorful as the designs themselves. My work has taken me all over the world, including many of the places you have been, but rarely do I have the time to do any in-depth sightseeing. Your descriptions add insight to the places I've been, but didn't get to see!"
Linda S. Ray, Ohio
"In 1999, I got my first kits from you...and they have been my passion ever since. I have made more than 80 since then, and very rarely KEEP any, even though some can take as much as 20 hours to make. They go to my five children who live all over, and SOMETIMES to people as very special gifts.... it's like giving a part of ME. If that Canadian customer could make "CROWN PRINCE" and send it to Princess Diana for Prince Williams first Christmas, the least I can do is to make your designs and give them to my kids. I am sending you a copy of the Daily Record, on the front of which you will see me holding two of your gorgeous ornaments which I made. Apparently they find my addiction as exciting as I do."
Bob Rothen, New Jersey
"What am I to do? I have run out of your wonderful, unbelievably fun kits. I bought so many last time that it has taken me a while to finish all the beauties. I have made a new wish list, which was outrageously long, so I have temporarily limited it to these 15. If I have put down any I already HAVE, substitute another you think I will love. Can't really express to you how much I enjoy your creations and the wit in your directions. The timing of them is perfect, as I am usually slightly peeved at some wonderful detail you've invented, and at that moment a giggle is needed. I can hardly wait to put my tree up, and have company over as everyone is awed by all the wonderful ornaments."
Bridget Atkins, AR.
"As you know, Fern Ingrum in Virginia has made many of your ornaments but what you may NOT know is that a gentleman from the Smithsonian heard about her frail condition and asked if he could see some of her work. He chose over 2 dozen of your designs she had done, which she kind of reluctantly let him have for the Christmas tree in that Institution. Why reluctantly. She said it was like having dear friends leave and she would miss them so. But when he told her that thousands of people would now see them, she wept a little and told them good bye. She is on the way out now with cancer, but you will never know the deep joy she got from working on your designs. She felt you were her close friends. Thank you for caring."
Sam and Janice Salmon, VA.
"I wanted to tell you that my sister gave your ornaments as gifts to many friends and family. One woman was in the hospital, just diagnosed with cancer, so she got the KIT, and LOVED doing it; gave her something to do that took her mind off her worries, and that made it a very special gift."
Susan La Pointe, Pa.
"Good grief, I've been making your designs since 1979! My husband loved the ornaments and was so proud, that he invited everyone over to see them. and that's why I will never stop making them in his memory. My grandson (age 16) said, Maman, if something happens to you, the ornaments are mine. I said, What if your wife doesn"t like them? He said, I would say goodbye-you're out of here. He's a young man after my heart, and I think he's got it."
Ellie Bittinger, Ohio
"Can't believe it. Your ornaments are more beautiful than in the catalog. I'm so pleased I've found this new hobby1 It has been my salvation because several weeks ago, my husband and I suffered the loss of an infant son. We were devastated, but unlike my husband who could go into his shop and work on restoring antique furniture (which we collect), I really had nothing to take my mind off our loss. So I dug out my catalog from you and decided to give it a try. When I received my first package which was in less than a week, I started work on The Blue Danube. At first I was a bit frustrated, but once I got it finished, I was thrilled, and even my husband was thrilled. He couldn?t wait for me to finish the other four. And here's my order for seven more! Yup, you got it. I'm addicted. My dream is to one day be able to decorate our entire Christmas tree with these beauties, no more cheesy and cheap ornaments. I only hope you two are around for many more years to come."
Jennifer Krueger, WI .
"I want to tell you again how much I love doing your ornaments. I wish I could order 10 every day but of course my bank account wouldn't allow that. Thank you again for creating one of my favorite things in life. I have severe headaches and doing your ornaments is very soothing."
Janie Hall, MN.
"Thank you for going over and beyond for me. Things have been very rough. Cancer is such a hateful disease, but unlike my husband, my mother has a good chance. The new kits help my depression, and make dealing with the baddies less bad. And mostly it gives me something beautiful to think about. It means a lot!"
Marcia Summerlott, IL
"This Proud Land" Absolutely Beautiful!!! You guys are so great. I love you and your company and so did my sister---she's how you ended up with me. She died about 1.5 years ago and she really did justice to your decorations --(they were always perfect),. You know what the words "customer service" mean. I'm glad you did this ornament "This Proud Land". I feel sort of helpless that all I can do is to give money to the Red Cross or The Salvation Army. I'm sending the same amount to ASPCA.They go in and rescue the animals left behind. But I feel disconnected. Making this ornament will give me something to do physically and to also make a reminder-- so I will never forget New York, DC. And Pennsylvania. Thank You".
Sharol Hanson , IL
"As always, thanks for the beautiful designs and marvelous clear instructions. Wonderful to have your designs to work on as the days get shorter and Christmas approaches. I don't know WHAT I could give to my friends for Christmas more wonderful than your ornaments. Yours, yes, but something of myself included in this thing of beauty. Although somewhat painful, I give just about all of them away. Several now adorn the Christmas tree of history's only Mr. AND Mrs. Senator: Howard and Nancy Kassebaum Baker, for whom I REALLY couldn't possibly shop for without you."
Martha Anne Fairchild, TN.