Christmas Cards! Do you love them or hate them? I honestly love 'em. The anticipation each day this time of year as I walk to the mailbox, wondering "are their any cards today" and " if so, from whom?". And then the happiness, as I sort through the handfull pulled from the box, " let's see, bill bill, ad, catalogue, ad, woohoo, Christmas Card!!! "Who is it from? Awesome! How are they? How are the kids?" I drag it out as long as possible. I am a fan of anticipation. I read their notes or letters and admire the photographs. Then hang it up for display.
I love the pictures on the cards and, when the boys were small, used the picture side of the cards the next year as gift tags. So we enjoyed them twice. I've known people who hole punch the cards, string them with ribbon and hang them on their tree. I love that idea too.
As a kid, I remember my mother sitting at the dining table, surrounded by address books, cards, envelopes, stamps, stickers, writing paper and pens for days writing their cards. Back then she wrote a long note in each card and sometimes a full multi-age letter. She had pens that looked like candy canes and wrote in either green or red ink. Very festive. She had to hand write the return address but sealed the envelopes with stickers. It was far from her favourite chore and made her a little cranky. The sheer difficulty of sitting still that long in one spot was a real challenge for her. And we won't even mention her handwriting which was illegible.
My parents kept all the cards they received in a big glass bowl in the dining room. I remember thinking what a shame it was that those pretty pictures were hidden. So when Tim and I still lived in Connecticut, I taped those pretty cards to the door frames all over the house so as anyone walked through, rather than traditional garland, there were christmas cards to cheer us. In Colorado, rather than fight with tape that dried out so very quickly, I stood the cards up on, eventually, every horizontal surface in the house. Still cheery even if some of them had a tendency to want to fall over.
Here in Florida I have revived an old custom. I have, as you can see in the picture, ribbon strung across the kitchen windows and the cards hung from there. Photo cards are pinned in place via paperclip. As more cards arrive, I simply put up another ribbon. Of course in it's origin the custom would be string or twine not flimsy ribbon and it would be wooden laundry pegs not paperclips, but it still works. It's cheery and pretty and each day as I look at it, I think about the people who sent the cards.
Now we are big fans of the computer generated letter. I know some people are dead set against it. To be absolutely honest, if I had to hand write essentially the same note over and over (and over!) again in the many cards we send each year, there would be no note. Or if there was, you would not be able to read it. (I inherited more than a love of all things sparkly from my Mother)
Of course, nowadays some folks send e-cards and I love those too. It's about the connection to the people far away, we dearly love receiving cards in any form. Catching up on the lives of the people we miss, even if it's just that one time a year, is important. And the photographs! Don't even get me started on my love of photographs! That could go on for far too long.
Sadly, we receive fewer cards each year. I get it. Of course, some of our usual senders have passed away. And other folks just cannot add one more chore to their list of Christmas falderol. Totally get that too. Understand it. Support it even!
But the cards that we do receive will be cherished and saved until the day when I finally pull them back out of my memory bins and are ready to part with them. Probably I will never be ready and my poor kids will be stuck with that chore when I'm gone.
Meanwhile, it's Friday, which means that the mailman will come again today! I wonder if he is bringing any more cards?
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.