Christmas Cards

 Christmas Cards

I always enjoyed writing out Christmas cards. I may be that unusual person that looked forward to the year-end tradition. Even before I was married with kids, I would enjoy going through my list of friends, usually with a bottle of wine, and write personal notes of how much my friends meant to me. Typically, the friends at the bottom of the bottle of wine got more sentimental notes than those at the top of the bottle.

Later, after marriage and kids, I still would carry on the tradition, but this time the key tool was a physical phone book that contained every relative and friends’ address and telephone number. Over the years, with people moving, families expanding and sometimes contracting, the phone book would become unruly and need to be re-written. I watched my dad do this at the start of almost every New Year. He lived to 93 and continued to send cards and keep his address book up to date. Sadly, with the advent of phones that keep calendars, addresses, phone numbers photos and so much more, our physical phone book is but a lonely relic that sits under the counter, rarely consulted.

The practice was a good way to reach out to distant cousins, aunts, and uncles, and the occasional out of touch friend, to say hello, how are you, I hope you are OK and wish you a Merry Christmas. As families grew, we would get, and in return send, cards with pictures of the kids. This was a great way before Facebook and Instagram to see the families that we only sometimes got to see in person and track their growth. But with the growth of social media, the excitement of a photo Christmas card has somewhat diminished. Some creative families would get dressed up in holiday outfits or silly situations, so the cards still brought a smile. Every year I would get a few addresses screwed up and they would get returned. And when it came time to update the address book, I tried hard to get the address right this time. As the years flew by, my handwriting, which I once took pride in, got worse and worse, so even I couldn’t tell what I had written the year before.

As the kids grew up and moved out, got married, had kids of their own, I guess I began to realize that it was now their turn to send the cards with their kids on them. And now, rather than a photo with our family or kids, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps that phase was over. Maybe now was the time to simply send a card with a winter or Christmas scene on the cover. In addition, as we get older, we realize that there are less of those special people around to send cards to. The ones that were crazy and fun, had been caught by father time, and were no longer with us. A certain ennui starts to permeate the spirit of Christmas, and while the delight in the eye of a grandchild’s eye is something to behold, it becomes a sanguine moment to savior.

And so, I found myself this year unable to find the motivation to write a single Christmas card. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell the world that this year will be different than every one of the past 45 years, in that no cards will be sent. And with every card that is received, a tinge of guilt seeps through, that we are receiving but not giving. The hope, of course, is that this is but a momentary feeling in the continuum of life, and that by next year, I will be rip roaring to write Christmas cards once again, bottle of wine and newly written address book nearby. As for this year, if you have sent me an annual Christmas card, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and want you to know, that you have not been stricken from our address book, it’s just a momentary pause, that we have taken to stoically reflect and try to celebrate more, by doing less. We hope you had a truly Merry Christmas!!!

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *