It’s All In the Cards
One of my favorite aspects of the Christmas season is the exchanging of cards among relatives, neighbors and friends. In the pre-Facebook era—i.e. the olden days, when I was living the life of a military brat—the Christmas card kept our family connected to not only the relatives living the less nomadic life style, but all the friends we’d met along our travels. The notes and letters included in the card sufficed for a more expensive phone call. Occasionally, a photo or school picture might be included, but more often than not, the card only contained a hand written note.
Not so anymore. Today, most of the holiday cards we receive at Chez Solheim are photo cards, digitally personalized by each sender. And I love it! The cards adorn a wreath card holder proudly hanging on the pantry door in my kitchen—an integral part of our Christmas décor. And beware; if you send me a photo card, they all end up in the Christmas album for preservation. I love going back to see how each child has grown, how many more gray hairs my brother has, what my former neighbor’s future-daughter-in-law looks like.
A year or two ago, I called a friend to tell her how beautiful her two children looked in her family’s card and she laughed. “If you only knew what it took to get those two to be nice to one another for one minute while I snapped the picture,” she said. Ah yes, making our kids look angelic for the purposes of a holiday greeting. Who hasn’t experienced that joy? Case in point: Last year’s Christmas card that wasn’t.
Oh and the letters, I like them, too. Katie Couric once railed on the holiday letter, calling them brag sheets, but I enjoy reading everyone’s synopsis of the past year, what the kids are up to, where they’ve traveled. Okay, some of the trips you people take make me a little green with envy, but lately I’ve had to live vicariously. Kid in college, you know. And, if I’m being honest, the detailed medical stuff often gets skipped over. As do the political views. But, hey, keep those letters coming!
Our dog, Jetta, usually appears on our family holiday card with the exception of photos taken while we were in some exotic local (we did travel at one time). The first year she wasn’t featured on the card, I had a little fun with our letter and had the dog pen it from her point of view—mostly indignant she’d been left out. The next year, when I went back to the usual letter, I received lots of notes from family and friends disappointed the dog hadn’t written another one. Seriously? Guess I know where I stand in the family hierarchy. Usually only folks we don’t see on a regular basis get the letter, so when we moved from Maryland to Georgia, family and friends here in Atlanta no longer got Jetta’s Howliday greetings. They complained! So, the dog now does the honors each year. She’s eleven, nearly deaf, and very crotchety but, hey, if that’s what the people want.
I got an email from a friend last week who was verifying her email list because she is now going to send her Christmas card electronically. Really? That’s not a card. It’s a message. I can’t put it on the wreath or in the photo album. Okay, yeah, I can print it out, but it’s just not the same. Guess it’s just another sign of the times.
What do you think? Do you like receiving Christmas cards? Do you send them? Or, do you just think they are too much work?