i’ve had the same philosophy toward christmas cards for years now: if i haven’t seen you in a while, but want to stay in touch, i send a card; if i haven’t seen you in a while, but don’t miss you, i don’t send a card; if i see you every day, every week, i don’t send a card. there are, of course, exceptions to this rule: co-workers have to have a card with their token present; at my old church, everybody put cards in each others’ mailbox (no stamp required) and i felt like a scrooge until i joined in. over the years, the number of cards sent has dropped gradually, but i’m still a little shocked at how small the list is this year.
when i was growing up, it was my dad who sent out the cards, signing them personally, none of this printed stuff. his list was a long one and he would take over the dining room table, spread out his various stacks, finally ending in an assembly line of licking envelopes and stamps. the finished product went into boxes to be taken to the post office for mailing. each christmas card that came in was noted on the list and if someone skipped us that year, they were off for next year; if someone added us, a card was quickly sent out. it really meant something, too; you could offend someone very clearly by taking them off your list.
that’s one reason i didn’t care much for the tradition: it was required and people would be mad if you didn’t get them out on time or, heaven forbid, not send. i’m glad that facebook and email have made some of these traditions obsolete, but i can’t help but feel nostalgic for times gone by. i really, really like to get pictures of my friends’ kids or grandkids, even though i get to see them on facebook, too. i start a ribbon board of pictures each christmas and it fills up quickly with bright, shining faces. so, no pressure, but a card with a snapshot would be nice.
in the meantime, my list has dwindled to our aunts and cousins, the folks we see very little, but definitely miss. we’ll include a newsletter for the aunties, but the rest of ya’ll can just read my blog, sillies. i’ve got my pretty christmas stamps and i’ll sign our name in my best handwriting. and i’ll think, fondly, of each person on my list; i’ll remember times we’ve been together, laugh or cry at my memories, and send off my love in a christmas card.