Christmas Greetings

What happened to old-fashioned Christmas cards? Winter scenes sparkling with glitter.  Gold foil wreaths with red berries. The three kings at a manger scene with a glittering star above. I miss that kind of Christmas card, the ones you could save and look at years later or use in a craft project. No matter what kind of card I receive, however, I appreciate being remembered by my friends at this time of year. I really do, especially when, in the past, I have not been faithful about sending out cards each year. Sometimes life gets in the way and eats away at the time we have. Even though I like reading my friends’ newletters and seeing their children, I really miss the artistic and lovely cards of the past which reflect not only the time period in which they are given but also the personalities of the senders.

So far this year I have received a few cards, some of which are actual cards, but most of which are newsletters or a picture of people I don’t even know, our friends’ children. I probably shouldn’t comment on this sensitive subject, but I feel compelled to make the case that most people—well, maybe some people—don’t really care what their friends’ children look like. I would much prefer if you are going to send a picture of your kids that you, my friend, include yourself in the picture. I want to see YOU! I don’t care how much you’ve changed over the years. In fact, that is what I would like to know. It helps me merge the image I have carried of you over the years with who you are now. It allows me connect with the people in my life and recreate an image of you to hold on to, one I can embrace as I embrace the differences I see in the mirror every day. I want to know how you’ve changed, how you’ve been, what you’ve done since we were last together. Wrap all that up in an artful card when you send holiday greetings. It’s better than a present to me!

Unlike some people I LOVE getting holiday newsletters. I know they’ve been maligned and lampooned over the years, but finding out what all our far-flung family and friends have done over the past year is exciting for me, especially since we can’t get together the way we once did. I enjoy reading about the accomplishments of you and your children and about what has happened in your lives. If you can manage to make the letters funny also, that’s a huge bonus, but absolutely not necessary. Not all of us are Lewis Grizzard or Rick Bragg or my new favorite column writer, Allison Glock. Just hearing about your exploits makes me feel closer to you. If I’m honest about these newsletters, I also must confess that since you are writing to an English teacher turned writer and an English major who aspires to be in publishing one day, Shannon and Erik respectively, you will be graded on your grammar and punctuation! Just kidding…sort of. It’s an affliction really, one we can’t help, but don’t be discouraged from sending us your news! We love hearing from you.

This season I will be sending out the trifecta, our newletter complete with a picture stuffed inside a beautiful card I bought at Walgreen’s. I tried to purchase cards with a bit of sparkle embodying not only the beauty of the season but also the reason for the season, the birth of Christ. Though this has been a difficult year for us, I will still include information about our accomplishments and our failures because those things have made us who we are in 2012. I can’t say I won’t be happy to see this year come to an end. I will. But I also want to take the time to remember our blessings and share those with my friends. I want to reconnect with people we have known for years and share our lives again, if only for the few moments they read what I have written.

As they near the end of the letter, I hope they will look at our picture and remember fondly the times we were together. I hope the memories give life to our friendship once again. I wish we could spend every Christmas with the ones we love, no matter how far away they are, but until then, Christmas cards will have to do. In the hectic pace of our lives, it’s really too bad we don’t take the time to write to each other more than once a year and send something we can hold in our hands to remember the people we hold in our hearts all year.

4 responses to “Christmas Greetings”

  1. Shannon, we have so many times thought the same thing (or bought the same thing!) When I created my Christmas party invites this year, I cut apart old Christmas cards to use on my new invitations. However, I noticed how few pretty cards I had. It seemed like everyone had gone to picture cards with little or no decorations. I decided that it was time to go back to old-fashioned Christmas cards. I went to Macy’s and found two boxes of cards that had a picture of a pretty old farmhouse, barn, and driveway sparkling on a snowy night. It looked a lot like my house, so I snapped them up. I still included a picture of the WHOLE family and a Christmas letter in the cards I sent out. I, too, am disappointed when I get a picture of my friends’ children. I love to see everyone growing old together! It’s too bad I don’t send out Christmas cards to my Waupaca friends because the envelopes even had gold foil lining! I’ve jumped off the snap and send bandwagon. Merry Christmas!

    1. Great minds think alike! I bought some sparkly cards myself this year with beautiful Christmas messages in them. I haven’t sent them yet this year because Travis isn’t home for the picture yet, but they will go out on Saturday complete with a letter and a picture of the whole fam damily! I loved your cookie party cards and had a suspicion you had recycled. Very Junk Bonanza of you!

  2. After reading this I felt SO sad! 1) I always sent Christmas cards with the girls pictures….I shudder at pictures of myself 2) I am guilty of resorting to the cheesy newsletter a time or two 3) I didn’t send cards this year 😦 I had good intentions, and they would have probably been pictures of the girls. I only got a handful of cards this year…and I have been a pretty faithful card sender for YEARS!! As the days grew shorter I decided I would send a New Year card instead….but that didn’t happen either. I blame Facebook a bit, the internet makes it easier to connect, but less personal perhaps.

    1. I didn’t mean to make you sad. I would never do that on purpose! I have not been good about sending cards this year or any year. In fact, my cards are still sitting here on my desk. I didn’t receive many cards this year either, and like you I do blame Facebook to a point, but I’m going to try not to let the time slip away again and try to be a more faithful friend. I always loved seeing how your girls grew and how pretty they became, but I really did miss seeing you. Being so far away from all my friends from childhood and college is really hard sometimes. Even though I have wonderful friends here, they don’t know my whole history the way my Georgia friends do. I miss you and the others especially at the holidays.

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