There are so many things that I love about this time of year: decorating the Christmas tree with the kids (minus the inevitable broken ornament); Jack, our Elf on the Shelf, making his first appearance of the season; attending holiday parties (minus the inevitable drunken party-goer); going to school holiday concerts; and, of course, feeling the kids’ general excitement and anticipation for the upcoming holiday.
But perhaps at the top of my list is sending and receiving holiday cards. In an age where snail mail all too often means bills and flyers, it is such a welcome surprise to receive cards from friends and family.
My love for holiday cards is rooted in visits to my grandparents’ house as a child. I can remember my mother collecting all of my grandmother’s cards and finding a comfy chair to sit in so that she could pour through them undisturbed. It wasn’t until I was in university that I personally discovered how much fun this could be.
I remember feeling like a bit of a voyeur as I examined my parents’ cards… looking at other people’s family photos and reading their personal messages. It was fun to see pictures and receive news of people that I had known as kids but had long since lost touch with. Above all else though, I loved reading the sickeningly upbeat holiday letters that were filled with the past years’ accomplishments and highlights. You know the ones I mean… They typically went something like this: “It has been a wonderful year for the Jones family. Mindy graduated at the top of her class at Harvard. Cindy Lou and her husband Chip made us first-time grandparents. Amazingly, Cindy Lou ran the New York marathon the day before she gave birth to little MacKayla! And Biff Jr. made partner at his law firm earlier this year. We couldn’t be more proud.” My Mom and I used to joke about how much fun it would be to send out a similar letter, but focused solely on the negative events that had occurred during the year.
I must confess that I wasn’t particularly into the whole holiday card tradition until my husband and I had kids. The opportunity to take pictures of our babies and send them out to family and friends was just too good to pass up. In the early years, I personally took hundreds of pictures to land on the one perfect image (meaning that the kids were both looking at the camera – and weren’t fighting!). We also hand-wrote personal messages on all of our cards. Over time, this has given way to a picture taken by a professional photographer and a generic message. Both are signs that our lives have become more hectic as the kids have gotten older!
I absolutely love opening holiday cards – especially the ones from friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I am most aware of the passage of time when I see how big my friends’ kids have become.
I am hoping to finish addressing all of our cards today and get them into the mailbox by tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what awaits me in the mail this week!