It’s Christmas card time! Which of course explains why I’m sitting here writing this instead of sitting at my dining room table writing out my cards. Don’t get me wrong, sending out my Christmas card is one of my favorite things about the whole holiday season. I love it, especially the part when I can finally drop them in the mail. Tell me you don’t feel that same relief when you hear them thunk on the bottom of that mailbox!
It’s all the rest of the process that I procrastinate against. The drudge of the envelopes. Addressing them. And the return address. (I have an embosser, which is really cool, but after around 160 envelopes starts to cramp up my hand, making me look like I’m auditioning for a part in Macbeth.) Sealing them. (Bleh—could they make that glue any nastier? I suggest candy cane peppermint!) Putting on the stamps. Thinking of thoughtful little things to say in a note to people who send me long, hand-written letters just to, I’m sure, make me feel guilty for scratching out a barely legible, “Happy New Year!”
Then there’s all you people who move every year. I have to track you down, get your new address, filling up my “F’s” and “S’s” in, yes, my old-fashioned paper address book. I guess I’m afraid of not being able to send my cards out in the dark times that will certainly follow the evil empire’s electromagnetic pulse, or maybe I’m just too lazy to transfer everything into my iPhone which will then have me even more dependent on it than ever.
For sixteen years I’ve been doing a photo card with a picture I take of my children during a long
torture photo session, each of them wearing an adorable Santa hat, which now as teenagers, they all complain about profusely but wear anyway because they love their mother—and know she will stop feeding them if they don’t. This is my favorite part. The photos, not the torture sessions. The outtakes are hilarious. It’s a tradition we’ve bonded over. And, it’s important for my daughter.
These photo cards won’t go on forever. My kids are growing up. Someday the front of the card will probably be three Santa hats in a pile with the inside caption saying, “We’re not wearing those stupid hats!” Just…not yet. My daughter has only been with us for four years, and when there was some talk a couple of years ago of discontinuing the tradition, I told my sons, “No.” How is she going to feel ten, twenty years from now, looking back, to see herself in only two of our traditional cards?
torture tradition must continue until she’s been in enough cards to feel, to know, she’s as much a part of this family as everyone else.
Complaining about the card is as much of a tradition as anything else about it. Some people even write entire blogs complaining about it. My daughter complains too, even more vociferously than both my sons combined. But on picture day, she’s the first one down the stairs with her Santa hat on, yelling up to her brothers, “C’mon you guys. It’s Christmas card time!”