60 Years Ago . . .
When I was a young girl—maybe around 10 or 11—I had my first money-making “job.” I sold personalized Christmas cards to neighbors. I walked around to neighbors (it was the early 1960s and much safer) with a large catalogue and took orders from potential customers. The cards were very traditional, and the more expensive ones were embossed with gold or silver. I wrote down their personalization information and ordered their cards. When I received them, I walked back around the neighborhood delivering my orders. I used the money I made to buy Christmas gifts for my family.
So, it’s no surprise that as an adult one of my favorite traditions at Christmas is sending and receiving cards. Having been married for fifty years, our list has grown to 125, mostly out of town friends and relatives. So where have our cards come from this year?
This year we have received cards from 19 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. We have relatives in 9 of those states—mostly my husbands, as my kin have stayed in Mississippi for generations—and it was great to hear from them, as well as from Godchildren and friends.
Art and Poetry
I always love to receive cards that contain original artwork and poetry or prose. (And yes, I love Christmas newsletters and read them all—twice! First I read them fairly quickly as they arrive. And then I read them at a more leisurely pace as I take them down from our display (see photo with twinkling lights). I try to take time to remember each of them in prayer. This year we received one with adult artwork, by my Memphis friend Nancy Mardis (see the bottle tree pen and ink and watercolor sketch).
Three contain art by children: Sarah and Joel Finley’s girls Emmelia (7) and Anna (3 ½), Josh and Anne Marie McCollum’s son Isaac (7) and Erin and Christian Moulton’s son Basil (8). And the Moulton’s card also contains a wonderful poem by Nicholas (10).
We sent out a card with a Coptic (my favorite style) icon of the Nativity on front. This year we only received two other icon cards, which seems to be a departure from previous years, since we have many Orthodox friends who embrace icons.
It may be that the isolation caused by the pandemic brought about a greater longing for community—which resulted in 31 family photo cards—and for memories of Christmas past—resulting in 20 traditional cards.
Every year around Theophany (today, January 6) I put up as many photo cards of friends and family and Godchildren as I can fit on the bulletin board in our kitchen. That way I can enjoy them for a year.
It was fun to take down last year’s photo cards and put up the new ones today . . . looking at how everyone’s children had grown and many family activities—especially travel to outdoor places—had increased. They seem to reflect another aspect of 2020, perhaps a silver lining in a difficult time.
I’ll close with the photo cards we received from our four granddaughters and their parents—Grace (11), Anna (10), Jason, and See Cushman (in Cave Creek, Arizona) and Gabby (8), Izzy (5), Beth and Kevin Davis (in Thornton, Colorado). We keep these on the front of our fridge to enjoy every day, where their presence brings us much joy.
If you’re interested, you can read my post from 2014, our first Christmas in our current home, here. So, with the Nativity Season officially over today, I wish everyone a Blessed Feast of Theophany/Epiphany, and a New Year full of hope and healing.