You’ve Got Mail

It’s only December 2nd but we’ve already received our first Christmas card:  friends Jim and Debra dressed for the tundra in photos with some polar bears.

That’s right.  I said polar bears.

I’m big on Christmas cards.  Yes.  I’m one of those people.  I like receiving them and I like sending them out.  I like figuring out what kind of card I’m going to send, which picture(s) I’m going to use, whether I’m going with red or green or blue, snowflakes or gingerbread houses, etc…. I remember the year we made my teenage son wear a santa hat (poor kid); the year JoJo was a puppy; the year an old friend saw our first family photo on a card and said, “I can’t believe you’re somebody’s mother!”; the year my mother said, “Why in the world did you use black and white?”

Now that most folks send photo-cards, opening the mail everyday in December might be one of the things I look forward to the most:  maybe I haven’t seen you all year long and, voila, there you are.  You and your kids and your cats and dogs … your life, so far away, come to call.  When I tear open an envelope and find a card with no photo I am visibly disappointed, and maybe I’ve even been known to say something out loud like, “But where’s the picture?!” or “What’s the point?” or  “Well, shit.”

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I talked to a friend today, and she reminded me of this card that I sent out exactly 10 years ago.  That’s our Scout, affectionately known as Bubba.  Bubba’s card goes down in family lore as one of our favorites — isn’t she a beauty? — and who could have known that our young girl would be gone (cancer) before the next year’s Christmas rolled around.

I did a simple card this year.  Green.  Lots of small photos.  Snowflakes.  Not a polar bear in sight.  But they’re addressed  and stuffed and stamped and ready to drop at the post office.

Do you bother with Christmas cards?

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22 thoughts on “You’ve Got Mail

  1. Catherine

    You’re so good. I live far from home (Australia) and I should send cards. But I don’t! I used to do wonderful collages when my kids were small – crazy jigsaws of our life in Africa – but now my kids are all but gone and I’m grumpy about my car situation and so wrapped up in work (in a good way – a reading in Soho next week!). I’ll do a fabulous tree though, and possibly a champagne bash for my birthday up ahead (Averil don’t we share then same day?).

    1. Teri Post author

      Getting xmas cards in the mail this month helps me survive the ridiculous waste of retail catalogues. I think I threw out 7 pounds of magazines yesterday. Ugh.

  2. Averil Dean

    I LOVE getting Christmas cards for all the reasons you’ve named, so I’m ashamed to say that I never send them. I’m actually really awful at keeping in touch with people and this is part of that.

    (Catherine, I think so—December 27?)

    1. Teri Post author

      I love to see the photos of kids and pets. And there’s always a surprising card or two, with new babies or pups. 🙂

  3. joplingirl

    Christmas cards are yet another social nicety I was never privy too growing up. Never developed the habit though I love receiving them.

    1. Teri Post author

      My mother rarely sent xmas cards out when I was a kid. Who had $10 for a box of xmas cards??? And I still don’t understand the point of buying a box of cards (with no photos!) and just signing your name and sending them out.

      You can see I’m all about the pictures. And I also think it has something to do with opening real live mail from real live people. I swear if I’d lived in Victorian times I’d have been an obsessive letter writer.

  4. Suzy Vitello

    Funny you should mention that, Teri! I just sent a whopping batch of them, but, alas, I noticed as I was cramming them into the mailbox that the ink is all smeary-smear on the deskjet labels I thought I was so smart in printing out. One is supposedly on its way to you. Do let me know if it arrives because I have this dread thought that they will all be illegible by the time they make their way through the post office’s automated system and they’ll end up in that big black hole where I assume all the letters to Santa go.

    So glad to know the origin on your email address, Teri! That Scout-Bubba is adorable!

    1. Teri Post author

      I just looked at the last pictures of Ruby — she must be gaining a pound a day. Yowza.

      I’ve never written a letter to Santa. I wonder if it’s too late to start.

  5. MSB

    I’m like Averil. I look forward to receiving them but I’m pitiful about sending them. blizzards of laughter. Love that.

  6. Josey

    Somehow, I completely missed this post…although, I’m sure it was a unconscious avoidance over my own “i swear i’m going to send them next year” plea with myself to one day do christmas cards. i love getting them and post them in the shape of a christmas tree on our pantry door, but have yet to take part in the tradition.

  7. Annie Heath

    Joyeux Noel Teri and Rex!! Okay, now I can honestly say that I sent a Christmas card . . . this year. I have saved every single Christmas card, Christmas picture, Christmas letter I have received in the last 16 years (since Tim and I have been together). I cherish them, especially the letters and pictures. Someday I am going to figure out something artsy to do with all of them. Like you Teri, I am disappointed when I don’t get pictures, but would I send a picture of us? Never!! I also like some kind of note, but when I don’t get a personal note, it is a reminder to me that I need to do better at keeping in touch. Next year . . .
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Rex, les enfants, et les chiens!

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