Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Cards

This used to be a family ritual. Picking out a box of colored folded cardstock with pictures of snow or cute animals or angels printed on it while inside a semi-emotional message stated what your family meant to say for the holidays. Each card was signed by a family member and mailed in an envelope with a stamp. An address book was carefully kept to make sure everyone, family, friends, business associates, schoolmates, paper boy, milk man and even the trash men.
Cards that were delivered to our house were recorded in the alphabetized notebook and then placed on the mantle. Cards came from everywhere. Even the insurance man sent a card. If cards came from far away, like grand parents, a few dollar bills would be placed in them. At the end of the season all the cards were collected and placed in a cardboard box. Even though their names and address had been recorded, we kept the cards to indicate how much the other person spent.
Even after leaving college and getting married, I continued this ritual. Buy a box or two of cards, handwrite a little personal message, and deliver to the post office. Through the years cards delivered became fewer and fewer. People moved, families changed, and whole process just became lame. The leftover cards were stored away and used again the next year hoping the recipient would not notice.
Through the years, those who did only contact during the winter seasonal holiday would try to make up for lost communication with a rundown of the past year. Every little adventure that the kids were doing, all the illnesses and deaths, and if the reader was really lucky all the major purchases made in the past twelve months was mythically detailed.
Bored with assortment of cards and the terrible designs, I did as many other artist friends and started making my own cards. The cards replaced presents and with the distances of time together, there was little to associate with another.
Today, with instant messaging, all our daily activities are recorded and commented on through social media. The last pictures of our children and pets are placed online for all to enjoy. Even those nights when we went a bit over the politically correct, someone with a cell phone camera will post our bad manners. Thank goodness that was available years ago.
The Christmas card of today is an email blast to everyone on the mailing list with some sort of animated gif file and a cute message. It is certainly cheaper and less time consuming than personally writing on a printed piece of paper. Just like writing a letter, no one has time for that nonsense these days.
So if I was going to take the time to sit down and write a Christmas card message to everyone I know, what would I say? Probably something like this:
“May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young”

Thanks Bob.

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