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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Card Day

Yesterday, was whip up various shades of chocolate in bulk day for use in the studio tomorrow when I return to work on Mice. TODAY IS CHRISTMAS CARD DAY.

I imagine most Jews are having their Hanukkah parties today, but my family scheduled ours for the eighteenth--closer to Christmas, Kwanzaa and my son's birthday, which unfortunately was not on the twenty fifth even though I thought that would be really cool at the time. Not being invited to anybody else's Hanukkah party, it's a good day to do Christmas cards.

I don't buy fancy ones way ahead of time and have our signatures embossed. I buy right off the rack at Hallmark, write a personal note to everyone on my list in Word, copy what I wrote in each card, address the envelopes, then give them all to Honey for return address labels, stamps and mailing. I could write them out with calligraphy, but I like to keep them unpretentious. My cards have to look like I touched each one and thought of each family personally. That's what the season means to me. Peronal touch. --but not so personal as to go to the trouble of painting my own cards like a lot of artists with more cheerier dispositions do.

The closest I ever came to making a totally personal card was when I made a photographic card. I'd always liked those pictures of the family dressed in matching holiday sweaters standing in front of the fireplace all looking loving and like they're having a fun and didn't have to get up extra early to dress before the photographer arrived. I thought I'd give mine a different twist though. I selected a photograph of Honey and me on a beach in Cancun. Sand is so much more Christmassy than snow. It wasn't snowing when Mary gave birth, they were in sand storm country. In the cresch, the wise men wee wearing sandals, not boots. But I never sent the card out. I had second thoughts. It wasn't friendly enough. Folks, not realizing that sand was more appropriate for the season than snow, might have thought I was going "HA, Ha, Ha. Look where I am this holiday." Not a good image to set forth when sending good cheer.

The best photographic holiday card I got was from my December birthday boy and his gorgeous family, (said the extremely prejudiced Nana). That was a few years ago, 2002. I held on to it. They looked like they were having such fun I wanted to jump on top.

I keep all the holiday and special occasion cards I get. I have two large boxes full. Every now and then I like to read the notes on them--funny, loving, whatever. My mom in-law saved hers too. When she passed away, I found every one of the cards her kids had ever sent hidden under napkins in a server drawer in the dining room. They were neatly bundled and tied with ribbon. I read every one of them. I was extremely relieved. I had actually written some very lovely things to the matriarch who wasn't that fond of me for the first fifteen years of my marriage to her adored son. And I was extremely touched too. The saving of them and the way they were saved showed how much she really did love us all. I want my kids to know that too when they're going through my stuff. And hopefully by then, I'll have bought some ribbon and gotten rid of the tattered shoe box.


  1. That is a cool card your son came up with... I use to do the same w/my three kids... tho they hated posing and me being anal about having everyone smiling or looking at the camera drove me nuts or someone close to tears ( no not me) last 9 years I slowly stopped sending cards.. Most of my friends would exchange if they received one and I was the same... I've kept every card and bundled them w/a date on them and they are somewhere in the garage... in a Xmas box w/ornaments... The cards that made me throw up were the newsletter ones, u know the ones where every child has been a saint and the wife is slaving away making nice nice.... Makes me wonder how the one who sends out those newsletters really thinks we all want to know the details of what their kids have done.. some things are best kept secret..Yep, if their kids could read what was sent out they'd be embarrassed.
    This year, no cards will be sent- for reasons u know, I am still in that funk...

  2. I hate those cards too. The ones I've gotten tell you every detail of the family's life over the year. Totally boring.

    I'll probably give it up sooner or later, but for now I like saying 'hello I've been thinking about you and hope everything is well' to friends, family, clients I connected with, people I've liked for one reason or another. People like to know other people are thinking of them. Makes them feel good. Makes me feel good.

  3. Dear Linda,
    Very touchy post and photos. Thank you. Especially, your MIL story moves me. I assume you could have a long difficult time, but discovered MIL’s hidden love for you… Now, you, too, are thinking of life, an end of life and care/love for beloved ones like a prayer.
    I like your pondering over Mary’s real situation, too. True. In spite of all agonies: desperation, disappointment, fear and hopelessness, she gave the birth, relying on faith and the husband’s love—that moves me.

    So far, I do not come across negative Jewish background people to accept Christmas cards. My best friend at high school was a Jewish American who loved drawings and Paul Simon--(yes, me, too at that time). We had a long chat over so many things...Especially, religious matters were our topics. I asked her if I could send her a Christmas card or not. At uni, my most influential lecturer was a second generation of Holocaust survivors who discovered my talents and encouraged me to be an artist. Today, one of dear friend-linguists is the expert of Hebrew. I asked him the same question. “Of course, you can!!” he said merrily.

    Exchanging cards is wonderful in our short lives on the earth. At seasons, we know updates. Nowadays, emails seem to take over mails. But we say, “Keep in ‘touch’”. If so, I’d like to send my hand-written cards by mail, like you do and said, with a “personal touch” that is the most precious.
    Pardon my lengthy writing and thank you for reading in your precious time.

    Kind regards, Sadami

  4. Sadami. Thank you for your long comment. I like sharing experiences. It's the best part of blogging.
    A friend of mine was a bit astonished that my MIL wasn't too fond of me for about the first 15 years of my marriage to her most adored son. I think I should have explained that she was going through her own hardships at the time and being a woman alone with two younger sons to raise, needed her eldest's support. She didn't have time to know me. I was not offended. Family supports family. I knew she knew her son was loved and happy and I knew she needed him. I was glad to share. I also knew that she and I were very much a like, kindred spirits.