Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday cards

I love getting holiday cards. Finally some mail that’s cheerful and fun and personal!
I received a card yesterday from a close relative, one of those studio photo montages of the family in their finery. Flipped it over to read the message, and it was just blank.
I’ve been checked off a list.

I was really irritated. From cousins I’ve seen twice in my life one might expect a simple signature. But after having sent a package of cottony/wooly items of my own design and execution, plus some chocolates (they will like the chocolates, at least) off to them just last week, it’s kind of a splash of icewater to get this card. I was hoping for a letter, some news, something personal that confirms yes, we are family.
Then I remind myself that it’s not a race, no scorecard. So what if I sent them something? That’s up to me. There’s no quid pro quo going on.
What do holiday cards mean to me, anyway? That might have nothing to do with what they mean to my relatives.
In the chilly evenings of the end of the year, I like to take the time and catch up, or at least connect, with my friends and family, and writing holiday cards is a large part of that. I love to write, and all year long I tell myself I should find time to write to people (not just to the mostly invisible audience of the blog), and all year long I don’t get around to it. Card season is the warning light that I’ve really got to get down to it. Sitting in a corner of a busy pub, with a glass and a fountain pen and a stack of cards is a great way of passing an hour, repeat as necessary.
Some years I write reams. I include extra pages in with the card, which is crammed with writing top to bottom and maybe some on the back.
(yes, this really did happen)
(yes, I know it’s been a while)
(No, I won’t put it in the past tense and admit it will not happen again).
Then I got busier, or tired-er, and didn’t put anything more than would fit on the left side of the card. Now I’m down to writing some heartfelt but not terribly original greetings and wishes, in script that is a bit larger than necessary, and I’ll be happy to write to everyone if even just a little bit.
What I like about sending cards is taking the time and sending a personal message. If there’s a pre-printed message, I add one of my own, but usually the whole message is mine. This is me. I’m wishing you well.
What I like about sending cards is imagining my card being placed on a mantle among the others, so colorful and diverse, in a soul-warming bouquet of happiness and good thoughts.
There is, of course, a second motive to all this sending.
Send me cards! Fill my mantle (actually, I string a ribbon along the wall or across the room, and hang them on it). Say hello. Say you love me and hope I have a wonderful new year.


jabblog said...

I like receiving cards, too, especially those with snippets of news in them. We never see most of the people we send to but there's always a chance that we'll meet again one day. I hope your blank card was a mistake and that the senders realise and write to you. It's not nice to feel left out. Never mind, I'm sure your string will be groaning under the strain of your cards.

steven said...

i had a change of heart this year and sent cards. i haven't sent them for years. i sent them to my family to tell them how much i love them all the time. but they know that. but i sent the cards anyway. steven

Kim, USA said...

I don't know if I do the right thing I only send cards when I receive one from them ^_^ I send 2 or 3 to friends one responded me saying thank you over facebook hahahaha. The other one is silence what kind of friend is that? LOL!

Titus said...

Ooh, I could have written that post. I love sending cards; I love choosing the cards; I love getting the cards!
My similar moment was receiving one from a relative who had gone into local politics and risen one year to Lord Mayor of somewhere. She sent us her official card with a STAMP of her signature. Swift phone-call to my only cousin (at same level of relatedness-distance as myself) ascertained she had received the same, so at least we weren't alone!

redlan said...

I love receiving personal notes too even it's just a simple note piece of paper. I like sending cards as well. But this year I really have no time. Ill take time to send next year round.

Argent said...

I'm with the general consensus I think - I like sending and receiving cards and I, too, like to write a personal greeting in them. I like letter-writing too but almost never get the chance with all the emailing going on. If anybody wants an English pen-friend....

NanU said...

I figure somebody's got to start, Kim, and if I wait for theirs, maybe they're waiting for mine. So I just send cards to people I like. This year I haven't yet got around to more distant relatives and acquiantances (and I might just leave that to Facebook!), but if I can make time, I will drop a line.