Christmas Card Memories
Growing up my grandmother treated Christmas cards like they were presents. She would use Scotch tape and hang them around the door casing between the living room and her kitchen. She would make a big to do over it with every card that came. And Christmas cards would start arriving before she thawed out the Thanksgiving turkey.
It was a daily ritual. The mail ran promptly between 10:45 and 11:00 a.m. She would be watching. When she saw the mail car stop, she would take off down the driveway to the mailbox. She would come back inside holding the envelopes close. Anybody within earshot had to listen to the wording of each card. She loved it when old friends and distant kin would go so far as to write a letter catching her up on their latest and greatest of their life happenings. She would read that out loud too, in its entirety.
Everybody would also have to admire the front of card. She would pass it around hand to hand, and no matter what it looked like, she would always say, “Now that is a beautiful Christmas card. I’m going to have to hang it.” Sometimes she would turn it around and ask it as question, “Is that not a beautiful card? Shouldn’t I hang it?”
She expected everybody to be as excited as she was and would ignore anybody who wasn’t. Not in a mean way, she would just pretend everybody was as enthusiastic as she was whether they actually were or not.
Sometimes she would draft one of her growing grandsons to help her hang the higher ones. She would add one card after another all along the perimeter of the doorway. By Christmas, the cards would have traveled across the top and down the other side creating an archway of sorts.
I think back to her now, anytime I receive a Christmas Cards by Charity Greeting Cards. I make a big to do over it. I read it aloud to the kids who do not know how much they will one day appreciate the way I tape all of the cards to the door frame between the living room and the kitchen.
Some people fear technology will soon replace the tradition of sending Christmas cards. I do not. There is no way to tape an email or a Facebook post. Besides, Christmas cards are like presents. They have the gift of memories hidden within their glitter and verse, reminders of voices and loved ones who have disappeared from our lives.