Friday, December 17, 2010

The Tradition of Christmas Cards

When I was growing up my Dad always did all the Christmas cards. I realize how unusual that was now and appreciate him for it. He wrote in each card, news of the family, extending our Christmas Greeting from our family to theirs. My dad also always decorated the Christmas tree. I think that was pretty unique also. My mom wasn't just sitting around watching TV and eating bonbons, she did her share too with the baking and cooking and shopping, etc. They just kind of divided it all up. Even in those days Christmas was a lot of work.

For as long as my parents were alive I loved reading their Christmas cards from old friends. This continued for me, long after I left home. I especially loved reading the ones with news of their family and what had happened in their lives that year. A lot of those old friends have passed on now, but I still remember reading their Christmas greetings with such fondness. Some people would hang theirs up on a door or a window like little badges of sweet friendships. We always had a basket near the door that collected the new ones each day during the season.

In those days some people did send family pictures and that was a really special treat. Some friends of my parents from Minnesota always had the postcard Christmas photo greeting, so popular today. I remember thinking then, "Wow, they must be so rich!" I can still envision the little black and white photo of their family standing by their piano each year. (A piano, a sure sign they were mighty rich!)

Years later when we got married, I tried to get Jim to send them out, didn't all husbands? I think he gladly would have, but somehow since he was in school, that fell into my lap almost from the get go. I would send out a bunch and try to hand write a note in each one. It seemed to take forever, but I remember never liking to get cards with just a signature because it always left you wishing they had given you more information about their lives. Instinctively, I found myself looking on the back of the card hoping for more....rarely finding it.

Then came the childbearing years and the hit and miss cards. Some years I would do them, sometimes guiltily, with only a signature. Then when things got really hectic and I was working...nothing at all. When people first started doing the typed letters I was elated. Now I could enclose something of substance and a signature.

I have this one friend, Linda Breedlove, who is from the south and a wonderful lady. She lived here for some years and then they returned to her home state, Mississippi. She was still writing personalized handwritten letters, 3 and 4 pages, on real stationary and inserting them into her cards! I felt so in awe of her and how she did it all, she had as many kids as I did. I just knew I couldn't do that anymore. {We are still good friends on Facebook some 30 years later...I think I'll have to ask her about that!}

I wanted to do an annual letter. I remember there was this man in our ward named Brother Libby and I once took my painstakingly, perfectly-typed, one page, single spaced letter and some red paper and he printed it for me in an old van he had set up in his driveway with a copier in it. This was so heavenly. 100 copies just like that, in about an hour. I stood and watched every one of them come s l o w l y out of that newfangled machine. And it was a cold, stormy night, but I was on a mission to streamline our cards and letters.

Next came that very impersonal era of printed signature cards. Those were my least favorite of all. What a disappointment to open a pretty card and see an embossed name and nothing more. A handwritten signature was better, by far. I am glad most people have discontinued that practice and left them for the business community.

Until the last three years I was pretty hit and miss on the cards. Mostly I did it though and with an annual letter included. But three years ago I had an idea to make an electronic Christmas Card on Blogger. I thought it would a fun project and one worth trying.

It seemed like so many of our family and friends were still wanting news of our grown kids. And heaven only knows the kids have a lot on their own plates and lots of friends of their own to worry about. So I now have this fun e-card with news of all of them. I am our self-appointed family historian. It works for me, there is nothing I love writing about more than our kids and grandkids and the things we find to be most important, as a family.

The Christmas E-Card is divided into posts about each family etc., so people that only know one of them can just read that or whatever they like. They are easily identified in the archives for 2010 on the sidebar. I then expanded it to add some music and some videos and some thoughts on Christmas and it has become very fun to do. I have added some of our Christmas Treasures and also a favorite recipe this year.

It is not easier that sending regular cards, in fact it takes a lot of time and endless editing while I am working on it. But once it is finished, I love it. There will be people that open it and say essentially..."Who cares about all of this?" But for me it is something special for our family, if no one else. I like to feature each of our kids and grandkids so they will know how important they are to us. You know how big and little people love reading about themselves. So I will continue on. It is a piece of our family history that I want to share with our extended family and friends, while testifying of the truthfulness of Jesus Christ and his birth and purpose. It is my way of sharing that we believe. It is our way of sharing our love for those who do care.

When I went to get a name for this blog I was shocked to see that A Very Merry Christmas was actually available on Blogger. What, are you kidding me? I snagged it immediately and you can find news of our clan at:

This is the front of our Christmas Card this year.
Look inside!

To me if feels like progress, I hope y0u like it if you are so inclined to stop over. There is also a button for the Christmas e-Card on the top of my sidebar. If you know of anyone else who does one of these I'd be so interested to hear about it. What are your memories and traditions surrounding Christmas Greetings. Do you find them an important part of your Christmas?


Sister Susie said...

I always remember mom sending out her Christmas cards. It wasn't until I started sending out my own, that I realized I had many friends and extended family I only communicated with at this time of the year. It's so good to hear from them that it is like an extra gift under the tree.
Merry Christmas to you!

Deanna said...

I'm sitting here with four new boxes of Christmas cards. I really need to get busy! I will devote tomorrow to writing them out. I just really loathe writing handwriting has just really deteriorated through the years.

Marshall made me laugh yesterday. We got our Christmas card from my parents and when he opened it, it read:
Merry Christmas from,
Joe and Rosa

He was all hurt that it was so impersonal, as if mom and dad were sending it to an acquaintance they had just met. I couldn't stop laughing! I had to tell them that mom is very busy and didn't have time to write a novel inside our card. He didn't buy that...hahaha!

Deanna :d

laura.elizabeth said...

Christmas cards are an important part of our Christmas Tradition. I wish I had time to write a personal note in each one but even when i don't I have to tell you I think about each and every person on my Christmas Card mailing list. And thinking of them brings so much joy. For me, Christmas Cards are first and foremost about saying "I still love you and think of you and thank you for your influence in my life" I include a picture because I think it is fun and a letter because I think it is important. But mostly Christmas Cards are about showing my love.

By the way... I remember getting those Christmas Newsletters copied by Brother Libby. Of course, I didn't think of it until you mentioned it but WOW, times have really changed!

And I love your Christmas Card blog. I think it is an awesome idea. And I love that you are the family historian- you make us all look good!