Remember the days of snail mail? Like I’ve said before I love getting a letter in the mail, unless of course if it’s from the phone company or the utility company, sheesh and even those are rare nowadays. Pues, certainly at Christmas time business picks up for the post offices everywhere, verdad? Have you mailed your Christmas cards yet? Maybe you pressed the send button and got them out to all your fans? Esperate! Maybe you’re like me, and you’re waiting for your order to come in because you decided to jump on the “photo card” Christmas train. Dare I ask if you’ve even taken that special foto yet? Hijole, it can turn into a race against the Christmas countdown verdad?
The Christmas Card tradition began for me after I got married. I think that embedded into the matrimony duties is duty #1000 “work on sending out a nice Christmas card each year.” I shopped carefully. The card had to be nice and sweet, but not mushy. Most important was getting a great deal with my budget. Es que, in those early years, when we exited military life, regular paychecks came to an end, and my flaco went from a sailor to a painter’s helper. Our pocket book was quite tight. Christmas wasn’t minimalized but our pocketbook was stretched for sure in the merriest season of the year. The nice card was personalized with an update on our year. Some of the Greene’s modestly send a “brag letter” where nice pictures with updates on all the childrens shine is displayed. I took my time filling our loved ones in on our happenings through our year, que social media ni que nada! Words can paint a good picture, hijole! My hands hurt after all that writing. The envelopes were sealed, stamped and sent, que facil verdad? Then came the era of photo cards, y ahora, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Mis amigas have shared some of their similar experiences with photo cards and although it’s a battle, it must be worth it, because we do it year after year.
How to survive the Christmas Card sleigh ride:
- What will we wear? Colores navidenos? Would that be red, green and white? Or silver and blue? Gold and silver? Maybe it should be formal colors? Black and white? Will it be casual or dressed up? Must we all match? The Greenes, we never match and our “dressed up” is our Sunday best, no glitter or bling.
- Who’s gonna be in the picture? Immediate family? When is it no longer immediate? Maybe just the abuelos and the grandkids? Que bonito verdad? Ben & Rosie and our growing beautiful brood. When that is settled, let’s set a date to take a picture. LOL right? The last few years have been just Ben, me and two youngest representing the bigger picture.
- If you get to take a family picture, wonderful! For us, the pictures I use are the planned and unplanned ones. Like when we’re at an event and we look like we’ve combed our hair, usually mi hijo Emery will say, let’s take a pic and use it for Christmas. After several Emery approved shots, where he is positioned correctly and looking smooth we save them for the end of the year. Creeme, it saves me a lot of trouble. Pero, if and when you gather the kids for a pic, then you will face the next hurdle. Keep the kids clean and make the kids smile. Denise, my nuera says that Rachel tends to always be moody, emotional, and they always get several pics with Rachel’s frown. This year, con mi nieto Jeremiah, he’s two and can be terrible, I have implemented a strong voice and said “Jeremiah! You need to give me a happy face right now”. And it works! He does it, his frown turns into a smile. That is a 2021 milestone.
- Y ahora, if you survived the picture, you need to order your Christmas card, if you’ve been diligent you won’t be in my place, waiting 6 days for my order to come in, hijole!
- I’m almost at this final step, and honestly it’s about my usual timing. Oh the fun of stuffing, licking and sealing the envelopes. Is a return address really that important at this point? My fingers get stiff from writing. Acuerdense, I’m an abuela now, even writing can be slower!
I have my highlight cards, like the year before our family grew, with inlaw children and grandchildren. It was hard for me to release my adult children to their future spouses. Change is always incredibly difficult for me, I am learning that in God’s hands changes and seasons are laced with grace, growth and love. We took a silly pic under our tree that year. Then, there was the Christmas card that declared our new status: ‘los abuelos’. Y mas reciente, are our Christmas cards that included my apa. I’m so very thankful for all those years.
I love receiving all the beautiful Christmas cards and filling my christmas board with them. I do have a small album of Christmas cards of the years gone by. It is pretty amazing to see cards with my friends and their kids, chiquititos and then fast forward and have cards from those same kids all grown up. Yikes! Como pasan los años. Christmas cards are a wonderful treasure to have.
It’s not too late, 14 days til Christmas. Send a Christmas card with beautiful tidings or a Christmas photo with happy faces, like Jeremiah gives on demand and have a wonderful Christmas time.