Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 4: Christmas Cards

This post is number 4 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 21st day of Christmas,
my true friends sent to me
Christmas Cards from their family.

1) Did your family send them?

My parents sent Christmas cards to family and friends all of their lives. My mother made them for many years (I know I have several in my boxes of stuff...somewhere) - usually a fairly simple madonna or angel theme with a "Merry Christmas" and "from the Seaver family" or something similar. I remember a single color (red or green) stencil on card stock folded into a card, with writing on the inside.

2) Did your family display the ones they received?

In my childhood home, I don't remember having a mantle or shelf space that had displayed cards. I'm sure that my mother displayed them somewhere - perhaps on a bulletin board in the entry way. I'll have to ask my brothers. I wish I could remember more about this time of my life.

We received cards from my father's mother and siblings in New England which often had family letters in them. These were prized because this family never made long distance phone calls and rarely wrote letters, so this was our only contact each year with the family 2,500 miles away.

3) Do you still send Christmas cards?

Oh yes! That's what the post-Thanksgiving hecticity (is that a word?) is all about. "We have to get this done so we can do this and this next ..." Angel Linda is a taskmaster. This solemn process includes:

* finding the boxes of cards bought during the year at thrift shops or 99 cent stores. Or going out and buying more. We only get angel cards, naturally.

* Randy prints off the Christmas card address list and Linda updates it. The list is then printed on peel-off labels.

* Linda affixes the labels on envelopes, puts the return address labels (hopefully, Christmas motif) on the envelopes, and puts stamps on the envelopes.

* Randy writes the two-page Christmas letter (more on this in a later post), Linda edits it, and Randy creates 120 copies of it (this takes about four days to finish).

* Linda writes messages on the cards, since Randy thinks that the Christmas letter covers everything that could be said. Linda's handwriting is much better, too! Randy and Linda stuff the letters in the envelopes and seal the envelopes.

* We typically send these out in early December - soon!

This process takes about ten days from start to finish, but it's now a tradition and we have a proven process for it. I also send the Christmas letter to email correspondents, but I don't want to post it online because it has some personal details not appropriate for the world to see. If you want one, please send me an email address (if I don't already have one - at

Originally published on 4 December 2007.

1 comment:

Eileen said...

My family always sent cards. Every year, I remember the card preparation process. First there were special types of cards. The immediate family got cards that said “To Dad” or To Sister,” etc. Relatives received religious cards and friends could receive either religious or secular cards depending upon Mom’s decision. Since my sister and I both attended Catholic school, we sold Christmas cards and wrapping paper to help support the school. Of course, Mom purchased all her card and wrapping needs from us.

Cards were received from everyone. Rarely did we send a card and not receive one in exchange. Received cards were displayed hung on these little red and green clothes lines draped across the inside of the front door. Cards were attached to the lines by little red and green clothes pins. This was a great system and I’ve looked and looked but can’t find it today.

We have always sent cards to friends, family and co-workers. We haven't received as many for the last twenty years as we used to. Even one of my sisters does not send cards at all. I think this is a real shame because it is a delight to receive cards and a joy to send them.

For the last several years I have begun enclosing a family letter in the cards sent to the family. I usually highlight one major event, sometimes with photos. This year it will be the birth of my great-granddaughter.