Each year as I un-trim? de-trim? (take the ornaments and lights off) our Christmas tree and un-deck the halls, I pause to reread the Christmas cards we received during the holiday season. I pack them, along with the rest of the fa-la-la, content with the knowledge I’ll revisit them in another 11-1/2 months or so.
Sunday was the day I re-reread 2020’s cards. I just love receiving Christmas cards. Love the cards, the photos, the messages of the year’s glad tidings, the tradition, all of it.
The saying goes, ‘tis better to give than receive, and I wish I still loved sending them myself. I want to send cards again, or I suppose it’s more accurate to say that I want to want to send cards again. I want to love it like I did when the kids were small and every year previous, when I’d comb through the Hallmark stores to find the card with just the right amount of sass. When my kids were little, I reveled in sending out the cutest photo of the boys together featured on cutest card layout with the cutest template background Snapfish offered that season. Somewhere along the way though, I lost my enthusiasm. It had nothing to do with COVID even. For some reason, I’m feeling a full-on case of Scroogeism and skipping out again this year. When I was a good little blogger, writing with purpose and consistency, I think these pages took over my need to update via snail mail, but I’m not even a good little blogger anymore. It would seem that I need to come up with a more believable excuse.
Revisiting 2020’s COVID-infused Christmas messages though took me back. At this time last year we were fighting our way through the should-we-or-shouldn’t-we get together? for the holidays. Ultimately, 2020’s Christmas celebration was contained to the four of us in residence, zoning out on the ‘80s cinematic classics Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. Such tradition! Already, a world before the vaccine seems like a history lesson, but only a very short time ago, we were canceling family traditions that had held for decades and lifetimes. Everything last year felt conditional and uncertain, and the sentiments expressed in the cards and letters we received reflected that unease, that tying to slap a happy face onto our collective isolation.
If you’re a card sender, please, please, please continue the tradition. To this day, the first thing I do upon my return home after my work day is check the mail. I love getting mail! In addition to the Christmas cards I so enjoy, this year I find myself sprinting to the mailbox to see if my son has received the college acceptance letter he’s so eagerly awaiting. Will the letter carrier deliver the big, non-folded letter kind of envelope with the big news he wants or the tri-fold business envelope with less welcome news? Time will tell.
I’m pleased to announce that even if he doesn’t gain entry into his dream school, so far he’s got three excellent Plans B, C, and D–three acceptances so far, and I happily anticipate his future scholarly endeavors. If you’d told me early in his diagnosis that I’d be writing about college acceptance one day, I’d not have believed you, so fantastical a notion that was. If you’d told me that my son one day would text me asking if muscular dystrophy precluded him from donating blood, I’d not have believed you, but that’s also on his agenda this week, and no, he doesn’t even need my permission anymore (though I do wish he’d make real good friends with this thing called an internet search engine. . . ). He’s accomplished so much more than I’d believed possible then, like reaching the age of majority for starters. My boy is an adult.
Maybe that’s what I write in the Christmas cards I’m (not) sending this year—that even amid the unbelievable circumstances in which we find ourselves these days, there is still something to believe in—a bright future when you see and feel dystopian, hope when you feel hopeless.