Skip to main content

Late! Late! For that important annual date!

Christmas 2005, Photo taken in Madrid, Spain

I've made my own Christmas cards since childhood. In those "olden" days, I would color and address each card by hand, and ask my father for postage. As an adult, there were many holiday seasons when sending cards, much less making them, was beyond my means, thanks to the usual stresses of self-employment and single parenthood; my family's multiple December birthdays; illness--mine or a family member's; and a few years where my budget was so tight that it couldn't even include Christmas card postage. This year was going to be just right. I made my cards in October--October, folks! They were printed by mid-November. And then the illness card got played, taking me back to another childhood memory--strep infections.

Christmas 2005, Photo taken in Assisi, Italy

Once again, I am mailing Christmas cards that won't arrive before Christmas.  Last year, I was smart: my card didn't have the word Christmas in it, so I wouldn't appear late with my mailing. Ah, deadline fever. What an irritating disease. I comfort myself with knowing that many people consider December 25th the first day of Christmas, not the last; that many others have their grand celebration on Reyes / Three Kings' Day on January 6th; and that I've never had anyone send a card back to me because it arrived a few days after Christmas. We talk about Christmas "spirit" lasting all year long. I'm simply testing the market with my cards, seeing if my recipients really are maintaining that extended spirit. (How's that for rationalization?)

Christmas 2008. Ephemera from Spain sent to me by Elizabeth Disney.





This year's card will include a photographic treatment of one of the most beautiful poinsettias I've ever been given, from an equally beautiful woman named Linda. Linda was a good friend to my mother, and after my mother died, she became a good friend to me and a treasured link to my mom. She didn't have to do this. Most of my mother's friends didn't stay in touch with "us kids."  But Linda did. For nine years without fail, Linda has brought me a poinsettia for Christmas. I have come to count on those soft, beautiful, white, pink or red leaves as part of my holiday time.  And who knows, perhaps someone out there counts on receiving my card each year?  Maybe I can do for someone what Linda has done for me, at least in a small way.

Sketch, Christmas 1987

Every year I receive fewer cards, even as I send out more. I receive more E-greetings and E-cards. Some of them are truly delightful, and I'm certainly glad to get them!  But for me, not even the most delightful E-card equals the quiet, almost intimate, moment of opening an envelope to discover this year's Christmas surprise from a friend, family member or colleague within. I click on things all day long at the computer. It is such a delight to be able to hold something real rather than virtual in my hand that reminds me of some aspect of this time of year. Thus, I cling to my childhood tradition, hoping that those who receive my cards, late or otherwise, will enjoy a few special and quiet moments, feel a bit of joy, comfort, or thoughtfulness.

Poinsettia, detail. 2009

So, if you're short on receiving handheld, real-paper Christmas cards, and you'd like another, you can always drop me an e-note, and I'll be happy to send you one of mine.  As long as you don't mind not getting a card by a certain, famous deadline! In the meantime, I wish you and yours a blessed and joyous holiday season.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Whose day?

Years ago, I made some collages using pages from a desk calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image that leads this post is one. Inside the hearts and flowers is a picture from the MMA collection of  a Japanese screen made in the 16th century. It is titled Tagasode, which means Whose sleeves?  The title comes from a 10th-century poem:


The fragrance seems even more alluring than the hue, Whose sleeves have brushed past? Or would it be this plum tree blossoming here at home?
Iro yori mo ka koso awaredo omohoyure tagasode fureshi ado no ume zo mo
The word haunts: tagasode. Whose sleeves? The question floats in my mind like a cloud on a still day. The sleeves materialize in my mind's eye. I hear them move through hushed air. I can imagine, though not name, the scent of the person to whom those sleeves belong. It's not unlike smelling the scent of your infant's clothes, or holding the perfume bottle that belonged to your mother...you don't need to open it... you know tha…

Glad to Hear It

This past week, Larry Wilmore and company mentioned Rachel Dolezol again on The Nightly Show. I don't remember who made the comment, but either Wilmore or one of the panelists said, "Did Rachel Dolezol do anything bad? No, she really didn't. Why did we get so uptight about that?" I was glad to hear it. Three cheers for being human.

I looked briefly at what's on Google currently about her and the now much-discussed Shaun White. I intend not to enter any of that fray mentally or verbally. I still maintain that humanity trumps color. We have a long way to go until we can leave our "paint by numbers" mentality behind, but we've made progress. Good changes can come, even in the midst of chaos and controversy. Maybe White and Dolezal will help us see that eventually.

As long as I'm here and continuing on the subject of color, I think I'm not alone in the fact that I don't like being called "white." As for my background, it includes …