ghosts of christmas cards past

This morning I slept much later than usual. So waking up was a slow, slow process from a deep, deep sleep.

As I waited for my French Press coffee to be ready I sat there on the sofa looking at our Christmas tree which sits in front of our bookcases. My eyes caught the glimpse of what looked like forgotten mail on top of books on a lower bookshelf. I got up and walked over to pull the pile out. (I have a habit of stashing mail if it’s lying around and people come over. It looks messy to me to have mail lying around.)

It wasn’t old mail, per se, that I pulled out of the bookshelf. What I pulled out was an old pile of Christmas cards tied up with a Christmas ribbon.

Ah yes, another habit of mine. I hang onto Christmas cards. People put so much effort into their cards. They are pretty, personal, and festive. The photo cards are people’s families caught in a moment in time. Sometimes it’s fun to see how everyone has grown, so I untied the ribbon to look at them once more.

These were the Christmas 2016 Christmas cards received. The first card which caught my eye, was one where the envelope had spidery Catholic school taught cursive of years gone by. It was the last Christmas card I ever received from my Godmother who passed away last Christmas Day.

That card had me in an emotional puddle immediately. Was it really a year almost already? She was one of my mother’s oldest friends. She is missed.

Next up was a Christmas card that was literally an annual production. Family friends whose cards often showed up closer to the New Year. When we were growing up, the cards were of the family in various landmark locations throughout the Philadelphia area. They are among my favorite cards because they were always among my favorite people

As the kids in the family, (who are essentially the age of my sister and I) grew up and started families of their own, the cards changed. The Christmas cards became a story of what everyone was doing via photos. Soon their children were also in the photos. I have saved a lot of their cards here and there over the years, they are among my favorites.

Another card which was in the pile was from a local woman I was friendly with for my first few years of living here. That was a card that sort of hit me with irony today because she was a woman who tossed me out of her community Facebook group over my opinions on development in Chester County. At the time she also sent me a note which sort of contained a play on words of my middle name that I didn’t bring her joy any longer. This person wasn’t terribly important to me in the grand scheme of life, and of course I wish her well in her life, but real friends don’t do things like that to one and other. Today I threw out her old Christmas card. There is no point in keeping it.

Another card is from a friend of mine who is an artist. I love her cards and they are a fun different card every year, created and illustrated by her.

My other favorite Christmas “card” is of course from our family friend Margery Niblock. But her cards are not cards they are woodcuts, and they hang on my wall. They never end up in a pile of Christmas cards wrapped in a ribbon. I wish I could show you this year’s woodcut but I’m not sure everyone has received theirs yet that she sends them to.

The rest of the cards are a kaleidoscope of images from friends and family. Kids, dogs, Christmas trees. With the photos of everyone’s kids, it’s like a journal of how they have grown up from year to year. I find those cards fun and very sweet to look back upon.

I do love all my Christmas cards that I receive, and next year I’m going to have to be a better friend and family member and actually get my act together to get a card out in time.

I have a lot of friends who are very creative and saving and displaying their current an old Christmas cards. I am not so original. Every year they end up with either a ribbon around them or in a Ziploc bag and I tuck them away. And every once in a while, like this morning, they fall out of a shelf or a place for me to look at again.

It’s wonderful to have Christmas memories. Even in the form of the ghosts of Christmas cards past.

Thanks for stopping by.

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