17 December 2011

Christmas cards sent (✓)

No digital card this year. Too busy with other stuff (like the upcoming move...ack!) so, I bought cards. Two small boxes of cheap and cheerful cards which I managed to finish and send off earlier this week (although there were some addresses I never found for which I apologize). And then I got to add another check mark on the List of Things to Do for Christmas.

BUT I had mixed feelings about it.

Aside from the green-ness or un-green-ness of xmas cards there was the cost of the stamps (Oh my god, when did postage become so expensive!?) and the line at the post office (Puhleeze, put more people on counter service at xmas time, Canada Post!) but, also, because it seemed kind of impersonal. I found myself writing and addressing over 25 cards and envelopes and putting the same message in pretty much all them. And that seemed wrong. (Isn't that what you did with the digital cards, you may ask....yeah, well, that's not the point of this post so keep reading.)

When I first started sending out Christmas cards it was with my Mom. Not that we did it every year, but I do remember a few instances of sitting down during an afternoon or evening and I'd address the envelopes and she'd date and sign the cards. It was fun and something I continued to do (on occasion) when I was on my own. I would often include a short note (or not so short) catching people up on my life and asking them about theirs.

But then came email and digital cards and, well, things changed.

Yes, I felt pressed for time this year and posting cards seemed faster but, well, there is another reason.

I saw a Christmas card (the one below) at the airport as I was leaving my hometown (first real visit back there in quite a few years and it was fantastic!) and one look magically transported me to my Christmas past.

Winter Walk (Montreal) - Andris Leimanis
It brought me back to being a kid and being downtown Christmas shopping with my Mom. The hustle and bustle of crowds, the snow and cold air. And that one night, close to Christmas, Mom would drive to the swanky neighbourhood on the mountain to have a look at the Christmas lights and decorated houses. And then I remembered how exciting it was to get a Christmas card in the mail and how, after opening them and looking at the pretty picture and reading the message inside, we'd hang them up around the apartment. And each one of those cards was evidence of another person in our life that knew us and cared and, well, it was nice.

Which brings me to my collection. Of Christmas cards. Yep, it goes back almost 20 years. I keep the cards I've rec'd over the years and store them with the decorations. I usually take them out and put them up around the house every year (very few of them are printed versions of digital or email cards I'm sorry to say), but because we've been living away I hadn't seen my little collection in five years. So, last year, when I brought them out to put up around the house it was like an amazing trip down memory lane as I opened each card to have a look inside. And that action brought each individual front and centre in my mind even if the card only had a signature. And THAT is why I sent cards this year. Even if the message was short and not unique it means that each family member and friend who receives one has a little piece of me in their Christmas.

Selfish, really. But I'm not apologizing.


Madelaine said...

Well, Pam! Have I news for you. This Christmas card that you love is painted by Andris Leimanis. Believe it or not, he is a patient of ours and was a premiere graphic artist in the 70's. I love his work and have collected his Christmas cards as they came through the office either through him or by other people per chance. I have since framed them as a collective and had Andris sign the back of the framed piece. I did also manage to get a print of his (a fall scene) that I love. As to collecting christmas cards, I too, hang Christmas cards in the house as part of my Christmas decor although I only save a few. Guess we are related!! lol

P.E. Coristine said...

Ha! Wow, that must be an incredible collection! And signed too!