Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Card Time

It's always been one of those debated subjects in my family when it comes to Christmas cards.  I remember as a little girl watching my Mom pull out the big box of cards, the roll-a-dex, pens, stamps and address labels.  She'd then proceed to use up an entire book or two of stamps (which back then were lick and stick so I got to help) as she wrote out each and every envelope, signed our names inside of the cards and then sent them off to various friends, neighbors, family members and everyone Mom could think of.

At first we'd get so many cards back that we'd have an entire door plastered with them, some hanging onto the wall next to it.  That was, of course, before the internet really caught on with the masses.

Then, people started to die and people just didn't do Christmas cards any more.  So when we received a card from someone, Mom put a little symbol next to their names in the address book (she got rid of the roll-a-dex), changing the symbol from year to year so the next year she'd know who to send Christmas cards.

After awhile, those numbers dwindled and I think Mom got by with just using cards from previous years and sending out a handful here and there as she received them.  And actually, shortly before I moved out, I was helping her with the few cards because I put in my friends and associates as well.

When I moved out of state, I was fired up!  Time to send out a bunch of Christmas cards so everyone knew where I lived and I'd print out pictures of me and my (at the time boyfriend) husband who I was living with.

I received about 10 cards that year.

The next year, only about 5.

This year, so far, only 1.

I'm debating on whether to send everyone Christmas cards this year since we just moved and yes, I have a new address that maybe not everyone knows about... but it's this personal debate of whether it's worth the time and effort.  Even in a technological age, much of my family doesn't keep in touch with me through the internet or even Facebook.  So you'd think that even once a year they'd want to hear from me through a card.  Say "hey, how you doin'?  We're still alive" or something to that extent.  But when we're only 15 days out from Christmas, just two short weeks think I'd have more to show for it.

It's not that I'm expecting presents, visits, fruitcakes, or even a phone call.  But a card?  Is it REALLY so hard to send cards now in this age of texts and emails?  Why is it so hard to WRITE more than two-three words?  People don't want to call when they can text, and they don't want to write because they can text...and yet if I don't get even a text, are you even alive out there?

Maybe that's why the Christmas spirit is so hard to come by anymore.  It's hard to receive it when no one is giving.

'Nuff said from Scrooge.  ^_^;

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Christmas Time Again

The holidays for me have changed a lot since I was a little kid.  Maybe I have to clarify that to the year 1999, just as the New Year had rolled in, because I remember very distinctly playing one of the Legend of Zelda games and fishing, showing my Dad how cool it was, very shortly before he died.

When you lose a parent at the age of 19, things can get pretty weird very fast.  Luckily I was still in college and even though I had an on-campus job, it wasn't a real job by any means so there wasn't a big disturbance from being gone for awhile.  My mom told me I needed to stay in college and that summer I picked up my first job where I'd put up a Christmas tree on Halloween, find myself in a mall on the day after Thanksgiving and find only one parking spot at the far edge of the property, and I had a Mom who didn't want to decorate for the holidays anymore.

My brother and I took it upon ourselves to pick up the holidays.  That was the first year that I made an effort (in the freezing cold and rain) to string lights up outside my house, to decorate the Christmas tree, and to get my Mom going when it came to making Thanksgiving dinner.  In fact, not too many years later, I'd started doing Thanksgiving all by myself (with a few helpful tips now and then) and eventually Mom even started decorating and getting into the spirit again.

But ever since that first Christmas in retail, I've been there, putting up trees around Halloween and not being able to enjoy a Christmas carol or tune because it's been played 50 Million times before December even hits.  Being one of the retail people can really suck any fun that Christmas once held for a person.  I try not to get into the spirit some years because I worry that I'll just wear out too quickly, and I usually do.  I wait until the last week or so before Christmas to shop, wrap presents, mail cards, etc. just so I don't get burned out.  It's hard being the numb one when everyone is having parties and exchanging gifts.  But I guess that's just the person I've turned out to be since my Dad died.

Maybe it would be different if we had a big family.  In fact, our family is so small now, at least the amount that can travel, we can sit around our little kitchen table.  I made Thanksgiving dinner in such a blur this year that I'm not sure how it all came together at exactly the same time, or how it was over so quickly.  I even got to watch the parade this year, albeit, mostly on the TiVo, fast-forwarding through commercials  Basically just my Mom, my husband's parent and grandmother, and besides a few aunts and uncles who all live out of state, it's a pretty small family, so holidays are rather brief I guess.

This year I decorated as I always do.  I think I get more enjoyment out of the process of decorating than I actually do enjoying the decorations.  Mind you, I do like looking at decorations I only see once a year, and maybe that's the reason I deck the walls like I do.  But we have very few people over to enjoy them, and when I mention 'oh, I should take a picture to show you', even my Mom shrugs and says, 'that's okay'.

But, even without people enjoying my decorations, at least I know that the cats are enjoying them.  They enjoy playing with the strings of lights in the windows...they enjoy chewing on the Christmas tree, they enjoy the copious amounts of treats that I've been giving them know, the Christmas spirit and all.  They even have a stocking of their own we're working on putting stuff in.  It's the little things that count you know.

Boy....this really makes me sound pathetic.

I guess I should go work on Christmas cards.