“It’s in the cards.”
Of course, that’s not a phrase we can use to describe 2021, where a turbo-charged pandemic was unforeseeable given the miraculous vaccines readily available.
When I say “it’s in the cards,” it’s something very personal to me.
Holiday cards are my favorite part of the season — and yes, that includes both sending and receiving. I like seeing pictures of my friend’s kids and charting their growth. I liked to see who ordered online (with Shutterfly or whatever) and who went old school by using a local printer. Heck, I even like those goofy letter greetings where people give me a long run-down on everything, from the summer trip down the shore to the kids’ report cards.
Here’s a secret: Sometimes I have no idea who sends them to me, but I still read them to the end.
There are things we do annually in life that trigger a gut check. Holiday cards do it for me. I think they stop and make us take stock of where we are — what we’ve gained, what we’ve lost, and who we have added to our lives or lost from it.
For as long as I can remember, we’ve sent picture cards in my house. When our four kids were young, we took a photo of them on vacation in West Virginia and used it as our card that year. Twenty or so years later, we returned to that exact same spot; this time, with a son-in-law in tow to recreate the same picture for a new card.
Our kids are in their twenties and thirties now. The older they get, the more interested they become in negotiating which family photo we’ll use. Add in the annual debate over the greeting, and we’re usually up against the mailing deadline for arrival by Christmas.
The addressing of the envelopes can be a sobering experience. You know, choosing the recipients.
Divorce is especially tough. Do you send it to the ex-wife? The ex-husband? Both or neither? Or, maybe you never liked her, but now she has the kids and you want them to know you’re thinking of them. What then? It’s a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode waiting to happen.
I usually spearhead the effort in my house. I get all the addresses together. After all, I’m the keeper of the extra larger spreadsheet, which raises a whole other consideration. Is it too impersonal if they’re auto-addressed, or do I have to sign every, single one?
I guess I’m beating myself up this year because, after 30 straight years, we’ve sent no family cards in 2021.
Why not? I’m not sure.
Not enough time. Not in the spirit. A combination of hectic schedules, a lack of motivation, and some doubt on my part as to what to exactly say amid a pandemic we thought would’ve ended by now.
This happened despite a great reason to celebrate: the birth of Finn, our very first grandchild. My wife and I are head-over-heels in love with him. There is no better Christmas present for us. Of course, he would’ve been the star of our holiday card, but that ship has sailed.
So, I’m leaving the door open to sending a New Year’s card.
There’s no way I’m getting it done before the ball drops, but maybe I’ll whip something up at the start of 2022. I can’t mail one out to all of you, but I can offer you warm wishes for a happy (and healthy) one.