A Yearly Ritual Gains New Meaning

Every year, as Epiphany approaches and the ends the Christmas season, I start feeling a little empty.

The Christmas tree has taken up the corner for a month, smiling back at me festively with lights and mementos of years past. I always feel a palpable absence the day I dismantle it and retire the ornaments to their respective boxes. Somehow, it always makes me feel empty.

Even more difficult this year will be the taking down of the Christmas Cards.

Starting with the weekend of Thanksgiving, nearly every day brought at least one new holiday greeting. Some days brought five or six. Every card immediately went up on the main entryway into the living room. This year, we had more than ever, and had to use some mind power to arrange them all. I’m a little OCD and need things to be “even,” so I sometimes would rearrange all the cards to make it look just right.

Our Christmas Card display

Our Christmas Card display

I posted this photo on Facebook and several friends tried enlarging it to see if they could find theirs, almost a “Where’s Waldo” of photos and seasonal greetings. It’s fun to see that something you took time to give someone earned a place of importance in your home.

My favorites are the ones with the kid photos, and seeing the children of friends and family grow up, and I sometimes wished that I could do the same. A few people suggested I put the kitties on our card, and after some thinking and searching for the perfect photos, we designed our first custom cards.

Our 2012 Christmas Card

Our 2012 Christmas Card

It’s always a challenge figuring out our card list. On one hand, I don’t want to leave anyone out, but on the other hand, I wonder, who would love to hear from us? It felt harsh to pare down the list in any way, so instead of looking at it like “who do I cut”, I asked myself, “who has been in my life this year?” “Who stuck around every time I got sick?” “Who values my opinion and shares their innermost thoughts with me?” “Who have I not seen in a while, but we always pick up just where we left off last time?” “Who sends me cards that I look forward to every year, because I love seeing their kids grow up from year to year?”

I guess it comes down to much more than the cost of a stamp, though $0.44 is an inexpensive way to say you care. I am keenly aware of the many amazing people in my life, and sometimes, am impressed when somebody says something that tells me how well they know me. So many people told me how much they loved the card! I was really nervous that people would think it was silly to put pictures of the cats on our cards, but as somebody told me, they are my “babies”, and I wanted to share my family with our favorite people!

I felt that all we had been through this year made the holidays just that more meaningful. I know it’s not about the number, but every day, I looked forward to getting the mail and seeing whose cards landed in our mailbox. I’m going to miss the daily ritual, but it gives me something to look forward to next Christmas!

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