Saturday, January 24, 2015

Holiday Remnants

Most of us have moved on from Christmas and other holidays that were celebrated during the last couple of months. I'm trying, but procrastination the busyness of life still leaves me with a naked Christmas tree in my living room, waiting to be disassembled and stored alongside her sister who temporarily resided in the family room. Whose idea was it to have two trees?

My husband and three children love Christmas. My feelings about it necessitate another blog post. Basically, sometimes I feel that I can skip it or do it biennially; at other times, the joy of the season creeps through the frenzy and I'm smiling and happy to be giving and celebrating my blessings. Either way, the actual day is always fun.

This past Christmas, the blessings included dinner with my husband, kids, and dog. My sister-in-law and her family came and so did my brother-in-law – my husband's other sibling. Darling Husband cooked a scrumptious meal that was partially worked off at the ping pong table in the basement before putting it back on with the Jesus cake dessert. The next day we traveled to my parents' home where another traditional dinner was waiting. The girls were glad to see their Uncle Joey, too, complete with checks in hand to their delight.

Another holiday blessing is the reconnecting. A whole year can go by without talking to a family member or friend, but when December rolls around, I always make or receive a call or two… or three. Most of the time, it seems that people are progressing along on the same path. For others, incidents have dictated that they rediscover life in a different way.

Before I digress any further, I have a question for you. What do you do with those family photo Christmas and holiday cards that everyone (except me) seems to be sending out these days? During my annual summer beach trip, I see families all dressed in white, posing against the vast blue ocean for the perfect shot before sunset. "They're getting the card ready," I say.

Every year, there's an increase in the family photo cards we receive, but the Christian, winter, and Santa themed Hallmark (or equivalent) cards are still holding their own. As much as I like the traditional, artsy, professional cards, created by talented artists, designers, and writers, I have to admit that the "choose-your-template, do-it-yourself" cards are getting more viewing time from me. Some of this year's crop include a bride and groom, happy people in pajamas, happy people eating in restaurants, and happy people on family vacations at the Grand Canyon and at one of those huge national parks.

We get the new baby photo cards, the photos where the pet steals the attention, the little kids who've grown another three inches since last year's card, the coordinated sweater shots, the three or four generation family group shot, the sailing, the skiing…

A couple families did what I did one year (my one and only year of attempting to keep up with the Christmas photo-card Joneses): they sent a card with a 4x6 family photo slipped inside. It was relatively easy the year that I did it because we just happened to have a family photo from a summer outing – you know, the one where a stranger volunteers to take the "whole family" because he or she sees you taking pictures of each other in partial combinations. Yes, that one. Anyway, I printed several copies of that shot for the several cards that I intended to send out. Somewhere in a drawer, several copies never left the CVS envelope. Oh well… I tried.

Before I move on, I must mention the 5x7, 4-sided glossy card featuring a preppy family of four in jackets, pearls, and ties… worthy of a portrait in the library of their probable mansion. The inside contained the annual letter and the card back had a picture of the sons tubing in Greece. This card came from one of my husband's rich friends. My friends aren't rich. Hmmm… actually, some are.

Years ago, when I received photo cards,  I placed them in an album – the kind where you peel back the clear protector page and place the photo on the sticky page and then press the protector page back on it. (Remember those?) Surely, I couldn't throw away "a picture" of someone!

It took about three years to fill it. I don't think it would take three years to fill an album nowadays. So what do you do with the photos? Admire, display, and toss? Ours have been accumulating, along with the traditional cards, in a couple of festive baskets. It used to be one basket. One day I had the bright idea of scanning them into a picture file on my computer. One day, I scanned a few. There will be no more scanning.

So the photo cards, in addition to the cookie tins, etc, have to go... eventually. I'll never achieve my semi-minimalist (dream on Anita) status if DH and I continue to keep all the special greetings and gifts that come through our door. However, my sentimental nature lives on. Continue to send us your traditional cards, photo cards, notes, letters, fruit, candy, and cookies. We love it, and we love you.

Do you send Christmas or holiday photo cards, traditional cards, or letters?

Are there any special joys and/or particular challenges you face during the holiday season?






34 comments:

Linda said...

This is difficult for me to share so please bear with me, dear Anita. I am an only child, I am divorced with no children and my parents both died when I was in my mid-20's, so basically I have no family. I perhaps get two or Christmas cards from close friends, sometimes none, but this is fine with me. For myself, time spent with friends is more important to me than cards or gifts. I don't give Christmas cards, but I do call my friends to wish them a Merry Christmas and they invite me to their home to celebrate it with their family for a nice turkey dinner and I appreciate it very much.

joeh said...

Mrs. C sends them every year despite my objections. I say just put a "Merry Christmas everybody" on Facebook and be done with it.

Barb said...

We (by this I mean I) have not sent a Christmas letter or card for at least 15 years. However, we do receive many cards, some with photos and notes which I enjoy. Then, I feel guilty and often write personal notes to several people so they will continue to keep in contact. I do this at my leisure and not in the chaos of the Christmas season. I think maybe I enjoy it more by doing it this way. I keep the cards at least until I decide who I'm going to answer. Then, I pitch all but my grandchildren's photo cards which, of course, are too precious to trash. This year, we spent the holidays in Denver in a hotel while visiting with family, so I didn't even decorate the house. When we got back, there was nothing to put away - it was nice. Maybe I've started a trend. Glad to see you back, Anita. Happy 2015!

Mari said...

We sent a photo card this year. I love receiving cards and really do like those photos. I put them away with my Christmas things and look them over again the next year when it's time to set up again. It's always fun to read the messages and look at the photos again!

Tabor said...

I used to send the letter which I understand no one really wanted, but I liked getting the letter from others, so I sent one out. This year it was a photo of all of us resting after a hike and then a small piece of paper with a typed note...same to everyone. I love seeing how families grow and change but I do not save a single one! I have enough pictures! I no longer save greeting cards either. I did burn one card I got a few years ago with a newly acquainted family through a wedding standing on the porch of their mansion with guns in their hand and a Christmas letter that indicated their goal in life was to impeach Obama! A totally inappropriate card for this holiday!

Abby said...

Your family Christmas get-togethers sound nice and warm!
As a non-traditionalist who is also a minimalist, I don't send photos of our "perfect" family for the holidays, don't send out form letters detailing our perfect activities of the year past, nor do I keep those we receive once everyone in the family has had a look at them - into the recycle bin they go. But that's me. Several of the cards we get are from people who, I think, just feel obligated to send them, but we really don't care to keep in touch otherwise. I did receive one special card this year that I've kept around ;).
I send cards to a few lucky recipients :), and the only one who gets a photo of the kids is a good friend who lives far away and who babysat my kids when they were little.

This is, once again, another thought provoking post. I feel like I could write an entire post of my own in your comments!

LL Cool Joe said...

I have to say the biggest chore before Christmas is writing and sending out Christmas cards, especially when so many people seem to have moved house so I'm trying to find new addresses etc. I know I sound awful, but I really don't enjoy getting Christmas cards either apart from close family.

That bare Christmas tree made me grin.

Hilary said...

Ah well.. I haven't sent cards in years. And I receive very few which is fine by me. I think I have only ever received one newsletter type card from someone I hardly knew. And the only family-posed photo card I got was a delightful critters only image.. their dog two cats and a raccoon. :)

SuziCate said...

We haven't sent photos since the children were small. I admit I didn't even send cards for a couple of years, but I found myself with time and energy and shocked those who received a card from us this year. I used to save all the photos people sent through the years...now, I post them on the fridge for a few months and then (gasp!) I toss them.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I try to send a photo each year, sometimes just a picture of the kids, sometimes it is a picture of the entire family. It is never a professional card but only a copy of a moment captured. This year I had 100 reprints of our family photo snapped in our backyard by a relative on the day boy#3 graduated from high school. I had them ready 3 weeks before Christmas, before anyone wrote the letter to accompany the photograph. I finally wrote the letter a few days before Christmas; it still needs to be printed. Envelopes still need to be addressed. Those who are in my e-mail address book received the e-mail version last month, but I work in a church office and life didn't stop long enough to breathe until today after our annual meeting. I'm wondering if it is too late to send out the "hard copy" letter and photo.
As far as received cards/photos... I took time this afternoon to finish opening and reading the ones we received (see above for explanation). The photos from friends and family will go on the bulletin board for a few months and then be tossed. :( [Oh, the guilt!] In these days of facebook, I can usually go online to reminisce over last Christmas' photos.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Seems as if Christmas cards these days. They're a dying breed, sadly. Hey you should just keep your tree up and decorate it for all seasons :)

TexWisGirl said...

i still do those photo albums, although since i began blogging, my printing of photos for the album has seriously slowed. but, i do save those close friends and family christmas cards and plop them in there (i'm only 2 years behind on getting the photos put into the pages, along with labels, etc.) *sigh* maybe i'll get to them as soon as you get to your christmas trees. :)

happy new year to you and yours! glad you had great christmas connections!

yonca said...

My Christmas tree is still up. Last year i decoratedvit with spring flowers and butterfly figures in March..Maybe i do the same this year.
I only send cards to a few friends, not too much.

ShadowRun300 said...

When the kids were little, I very much felt the need to keep up with the Joneses. I'd send 100s of photo cards a year, but only a few with handwritten notes. I'd get so stressed out about it, that one year I decided not to send any. So liberating, that I haven't sent any since. Well, except this year, but only to those who sent me one, and only because the post office stated I needed to let them know my new address.
As for the cards and photos I receive.... I display them until I take the Christmas decorations down, and then I pitch 'em... without guilt.

Rebecca S. said...

There was a time when I sent 45 Christmas cards in the mail. Over the years the number of people who send me cards has dwindled, simply because life goes on and some acquaintances are not strong enough ties to carry on with. With that, the number of cards I send out has been cut by about half. Every year I write a humorous letter about our year, trying to keep it short and usually failing. Every year I try to find a moment to take a photo of all my kids together or even the whole family and I photocopy it into the letter. That way, people see the photo but don't feel obligated to keep it, because it's just a photocopy and lacks the seeming permanence of a glossy 4x6 photo. I used to keep all my cards received but a couple of years ago I got rid of a tonne of them and just kept the special ones. My husband would prefer not to keep any, but I'm sentimental that way. Glad to see you back, Anita :)

Linda Hensley said...

I have a bah humbug attitude towards the holidays, and generally protest other people trying to jolly me into it -- but I like getting cards, which is my only real holiday decorating. I put them on the mantel until I need mantle space for something or the kids are older and don't look like that anymore. The insurance guy's family goes straight into the wastebasket though. I figure that since everyone else decorates I don't have to do anything to get plenty of the decorations. If you just decorate your trees with a different theme, do you really have to put them away?

Arlee Bird said...

I like Christmas best when we travel back east to visit my family. That's about the biggest thing I enjoy about Christmas any more.

I haven't sent out cards in a number of years and each year we receive less. Usually the only photo cards we get are people who send pictures of their pets. I don't get it. Why would people think I'd be interested in seeing their animals. I want to see people and families and hear about what the people are doing. I'm really not all that thrilled about hearing the adventures of Fluffy or whatever that creature is.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I love this post, Anita. You have raised questions many people have.
What to do with all the card, etc.

I keep them all, year after year. Today, ironically, before reading this post, I had carefully put the cards away.

And, my tree is still up, with the decorations. I'm too busy to to take it down. Maybe next Saturday.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I send a card, and a photo, and a letter. My letters are usually funny and read easily. One year our dog wrote it. Not the in January we did this and in February we did this.

As to all those received, I keep then in a drawer with the extra cards purchased after Christmas. When I write next years, I look at last years first. Then throw them away. Seems easier to toss after a year. Crazy, I know.

Shelly said...

Some years I do very well, sending out cards with photos, and other years, like this last one, I do poorly. You are like me- I don't like to throw out pictures of people. Someday, we will find a happy balance!

Stephanie said...

When my girls were little I was pretty good about sending out an update and Christmas Cards. As they've gotten older I've gotten much worse....lazier? Every year I swear I will get those cards out, but then time gets away from me! Maybe I should start now for next year!

Farida Rizwan said...

I still have a good collection of written cards and letters with me. Unfortunately, it has been quite some time since I last received a card or letter.

Dr. kold_kadavr_flatliner, MD, the sub/dude said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa joy said...

To the point and written well, thank you for the information Alpha ZXT I agree, tyvm for posting this.I just came across this blog I was I am getting a 404 page not found when trying to access other posts I hope it gets fixed Thanks. http://www.strongmenmuscle.com/alpha-zxt/

Melissa joy said...

When I look at your RSS feed it gives me a bunch of weird text, is the problem on my side? Action Fuel PRO
Hi dude, you may have a great blog site I enjoy it. And I feel several folks will enjoy too. http://www.healthcaresdiscussion.com/action-fuel-pro/

yonca said...

Hi Anita, how are you? Are you on a summer break? Miss you! xx

anais giada said...

For any of this to make sense, you need to Testo Roar understand a few basics about how testosterone is produced in the body. Testosterone levels are affected by a whole range of things, diet being one of them. For more ==== >>>>>> http://guidemesupplements.com/is-testo-roar-scam/

anais giada said...

The reporting that week had been reinforcementNeurocell
and disturbing and galvanizing Mike unreal Steelers touch for cardinal seasons. His time after football had been mystic and sad and on the tidings they were achievement on and on almost it.For more ==== >>>>>> http://www.supplements4help.com/neurocell/

KRISTIN PAGE said...

alongside because you furthermore longing to exude the confidence that unaccompanied slim people have. Garcinia Health Max spend less once eating healthy food. Another advantage of maddening to stay slim is that as you attempt to lose weight, your libido increases and that means easier lovemaking for you and. http://slimminggarciniaadvice.com/garcinia-health-max/

KRISTIN PAGE said...

A word of caution while playing online games would not be out of place. Play on trusted websites only Brainplus IQ
as most gaming sites install spywares scrupulously onto your hard disk. For more ==== >>>>>> http://guidemesupplements.com/brainplus-iq/

Abbey Ada said...

Please continue the strong website.HI friends, Muscle HD We found your webpage and We to remember its a wonderful spot around here and I want to congratulate You are great. Please continue all the great work.This is this kind of a fantastic resource that you are providing and also you give it absent for free. I adore seeing web sites that understand the value of offering a top quality resource free of charge. It?s the old what goes around comes about routine.For more ==== >>>>>> http://shredhdxabout.com/muscle-hd/

MELINDA RAMSEY said...

Bing, and found that its truly informative. Elite Test 360 I'm gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful for those who continue this in future. Numerous folks might be benefited out of your writing. Thank you.This is a good subject to talk about. Generally when I come across these sort of things I like to post them on Digg. I dont think this would be the best to submit though. I will be sure to submit something else though.Thanks for posting this post. I'm undeniably frustrated with struggling to search out relevant and brilliant commentary on this subject. Everybody now goes to the.For more ==== >>>>>> http://guidemesupplements.com/elite-test-360/

MELINDA RAMSEY said...

Made in composing this article. Neu Serum Pro I am hoping the same best post from you in theorizing as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to begin my own blog now. Truly the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine model of it.I think youve made some really interesting points. Not also many people would truly think about this the way you just did. Im really impressed that theirs so considerably about this topic thats been uncovered and you did it so well, with so much class. Good 1 you, man! Really great stuff here.Relying on your instant is tough for most of us.For more ==== >>>>>> http://www.healthcaresups.com/neu-serum-pro/

Aaren Abia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.