I used to send out Christmas cards every year. In fact, it was one of the things I most looked forward to about the holidays.
Composing the newsy letter with updates about each family member and a photo in front of our family tree, meant so much (although in the one below, we are so much bigger than our tree, you can’t really even tell that we are standing in front of it…).
About 5 years ago the cards stopped. Mostly it was because of graduate school–all Christmas break I would be feverishly applying for grant monies to fund my next year of studies. Cards fell by the wayside. That, and I never was quite sure how to explain that our family had left the Mormon church and that my (now ex-)husband was excommunicated. How would that fit into a tidy narrative that included my kids’ swimming lessons?
Then after the divorce I wasn’t really sure that there would ever be a cute family narrative again. The kids were teenagers anyways, and not very interested in wearing a Christmas sweater or a velvet dress and posing in front of the Christmas tree (although I have to say that I do like last year’s “goofing off in front of the tree” photos very much).
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The other issue that was rolling around in my head, is how best to discuss my new partner in my Christmas card. Do I make some type of official, “hey, guess what,” sort of declaration, or do I just include him in my family update without any mention of the change?
Though the card is still in “draft” stage (pending approval of the kiddos, who haven’t yet seen yet what I wrote about them), I opted for fairly brief text, listing just a few recent highlights on each person. It’s succinct, but it also catches everyone up on the exciting happenings of the past year (new address, new schools, new jobs, etc).
The photo part of the card was a bit harder than the text. I messed around last night with a bunch of photo collage templates to see if I could do something artful from our travels this past year. But after I did this for over an hour I realized that no one that I was sending this card to would care much about a view of the alps or of Tuscany. I am pretty sure that they’d like to see us and not what I ate for dinner in the Netherlands.
So…my plan is to herd everyone in front of the tree after Gameboy returns from college on Thursday evening and snap the annual holiday photo.
Because it feels like some traditions should stay the same, even in the midst of so much change.
Note: I recently opened up my Christmas card address book and realized that it’s five years out of date, and so many of you have moved in the meantime. Please email (janaremyATgmail) me your new address if you would like a card and you’ve moved since we were last in touch via post.