An important part of the Christmas holiday season for me has always been the sending and receiving of Christmas cards. It is a tradition that I have been familiar with since I was a young child when I met the mailman at the front door every day during the season on the small chance that there might be at least one envelope in his large pile addressed to me.
In my memory my family received hundreds of greeting cards at Christmas time when I was a child. I can remember them being strung around the doorway between the living and dining rooms of our house and around the big mirror in the living room. For every one received one was sent. It was a welcomed and well-practiced tradition in those days.
After many years, sending and receiving end-of-the-year greetings has remained important. Getting the first one of the season, usually soon after Thanksgiving, is an anticipated event. I can remember through the years participating in a contest of sorts — trying to guess who that first card would be from.
Back then I was much more interested in getting mail each day than in the process of preparing and sending our own stack of cards in envelopes. I do remember, however, my mother spending at least one afternoon and evening sitting at the dining room table with a stack of boxed cards as she pored through notes and address books and wrote names on envelopes.
My important job didn’t come until near the end of the process when I licked each stamp and, as neatly as possible, placed it in its proper place at the corner of the envelope.
My thoughts these days turn to the greetings I will send out as we approach Christmas. First I will find the familiar address book that I have been using for several years. The providers of that book were clever enough to leave a space on the edge of each page to check off the years that I have sent and received a card for each person on my list.