Every year I sit down and go through an address book. Sometimes I also go through Facebook because people move and my address book needs to be updated. I also go through my mom’s because I have yet to transfer everyone into my own book. Yes, I could update these addresses through my phone and whatnot, but I like being able to pull out an address book. I like having my Christmas box that I store my cards in before and after they are filled out. I enjoy being able to go down my list, check it twice, and mail out almost eighty plus cards each year or deliver them in person. I love Christmas cards.
This is a tradition my mom passed down to me. Before she passed we would each sit down while watching whatever Christmas movie at the time and fill them out. What I’ve realized the past couple of years is how many people I have subtracted and how many people I have added. The additions are great. The additions keep me buying eighty cards every year. The subtractions make me yearn for those people in my life once more. I think back to memories, some good and some bad, and wish for more time with them.
The hardest name to pass over this year was my nanny’s name. Everyone always tells you the first year after losing a person is the hardest, but for me it’s always the second. The first year merely makes me feel weird. I always feel numb and as if I have yet to truly process what has occurred. This loss. That empty seat where the person would sit. Though in nanny’s case she would always stand in the kitchen for the most part at the counter because sitting down was never an option. But the second year for me always hits me in this way of sorrow that I haven’t figured out how to comprehend so I’m trying to figure out how to put this into words instead.
Her last Christmas my dad put in a fan at her house because she wanted to be comfortable when she stayed at home. She insisted for us not to get her anything for Christmas, so I got her a Christmas card instead. Nanny always loved a good card. If nothing else I would always try and pick out the best cards for her and pay a little more because I knew these cards meant something to her. Her birthday, Mother’s Day, and of course Christmas. I typically would mail her a card too because I want to know she had one in her mailbox for whatever reason.
So this year I’m left staring at an address that isn’t even hers anymore in an address book that was my mom’s address book. A house that belongs to someone else now. A house I can’t bring myself to drive past because right now that is too difficult of a task. But I’m left with this tradition that I always participated in with my mom. A tradition she probably got in good part from nanny. A tradition that makes me wonder when sending Christmas cards became a lost artform. Mail in general. Anything handwritten really.
Why are e-cards better than snail mail cards? Is it because we need everything instantly now? I ask myself these questions every year and every year I go to the store and I’m one of the only people on the aisle to actually buy Christmas cards. I do this for the drivers at work, I do this for my friends and family. I think if nothing else I can spend three dollars to remind you that I care and that you’re thought about over the holiday seasons. Because even if we don’t hang out or talk as much as we used to doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a card. In fact it makes me want to mail you one more.
But until your name is on my list, I will end with this. To hear from others this year and know that these cards mean as much to you to receive as they do for me to send them means the world. And it’s just further proof why traditions are important and should live on. Nothing is insufficient.