Words of assurance to all those in my family's ever widening circle of influence and one-time-a-year correspondence confluence...those Christmas greeting cards you send to us are well viewed and dare I say, scrutinized to the highest order.
Season's Greetings card traditions were few and far between during my youthful California green salad days. As a family we received plenty of pre-printed card stock cards with greetings appropriate to the season. Picture cards weren't quite the norm yet, and the traditional box cards weren't as yet massed produced en masse in the millions of varieties they are today.
Repeats were common. Photographs were rare. Annual "I can't believe it's been a year since our last Christmas letter" letters were yet to be unleashed on the card reading public.
Mother K would use the cards with the most vibrant colors and thematic tones as decorations around the elf and deer snow diorama village that would sit atop our built in shoe-rack. But the majority of cards were relegated to the rubber band pile, as craft making junk boxes had yet to be invented in our house.
Long about February or so, the cards would be discarded as a group exercise, having once been pressed into duty as holiday cheer via the US Mail, now being pressed together with a series of large and flexible rubber bands.
The dynamic for greeting cards in my in-laws family, and as an extension my own little family unit, couldn't be any further if we lived on Jupiter.
The daily celebration awaiting my wife during the holiday season begins and ends with the stacks of Christmas cards arriving via the post. I have learned over the years to collect them together and set them aside for her to lovingly pour over at her leisure upon returning from the trenches of her job.
She saves the envelopes for me, as it is my job to correlate, aggregate, parse and parcel the names, addresses, and offered contact information from each holiday correspondence sheath.
It's a dirty job, but sum bum gotta do it.
Memories and stories of past exploits flow freely as the cards are collated, the pictures are both ogled and scrutinized, the artwork examined (we have several artist friends who design their own cards), and the names and ages of offspring are registered and commented on. Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays -- all are welcome, all are represented, due in part to our varied associations from our days back in LaLa land.
The entire process is repeated upon the arrival of each family member visitor to the house, ensuring that each card received gets more than it's fair and expected share of human interaction and attention.
The coveted cards are displayed on a gigantic wire rack wreath constructed in the orient for the sole purpose of making something out of nothing (or in this case a wreath out of used Christmas cards), exclaiming their murmurs and shouts of the joyous season to my family for a daily dose of holiday cheer.
Unlike days of old however, our old cards eventually will make their way to the craft materials box or to the paper recyling bins across the way.
Keep those cards and letters coming kiddies...