At some point it happened. I maxed out on my holiday card potential. The maximum number of cards we’d send out each holiday seemed to peak, as relatives got older and said their final goodbyes, as family got busier, as life got more hectic. It seems there are just less family members and friends around than there used to be. I always try to remember some new folks to send cards to, but the card list has shrunk little by little, year by year, like snowflakes that just disappear into the air before hitting the ground.
I always remember the people from my past even if they’re no longer around. I don’t even like to delete their names and numbers from my cell phone like for some reason they might be able to pick up the phone and call one day. I know it’s not going to happen but to delete is so “final”. The same thing goes for my holiday cards. To just write people off the list seems so wrong.
So excuse me this year while I stop to mention the ghosts of holiday cards past. These folks were important parts of my life and they were important parts of the holidays and they’d be getting cards this year if they were still around for sure.
Of course my mother who would always get the first card I wrote out and then we’d see it displayed proudly on her mantle until February or March or April… or on the bulletin board we eventually put up for her in her assisted living facility.
My nana… she’d beat me with the card many years.. When I was a little kid, there would always be a few dollars in any nana card for me and she’d always sign it “lovingly nana”. That signature is etched in my head.
So many people have come and gone, Harry, Grandpa and Grandma, and Norma, cards on the mantle now inscribed into the ghosts of holiday cards past.
This time of year, I think about my neighbors’ parents growing up, Mandel and Estelle, who would always have us over for the holidays. What a kind couple.
There was Uncle Jack. He wasn’t really an uncle. He wasn’t family. But he was. He had worked with my father as a teacher and always loved Christmas. Uncle Jack had kids and grandkids of his own, but he always had a gift on the piano tucked away for my sister and I.
There was Lucha who we considered an aunt but was so much more. She was so beautiful and talented and exotic, and helped so many people during her time. My card to her home which used to be addressed to the family is now just addressed to her husband , but secretly, it’s still addressed to her as well.
And as with any year, this year there are some new cards I won’t be writing but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten. Aunt Jean who joined my Uncle Marvin in the ghosts of holiday cards past just recently. I won’t be sending a card to her this year, but I am still thinking of her.
It’s easy to get lost in the memories.
Just when I start to get depressed about all the ghosts of holiday cards past, I look into our living room and see a little rocking horse on the floor ready to be wrapped. That’s for Jayden. He’s the baby of the family, my new nephew, and this will be his first Christmas ever. Jayden is getting a new card this year. He’s a new addition to the list. I guess I need to keep reminding myself of all the folks who will continue joining our card list even as others depart. Jayden is the Christmas card of the future. My kids and their kids and their kids are the cards of the future. I guess that’s why this year and every year should be seen as the present.