Soon after the Thanksgiving Holiday people shift into high gear for the Christmas Holidays. Even as turkey leftovers remain in your fridge you’re likely to start getting Christmas greeting cards in your mailbox.
When I was a child, I remember setting aside one night each December to work on Christmas cards. That night became a tradition for us. A stack of cards and crayons would be our tools, hot chocolate our sustenance, and mother our sustaining force as we worked by the fireplace.
Not knowing who many cards were being sent to didn’t slow my zeal, through my coloring, to wish them the best of holidays, including my hope they received everything requested on their Christmas list. In between sips of hot chocolate, I colored reindeer, Christmas trees, presents, Christmas lights, and Santa Claus all over the card until barely any white space remained.
As a child, my thoughts often drifted to extremes such as how far away the cards were being sent and if Santa would arrive at the recipients’ homes or ours first. Regardless of need, my father regularly had a fire burning. Funny, but I still can feel the heat he‘d make when adding firewood into the fireplace.
For me, doing the Christmas cards as a family signaled that Christmas had finally arrived. At that time of year, I realized the good tidings of Christmas could be threatened if I didn‘t tow the line. I had better brush my teeth and get to bed on time. Santa was watching.
As I got older I participated less and less, content to drop into the living room and spend a few minutes chatting before heading back to my room to do homework or talk to friends.
But, now that I’m a father with young daughters I gather them around one night every December and hand them a stack of Christmas greeting cards and a box of crayons. I do it every year now, while I can, because I know one day they are going to pass and head to their room instead.
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