Friday, December 24, 2010

Why I Still Send Out Christmas Cards

Now that Sven and I run a B&B, I contact a few former guests every Christmas. I always think of my mom at this time of year. What pleasure she took in giving and receiving Christmas cards! Who doesn’t like holiday messages of good cheer? I guess that's why I still send out holiday greetings. Addressing Christmas cards is no longer something most people do, which seems like a shame to me, although I did hear on NPR this morning that Cape Cod sends more Christmas cards than any other part of the nation. Anyway, there I sat yesterday, in front of the woodstove, writing cards, a bit later than usual due to my trip to California.

As I turned pages in my address book, it occurred to me that this annual ritual becomes more tedious every year, not because there are more cards to write but for another reason: friends have passed away. I decided to cross off those names in my address book. My mom’s friend Ethel Levy, no longer of this world. Ken Kimball, who moved from Massachusetts to Maine, also deceased. My daughter’s favorite teacher, not with us anymore. But fortunately there are new names to add as well …

We received a lovely card from a French/German couple who stayed at Chez Sven last May. Helene wrote, “Thank you again for your hospitality at Seagull Cottage. It was like a paradise after visiting Washington and New York.”

My absolute favorite card for 2010 is the beauty above. I did not know Ernst ter Haar was an artist. We have received Ernst and his wife twice now. Ernst is originally from Holland. Toinette is African-American from Pennsylvania. The card shows half his face, and half her face. In the middle sits their son, in an inner tube, holding what looks like a toy gun. The title is "American Family." (The card, for sale to benefit Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund, seems to be all sold out, since no longer on the Web site, but you might want to visit anyway and bookmark for 2011.)

Besides Christmas cards, I send out a New Year’s greeting every year to former guests, the French way. France has this great tradition: cards at New Year’s, rather than Christmas. And, you get the whole month of January to remember to send them…

Does anyone else out there still send Christmas cards?