The holidays are over. The greeting cards we find in our mailbox are slowing down to a dribble.Yet, I totally understand if they arrive even mid-January. I’ve had numerous years where good intentions to get all my cards signed, sealed and delivered before the first night of Chanukah or before Christmas Eve have failed.
We were fortunate to receive many lovely holiday cards from across the country throughout the past month. Most were simple but attractive ones from Hallmark or American Greetings. The two handmade cards, beautifully crafted pieces of art, will get saved in my memory box to enjoy again and again. Many greetings were in the form of photo cards: a picture of my great niece and nephew with their labradoodle,; a three-generation photo from a childhood friend; a picture of two friends, Santa, and their “children”-two rescue dogs.
BRINGING US CLOSER
I especially appreciated cards that included a holiday newsletter that recapped the senders’ year and shared what their family had been up in 2016. Reading about relatives, friends, and their loved ones, especially those that live far away from us, brought us closer together despite the miles between us.
Happily, this year, we did not receive any form of the ‘Dreaded Holiday Letter.’ You know the kind I mean. Happy Holidays! We just bought a little present for ourselves. The red Ferrari is parked in the four-car garage next to the Lexus, the Maserati, and the Tesla. Of course we have to find the time to drive it as we will be working around our upcoming trip to the French Riviera and our two month cruise to South America on our yacht.
EDITS BY FAMILY
Embarrassingly, I may have been guilty of putting a little too much enthusiasm in past holiday letters. The Shapiro Year in Review was contained in a single-spaced letter with a border of dreydels or menorahs. Before I mailed it out, I would ask Larry, my husband, and our children, Adam and Julie, to review it. Being much more private people than me, they would eliminate many of what I considered news-worthy items. “Too much information!” they would comment. The edited letters were shorter and considerably less, well, Pollyannaish.
Last year, I decided I wanted to go the photo card route. I created my masterpiece in a very short time at the Walgreens kiosk with three pictures representing our year. One showed Larry and me posing with Phineas and Ferb at Disney World. Another was a picture of Julie, her husband Sam, and their month-old daughter Sylvie Rose in their backyard. The third was a picture of Uncle Adam holding Sylvie.
I didn’t get them started by Chanukah, which started in early December, so I aimed for December 24. And then New Year’s. And then Martin Luther King’s Birthday. By the end of January, I purchased cute little heart stickers to add to the photo with the intention of mailing them out by Valentine’s Day. By April, I ruled out Easter egg stickers, and the ten plague stickersI found on the internet seemed a little depressing.
Sylvie was now nine months old and looked nothing like the infant in the pictures. The photo cards went into the trash, and the odd-sized envelopes are being used to pay bills that require a check and a stamp.
A NEW IDEA
Friends in England introduced us to the Jacquie Lawson website, and since then we have sent out its beautiful animated greeting cards for all occasions—birthdays, anniversaries, get well wishes, the winter holidays— to family members and friends.
I wasn’t going to repeat the photo card disaster. This year, Larry and I decided to send e-cards for the holidays. The Chanukah card, choreographed to Chanukah Oh Chanukah, showed a lovely tree transformed into a brightly lit menorah. Our non-Jewish friends received a card set to a medley of Christmas songs that showed a sleigh making its way through a picture-perfect English village and surrounding countryside.
The first night of Chanukah fell on Christmas Eve, so it gave us more time to get them ready to send out. Of course we procrastinated until December 24th. Larry worked from his computer in the office getting out the Christmas cards while I worked from my laptop in the kitchen sending out Chanukah wishes to all our Jewish friends. By the time we left for the Chanukah party at our synagogue that evening, we had sent over one hundred cards with short personal notes to friends and family across the country and world.
I was a little concerned that the recipients would not bother to open them or, if they did, they would be bored with the ninety seconds of animation. We were therefore happy to receive thank you notes back from most the recipients within hours—sometimes minutes—after we clicked the send button. The e-cards were a success!
Recently, I saw the following quote in a friend’s kitchen: “Though time and miles may separate us, we have built a bridge of lovely memories to span the distance.” No matter how we share our good wishes for the holidays, and no matter when those good wishes arrive, they all are sent and received with love and happiness.