Last year our Christmas was small. No tree, no large family gatherings, a few presents for the grandchildren ordered mostly online and dinner with my elderly father.
This year, the holidays seemed more hopeful. Fully vaxxed and boostered, I got an early start on my Christmas shopping, visited local stores, and mailed gifts that needed to be sent. I’m one of those people who enjoy fussing with wrapping paper and ribbon. Years ago, I was eager to volunteer at a nonprofit’s gift wrap booth at our local mall, only to be told that I was to use only one stick-on bow per package. Stick-on bows are anathema to me. I like to make my own. That was a short-lived stint.
Last week, we visited our friend’s tree farm to choose our tree. We’ve been going there since our sons were young and he’d been closed the last two years. Another tradition that was stalled by the weight of the pandemic.
I decided to clean out the bottom drawer of the hutch where we usually keep Christmas cards, cookie cutters and other holiday odds and ends like random decorations that don’t make it back to the storage bin before it’s put away.
It surprised me to realize how long it had been since I’d sent Christmas cards. That’s not like me. Negligent, in fact. I won’t bore you with a litany of excuses since there are none. What surprised me even more when I sat down and opened my old address book was what I didn’t know. Along with family and friends, there are a handful of distant relatives of my parents’ generation. I learned one of my mother’s cousins had passed away in 2019. He was survived by his wife. Would she have remained in the same home given her advanced age? I found myself searching the internet for clues. Would she even remember me now? And so it went. Some of the cards I wrote are being sent on a wing and a prayer.
I thought, too, of all the events that occurred in our lives over the last several years. Enough to fill a one-page insert, single-spaced with an eight-point font! But I won’t do that. It’s enough this year to just get cards filled with Christmas wishes and hope for a brighter New Year in the mail.