Christmas has been tidied away for another year. So, what do you do with all the cards you received? ‘Regift’ the things you didn’t like? Hide them in a drawer? Force yourself to use them because whoever chose them for you hoped you would enjoy them? Happy to take everything off the Christmas tree and throw it in the garden? Or feel nostalgic as you remember where each bauble came from?
I could of course, say something religious here. I could talk about trying to not ‘pack away’ Jesus for another year. But I think I’ll let you think about that one on your own. I shall focus on cards.
My favourite card this year was from one of my friends who doesn’t speak any English. She’s a really close friend, we meet whenever we have time, and chat about our children and husbands and mother-in-laws. Even though Chinese people don’t really ‘do’ Christmas like we do, she knows it matters to me, and she always buys me a Christmas card. This year, the front of the card said, “Happy Christmas Grandad”. I was momentarily confused, then realised that she must have bought it on her own, when her children (who all speak excellent English) weren’t with her to translate. I love it. It has gone into my bedside cabinet with cards from my husband.
I always keep my cards from my husband. He also keeps mine. This was extremely useful the year when I forgot Valentine’s Day until late the night before. I was able to sneak into his bedside cabinet, pick a card I had sent him a previous year, put it into a fresh envelope, and give it to him with our morning tea, the same as every other year. Yes, I know, terrible. But he didn’t notice (he’d have been hurt if he knew I had forgotten.)
Sometimes cards go wrong of course. My brother taught the kids club at church for years, and when he stopped leading it, he was presented with a giant card during the service. He felt rather touched. Until he opened it, and it was blank! The person asked to buy it had thought someone else was going to write in it, and the person presenting it thought it was finished. (These things happen in churches. It teaches us forgiveness I guess.)
Then there was the year after my Dad died, when Mum received cards from friends saying they were sorry to hear that Dad had died – but the envelope was addressed to “Mr and Mrs”. I guess they went into ‘autopilot’ when writing the address bit. Mum didn’t mind, she thought it was funny.
Actually, Mum kept her sense of humour throughout the horrible trauma of Dad dying. I remember one incident, when he was very poorly (he had cancer, so nothing happened easily.) Mum was always very friendly to the children who lived in the road, and they wanted to cheer her up. So, one night, when they were going to a fancy dress party, they decided to knock on her door first, to show her their costumes. Dad was upstairs, very poorly. Mum heard a knock on the front door, and opened it to find – The Grim Reaper! Luckily, Mum just laughed. (I don’t think the children had really thought about what they were wearing, they just wanted to show her their costumes.)
Hope your year has started well. I recommend you keep a few cards hidden for emergencies.