Renewing Friendships and Christmas Cards

Welcome to the first post of 2023, and the first in several months. I’ve missed writing these and grateful to those of you who’ve reached out to say you’ve missed reading them. The plan is to not be absent so long again.

This is a picture of the pass-through between our dining room and the kitchen nook. Ages ago when the Christmas cards started arriving right after Thanksgiving, I’d tape them around our dining room door frames (we have two doors) and along the chair rail. Then for some reason the last few years I just put them in a Christmas basket and set them by the tree. This year I grabbed the tape dispenser again. I didn’t think it would matter that much, but it did.

I remember my Grandma hanging a piece of large-holed netting on the wall behind their stereo cabinet, and clipping their received Christmas cards from it. Over the season it became a work-in-progress piece of art, a wall hanging of nativity scenes, green wreaths, and jolly snowmen. Whenever we’d visit, she or Grandpa would let us know who sent which card, showed us any pictures that came with it, and then there’d be a conversation about who was ‘doing what these days’. My sisters and I didn’t know who all those people were, but we knew they were important and somehow connected to our family, and they loved our grandparents.

Over the last several weeks, our cards became a work-in-progress that’s now no doubt finished. (We’ve not received a card for about 3 days so I think we’re done.) The fronts are a mix of the sacred, the snowy, the Santa-y, and the silly, and collages of family photos. I didn’t hang them in any kind of artistic order, other than this card fits this space, just simply taped as we received them. Like for Grandma and Grandpa, they bring to mind those who sent them. Whenever I’m here at the dining room table or walk through the room, I sense I’m with family and friends. They make me smile.

And seeing them displayed like this I’m struck by and reminded of how blessed Hubby and I are with the number of friends we have. (And even more friends who send Christmas and holiday greetings through Facebook!) Some of the cards included the annual family newsletter. I did good getting cards out by December 10th this year; I’m in awe of those who also put together a newsletter. I don’t know how you do it, but I enjoy every one of them. It’s like a visit with family and long-time friends, catching up with ‘who’s doing what these days’. We celebrate again, or for the first time, the addition of family members through births and marriages; and grieve again for the losses, especially with those experiencing the holidays for the first time without a loved one. We had a friend pass away on January 1 last year and we couldn’t believe it’d been a year – and only a year. Time has way of doing that weird thing of shrinking and expanding sometimes.

Over the years I’ve kept many of the collage cards and when looking at them in chronological order I get to watch children grow up and friends grow old(er) even if I’ve not been with them in person.

I keep the 12 Days of Christmas, so nothing gets taken down until at least next weekend – including the cards. The colors and images add a festive touch to the rest of the dining room décor.

As I take the cards down I sort them into ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ – those on Hubby’s Christmas card list and those on mine. Then I’ll pick a card each day and say a prayer for the sender: prayers of gratitude for friendship, for times spent together, for blessings in the new year. My other Grandma would make Christmas ornaments and decorations out of used cards.

Do you send cards? What do you do with them after the holiday?

Several weeks ago I was in Florida with two friends I’ve had since kindergarten and the topic of Girl Scout Brownies came up. Immediately the Brownie song came to mind, ‘Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.’ We didn’t attempt singing it in a round like we used to do at Brownie meetings.

Going into 2023 I’m grateful for friends I’ve had since kindergarten, for friends I’ve met along the way, friends I’ve connected and reconnected with – and stay connected to – through my blog. I look forward to more posts this year and visiting with you.

Wishing all of you a happy, peaceful, adventurous, 2023!

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4 Responses to Renewing Friendships and Christmas Cards

  1. Great, thoughtful post as always. Made me smile

  2. Claire A Iannini says:

    Happy New Year, dear friend. LOVED the post, especially the pic of the cards!
    Miss seeing you more often. Have a safe, happy, and healthy New Year – 2023!!

    • Happy New Year to you too! And thank you. I really was surprised at how pretty the cards looked like that and happy I decided to tape them up again. Back to tradition! Miss you too my lovely friend. We need to plan a bit better this year lol. May this year be full of joy and adventure! Love you 🙂

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