Saturday, December 6, 2008


With Every Christmas Card I Write

As the calendar pages turn and the years go by, it seems some long held traditions are increasingly susceptible to evaporation. Women in white gloves at Sunday services, men in dress hats and overcoats nodding to one another along busy weekday sidewalks, the far off sound of mother’s voices heard through neighborhood streets as they call their children home from outdoor play at suppertime, always adding a few more syllables than the name actually possesses. Once commonplace, I fear these sights and sounds are long gone now. One can look for them only in books, on film and in the halls of memory. Here in my own little world, I do try to keep alive meaningful customs and traditions that I sometimes fear are perilously close to the endangered list, and I think my life the richer for the effort. I still hand write thank you notes, still keep fresh flowers in my rooms, I do RSVP and I do not wear white at weddings, or after Labor Day. I take a gift when I’m invited to dinner, I attend funerals, dine by candlelight, I still even iron my sheets, God help me. And, I still send Christmas cards. In fact, one of the most delightful aspects of the entire festive season is, for me, the Christmas card. In a special wooden box, I have kept every card the Songwriter and I have sent out during the many years of our marriage. Each Christmas, as I add another, I take out all those from years past and enjoy them once more, each one reminding me of who we were then.

The hunt for the perfect card begins in the summer. For a few years in a row I had the luxury of being in Britain during the fall season when the shops were already stocked for the holidays. What bliss! No one does Christmas like the British. For three years straight, I found the perfect card there. Then the next year, naturally, I was spoiled. No card I found even approached the bar set so high by those wonderful elves in the UK. So, I decided to create my own. And lo, another tradition was born. Now it seems, everyone expects an original Christmas card from me each season and the ritual has become much more involved. But, how I do love it. With mellow strains of Perry Como, Vivaldi and Nat King Cole playing through the house, hot tea at my elbow, furry dogs under tables that are spread with papers, inks, glitters, stamps, envelopes, embossing tools...I am in complete holiday heaven. Thinking of each person as I write their name on their envelope, I am silently thankful for their friendship and wishing them well for the coming year. Yes, it is time consuming. Yes, it costs some money. But, oh is it worth it. This year I am happy to report that I am on schedule and I’ll soon be dreaming of a White Christmas once again. With every Christmas Card I write!

Above picture is my Christmas Card from 1990

42 comments:

  1. What a nice tradition to keep. Your friends are lucky indeed to receive one of your lovingly made cards.

    As for bygone things, the sounds of children at play is what I miss the most. It is a sad world when children aren't able to roam freely in the neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How do I get on your Xmas card list! ;)

    I keep almost every single one of the traditions you do . . . I like holding on to that stuff. It reminds me of my parents, who I know would appreciate that I do keep the old ideas alive.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Keeping up the niceties of life is so precious. The starched linen napkins and matching tablecloth, the flowers and candles reflected in crystal and silver, the warm glow of polished wood and the most megre of vittles can be made into a celebration.
    St.Nick left home made vanilla crescents, beautifully iced ginger bread and fudge in our shoes yesterday morning, to-day the family will gather in our daughter's house just down hill to celebrate the 2nd. Advent. Thrilling preparations are in train for Christmas. For years I too have made my own cards.
    Before we can fully launch into the above, we shall celebrate our daughter's half century on Tuesday, and have a party on Saturday. My husband has a b-day on the 23rd. and then the grand finale with setting up the tree and celebrating on Christmas eve. Life is still full of beauty and great joy. I wish we too had a white Christmas but I suppose somewhere the sun must shine.
    My love to Edward as well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are a girl after my own heart. I adore tradition and especially those we create with our own families at Christmas time. Beautiful post, xv.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely tradition. I always make mine Pamela - this year, for the first time, I am using a photograph which David took. I do so agree about keeping the old traditions alive. Enjoy your carding.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I, too, send far too many cards -- all handwritten -- no Christmas letters for us! But I've not ever done handmade cards -- how great for those who receive one of your cards!

    At Linderhof, we too, keep to the tradition of candles and flowers for dinner, polished wood and shining silver. Real napkins only for meals.

    It's nice to find another kindred spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Add me to the "Me Too" list though I no longer iron my sheets: with 4 children it became too time consuming. I still iron pillow cases and the border of the sheets on the guest room beds.
    Your card is lovely and its recipients very fortunate indeed! happy season, Pamela and thank you for all the gifts your blog bestows on your readers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How very lovely it must be, to be included on your Christmas card list! Traditions are soooo important. I always smile to myself when my children say something like, "But Mom, we always......!"
    Happy Holidays to you and your furries.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, I love your list of traditions...many we still do...

    I used to make our Christmas Cards too...but it was a few years ago I stopped (It was always my fave part of the Christmas ritual too)I thought I would get them out for New Years...but didn't and haven't since. Feel guilty.

    Your card you made is ABSOLUTELY beautiful! Frameable! So cozy looking! I hope you show us this years card!

    ReplyDelete
  10. handmade cards are the best, I make mine too.

    Personally i think the British are starting to overdo Christmas....

    ReplyDelete
  11. Beautiful tradition! I love the fact that you keep one of the cards you send each year! I wish I would have thought of that! Your card in the post is beautiful, looks like a painting that should be on display all year round...

    I must say, you are a beautiful writer. I love reading your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  12. God help us both.

    I don't iron my sheets, though. ;^)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I like to read your posts out loud here at the teak topped desk and this one, as many others left me feeling as if I was tucked in a soft arm chair right there with you. Winnie and I having popped in from the cool night to have tea with you, Edward & Apple. I confess to not really partaking in many of the rituals & traditions that you speak of but I do so admire your championing of them.

    We are sending Christmas cards out this year and I must get cracking ... hugs from Nova Scotia S, Miss W Dixon, Bleet, Oliver & Gus

    ReplyDelete
  14. what a lovely image you create with a treasure box containing a card from each year of your Christmas ritual.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Life would be so sad if we did not carry on with those simple niceties like holiday cards and thank you notes.
    It is those little things that give life meaning.
    I certainly will always cut flowers for my home and show those in my life how much they mean to me by writing them cards and bringing gifts to their homes.
    Happy Holidays!

    xo
    Brooke

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's all these little traditions that add up and make the Holidays so very special. I love the idea of keeping a card you have sent in a special little box. What a wonderful keepsake box that must be now.
    Deb

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yesterday evening I sat down at our big table in the living room and did write a big bundle of Christmas cards..By candle light and the lights from the christmas tree!Every year I am happy to be there and able to write yet another Chrismas wish..
    Traditions are important..:)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Pamela, You struck a nerve with that post. I endeavor to keep some of the older, more sentimental things in my life as well. When my late Mother died, I wrote hand written letters on black bordered Crane's stationery, not funeral home supplied than you cards. I don't send letters like I should or birthday cards, but I aspire to be better. I nodded when you said Vivaldi, Nat King Cole, Perry Como. I just downloaded Kate Smith's remastered Christmas album. It brings back so many memories from my childhood. Things do take extra effort, but not that much extra. Your style is very romantic and old fashioned and I love it.
    In my world, houses are white, Christmas trees are real and green and a little extra effort brings me real joy. When I retire, I will make all my christmas cards from scratch. I've done it before, I just don't have the time now.
    A wonderful post. I'm about to go enjoy a cup of tea now. Give Mr. Edward a pat on the head.

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's wonderful to keep traditions. I'm surrounded by so many in the UK and each family has their own ones too. In an age of so much commercialism, it's good to be able to find some space to think about those you love and send them a well thought out card. Sometimes it can be the only contact you keep with some people so it's importance can't be underestimated.

    ReplyDelete
  20. It is nice to hold onto traditions. I'm sure your Chritmas cards are looked forward to with anticipation by their recipients!

    I handwrite a note in my Chritmas cards to update distant family and friends of our news of the year. It is time consuming but much more personal than a reproduced typed letter.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a GORGEOUS card Pamela!
    I too love tradition, and have endeavoured to make it the essential fabric of my life, especially since becoming a mother. Letter-writing and card making are two things I love, but which have fallen by the wayside the more children I have! Though as the baby years slip away I find time that is my own once more. So who knows, with luck I may actually make my cards next year!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I always enjoy reading your insightful posts.

    I left you an award on my blog.
    You can check it out at the link below!
    http://brookegiannetti.typepad.com/velvet_and_linen/2008/12/blog-love.html

    xo
    Brooke

    ReplyDelete
  23. Lovely thoughts, and you express them so exquisitely.

    Although I do
    'computer' I still value the traditions and appreciate all who do the same.

    Thank you for a beautiful blog, it's a treasure to visit.

    ~m.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful!! how do we get on that list!! Tee hee!!

    blessings,
    kari & kijsa

    ReplyDelete
  25. "What bliss! No one does Christmas like the British. For three years straight, I found the perfect card there. "

    --This is so so true. I can totally relate. Wonderful Post. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love the image you have chosen, it is so atmospheric.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love your 1990 Christmas card too and also envy the lucky friends and family who receive your hand crafted cards. I always spend time looking for the right cards, I just couldn't send ones I didn't love myself and like you, always keep one, they go in my Christmas card scrapbook.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Keeping a record of the cards you sent out each Christmas is a unique and lovely tradition.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh wonderful post Pam! I found great cards this year at Gumps, they're of two penquins walking down the beach together holding hands. Santa caps have been superimposed on their cute little heads. With all of the publicity about gay penguins out there - I thought it the perfect card for me and Scott. I would love to get on your card list though! :) I've got Christmas decor up at the blog of my living room, would love to know what you think!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm not quite sure how you found me, but welcome!

    Lovely blog you have here from the little bit of reading I've managed to do this morning. I'll be back to visit you as well!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I sit at my desk...joyfully taking time to write letters to friends each week...the mere act of putting pen to parchment is a thrill, and evokes memories of days gone by....

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hello Pamela and Edward,
    Thank you for stopping by my blog :)
    Wow, Your trinket boxes and blog are fabulous!

    We are kindred spirits.
    I miss and long for Ireland when
    I am not there. It is a wondrous place.

    This might interest you....
    AnExplorer is currently posting his blog
    while on his trip to Scotland. His blog link is on mine towards the bottom.

    Happy Holidays!! ~Kimme

    ReplyDelete
  33. Most people I know do not take much interest in choosing their Christmas cards. Perhaps it is because of my interest in art, but I love to carefully select a card each year, sometimes even sending away to get just the right one. It's like sending everyone a mini "artwork" I feel! One year, before we had children my husband and I made cards and that was really special! I really enjoyed your post...it gives me much to reflect on. Thank you.

    Gillian

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am full of admiration for all that you do.

    I like the picture today,

    ReplyDelete
  35. I should take a leaf out of your book and start my cards a bit more thoughtfully and carefully, but this year they are going to be late.
    Anyway I wanted to say how I feel for you on your father's anniversay..its very hard and only a year later will still be raw.
    However I think the McGarrigles words are beautiful..but then I love their work..especially 'Mendocino' and 'Bundle of Sorrow bundle of joy', which we bought 26 yeas ago on our first baby's first Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I just received my box of photocards today. I wish I had thought to keep all of our cards in once place. How lovely to take them out once a year to reminisce. I plan on snuggling down with a pot of tea and addresses later this week.

    I love your beautiful card! You friends are very lucky, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I save all my cards, each and evry one that I receive and give. I, like you, love to look through them and conjure up memories that have been hidden away.
    Sometimes I make my cards and sometimes I buy them, but they are always chosen with a purpose in my, a message that I want to convey to those I love and miss.
    You know, I don't live very far from you.......:)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Beautifully said, yes tradition stiches the fabric of our lives into precious hand me downs for our children to hopefully use.
    Hugs Lynn xx

    ReplyDelete
  39. Traditions add that special something.

    Merry Christmas.

    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is a wonderful post and a lovely tradition. I've sent a couple of angel drawings that I've done as Christmas cards.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Really interesting to read and I so relate to much of it. How times have changed. And I still iron my sheets!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Your card from 1990 is lovely, as are all the traditions you still keep, especially the hand-made Christmas cards - how utterly delightful! Hope you're having a fantastic weekend, and happy, happy holidays!

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!