I love holiday cards. I always have. My parents sent a picture of Hilary and me every year, religiously, so I grew up with the tradition. The photographs from each year of our childhood are all displayed, framed in my parents’ kitchen now. I start thinking about my annual card in the summer and feel rising excitement as we get closer and closer to the season when the mailbox is stuffed with pictures and updates from around the world.
I suspect that part of why I love the tradition of sending cards is how disparate my friends are; people I love are scattered around the world, from my childhood in Europe to my sleepover camp days to my college friends who are not nearby. I spend hours choosing the photograph(s) for our card, but I’m equally as interested in the words that accompany the images. The other day I pulled out the box I keep copies of each year’s card (and birth announcement, christening and birthday party invitation, and Valentine card, and so on). It was wonderful to leaf through them, to remember where I – and we – were each year, to trace Grace and Whit’s astonishing growth.
2002 – With a photograph of an infant Grace, Matt, and myself, I included James Baldwin’s lines: “Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.”
2003 and 2004 – I just used a single picture of Grace, and a simple card that said “Peace and Joy”
2005 – I began working with an outstanding designer, of Beaumont Design. The cards from now on always had several pictures. This year it said “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
2006 – “Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time”
2007 – “Dona Nobis Pacem” (inside, the translation: grant us peace)
2008 – “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” (the only phrase I’ve ever repeated, and that’s mostly because I believe it so fiercely)
2010 – “May the wind be always at your back.” (from one of my favorite prayers, which begins “may the road rise to meet you“)
2011 – “Happy Everything”
2012 – Another of my most beloved quotes. Many of you will receive it soon.
Do you send holiday cards? Do you like the tradition?
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