Oh, Christmastime. That wonderful time of the year that is filled with hustle and bustle, hot cocoa, cold snowflake kisses and the glorious feeling of giving to others is upon us once more. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or something else, it’s a time of great reflection, hopefulness, peace and joy. Cookies are baked, gifts are wrapped and we celebrate the gift of the season with those we cherish most.
Except when it’s time to send those Christmas cards.
Mind you, I enjoy the process of sending out cards, especially personalized cards. Our list has dwindled over the years, but I still find the same joy in creating photographic greetings for many or few. For at least 10 years, Hubby has been “designated finder” and has successfully found quite a few great deals on photo cards through Groupon. However, this is as far as he goes with Christmas cards. I know many folks who have opted to stop sending cards, but I can’t seem to stop this tradition. Even when it drives me crazy.
Every year, I search for the perfect photos for the front of the chosen 5 x 7 template. While our daughter was young, it was much easier to place her before our decorated Christmas tree, snap off a few pictures and create a very festive greeting to send to family and friends. Even into her young adulthood, we were able to capture a picture of our Christmas tree hunting or snag a photo with the Big Guy in Red. For the past two holidays that she has lived out of the house, she has asked to remain on the family card. This makes the job of creating the “perfect card” a little more difficult.
Last year’s Christmas card project caused my husband to pour me several glasses of wine as I uttered words that were only used by Ralphie’s father in A Christmas Story. Photographs were either too grainy or too large for the template frames. Other times, the photographs disappeared entirely, which meant that I had to recreate the entire card after at least an hour of work. I tried to work from my phone, but that proved fruitless because my fingers, which at that point were referred to as “sausages,” were too large to hit the smaller editing tools. It was a fiasco that lasted four hours. I prayed to the photo gods that they would be merciful and last year’s card ended up kind of cute, all things considered. Although the printer didn’t align the labels properly, I still managed to get the cards in the mail before Old Saint Nick shimmied himself down the chimney.
This year, as I announced the time had come to create the yearly Christmas card, Hubby stated simply, “Just use boxed cards.” He also scoped out a place that he and the dog could hide, should I spontaneously revert to last year’s “Crabby Patty.” “It’s your project, sweetheart,” he mumbled. “Good luck.”
Our original plan was to get our daughter to accompany us to a tree farm in Cutchogue for an old tradition we held dear: cutting down the Christmas tree. That plan backfired when our daughter ended up with a sore throat that she caught from a student, so we ended up with a tree from Home Depot and she ended up with a tree from Lowe’s. Instead, I gleaned my phone’s camera roll to find the perfect shots from family gatherings over the past year.
The entire process still took me the better part of 90 minutes to fit the photos perfectly into the supplied frames. Those photos highlighted some of our best moments of 2021 and when Hubby brought the finished products home from Staples this afternoon, I was delighted with the results. I’m not as technologically challenged as I originally thought.
For some reason, the printer is not communicating with the computer to print out address labels. After last year, where I literally cut them off the label page in order to get the entire address on the envelope, I decided it was just easier to hand-write the addresses instead. I have a box of beautiful foil labels that will never be used because I still don’t understand how to get the labels to print correctly. It’s fine. A little writer’s cramp never hurt anybody.
Next year, I may opt for boxed cards. However, I am so grateful and relieved that our Christmas Photo Card tradition lives to see another year.
May each of you have a wonderful holiday season, dear readers. I wish you joy, peace, health and love in the new year.
Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.