Another Christmas has come and gone and with it the latest round of cards but this time it’s left me wishing I’d actually kept some over the years. Last year I was shocked to learn that a friend’s husband had died just a month before Christmas, this year I read that another friend’s husband is now on oxygen 24/7 and my brother-in-law is in end stage respiratory failure. It was very confronting, there’s no ignoring the fact my friends and I are now nearing the ends of our lives. If I think back over the years and the Christmas cards we shared, they covered all the significant events in our lifetimes.
I probably started sending Christmas cards when I left Australia on the almost obligatory backpacking jaunt to Europe in the 1970s. Although I wrote weekly to my parents it was the annual Christmas cards that shared my travel experiences with my friends. Some were married before I left but the news of other engagements and marriages came in Christmas cards. Babies arrived so then photos were often enclosed in the Christmas cards.
Other significant happy events like buying a home, children starting school or holiday news were shared. As time went on the news changed to include the graduations, employment, engagements, marriages etc of children usually followed by the births of grandchildren.
For many years I received lovely hand made cards from a friend’s mother then she sent commercially produced ones until finally there was no card and I read in her daughter’s Christmas card that she’d died.
As I think back over all the years and all the information we’ve shared about our lives I wish I still had the written record. Postage has become more expensive, two cards that came this year from overseas had stamps on them worth £1.30 or $2.65 AUD so even people like me who’ve been sending Christmas cards for years are actually reconsidering.
I doubt that my grandchildren will ever send Christmas cards, emails and social media are the current communication methods and they’re free. I could say they’re usually deleted and lost forever but so are all the cards and stories I’ve thrown away over the last 46 years. If only I’d understood how important they really were.