Christmas greetings

Every year, it’s the same thing: I send out a bunch of Christmas cards. And every year, I get about four cards in return.

OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. Maybe eight. Hey, I get it: People are busy. I appreciate electronic greetings just as much as paper ones. It’s a lot easier to send an online card or a message that says “OMG MERRY XMAS” on Facebook.

I’ve been feeling stupid for the last few years, wondering why I still send cards. Am I being an old traditionalist? I do seem to be edging closer all the time to the HEY YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN mindset.

Is it obligation? Old habits? I used to be the earliest sender among my friends and family, mostly stemming from a habit of my retail days — either you wrote your cards on Thanksgiving night or they never got sent!

But this year, I figured out why I still send out Christmas cards.

Thanks, Mom, for reminding me.

My mother loved Christmas. And looking back at our Christmases as kids, I realize it was her spirit that filled the house at Christmas.

My dad was always a part of the festivities and liked the holidays too — he held the position of Official Cursing-At-Christmas-Lights-To-Get-Them-To-Untangle Supervisor — but Mom in particular loved giving presents and surprising people, and I’ve inherited that from her — I love the giving of presents way more than getting them (yes, really!)

momchristmasI remember all of our Christmas cards taped to our front hallway wall, and I can remember just sitting in our darkened living room, watching the Christmas lights and our decoration lights.

And since it was Pennsylvania in December, we usually had snow on the ground, too.

I still send cards because it’s a ritual, and because it reminds me of my mom, who left us a few years ago.

My partner and I are still trying to figure out our rituals, and while I love my partner very much, he tests my patience by being a total Scrooge when it comes to decorations and the fuss over Christmas.

So here I am, with red and black pens and Christmas music in the background, writing my list and checking it twice…and making out those cards. And I hope that your Christmases past, present and future are peaceful and bright.

Speaking her name

A long time ago, September 11th was just a date on the calendar.

Eight years ago, it became a symbol of the horrific terrorist attacks that happened in New York, Washington, and a town not far from my hometown in Pennsylvania. That town, Shanksville, was where one of the hijacked planes crashed before reaching its destination (the White House).

There’s a great project, The 2996 Project, and its mission is to take the focus away from the perpetrators and refocus it on the people who lost their lives that day. That’s accomplished by having talented writers and bloggers research their lives and remind us in words who they were. It’s a magnificent idea that many in the blogging community are embracing.

I hope that fellow bloggers will understand that I am not participating in this wonderful project, because there is someone very close to me that I lost on a very different September 11th two years ago.

I want to tell her story, too, so that people will not forget who she was.