The song “White Christmas” contains the line, “… with every Christmas card I write.”
In the 1950’s, beginning in November, my mother would load our dining room table with cards, envelopes, stamps, and her address book. She would spend long hours at the table, smiling with satisfaction as she placed a check mark after the name of each completed card. I was then coerced into licking both the postage stamp and the flap of the envelope.
Before cell phones and the internet, a Christmas card was the way everyone shared a compressed version of the events that happened in your family that year. Each card was personal, letting the receiver know they were thought about and cared for. So many cards were sent in December back then that letter carriers delivered mail two or three times a day.
I’ve tried to keep the tradition of cards going. Each year brings me the sad obligation of changing a “Mr. & Mrs.,” to either a “Mr.” or a “Mrs.,” pruning of the list of our friends due to loss. Each year also brings me, as my mother before, the smile of satisfaction as I check off the name of those still on my list, or those I’ve been able to add throughout the year. This is a Holiday tradition I cherish, and continue to hold sacred.
I want you to know that while I may not, as the song goes, “hear sleigh bells ring …,” I’m still dreaming of a White Christmas, with every Christmas card I write.
— Blog entry by Bill Berens, cousin of Sister Terry Walter; photo of Bill as a child with his mother and sister visiting Santa Claus in 1946; contributed photo.