Sniffing glitter and other holiday traditions.

There’s glitter on my keyboard and down my shirt.

No- I haven’t gone completely bonkers with the holiday decor- I’ve just been addressing Christmas and Midwinter-Holiday-Of-Your-Choice cards. And a bunch of them had glitter stuck all over the fronts for that little thrill of added excitement. And a lot of it came off all over me and my surroundings ere the cards were safely stowed in their pristine white envelopes, and now I’m sparkling. Literally.     O_O

I was sending cards to friends, family, and a number of total strangers-  (These last were mostly military stationed overseas, plus a few online friends). “Online friends” is specified because I don’t REALLY know them- I have not ever met them and I probably never will. All I know about them is what they tell me and the rest of the world. That mom of 3 in Sussex might actually be a solitaty bearded hermaphrodite hoarder with a house full of antique lizard presses, for all I know.  Which would actually be pretty interesting. But you see my point. Anyway my online friends are pretty wonderful, and I get all excited when I hear from them.

Some of the cards were for kids who wanted to get mail of their own- others were for people who were just wishing for holiday cards from SOMEONE.

I remember the Christmas when I was 3. My parents were recently divorced, and I was living with my mother in a little rented house in a bad neighborhood in a strange town. We didn’t know many people there yet. We were extremely poor, had no car, and few possessions. Oh, and no Christmas stuff. No tree, no stockings, not even a strand of ratty tinsel. We aren’t talking Dickens type poverty, but it was pretty bleak.

We got one card in the mail- it was from my mom’s insurance agent. My mom cried when she looked at it. I was clueless as to why- to a 3 year old a card is a card. I wanted to hang it up somewhere- a garland of one card- because I wanted our house to look like other people’s did.

Hell, I wasn’t expecting presents and enchanted gingerbread houses to appear- I just wanted a little normalcy.

Mom did not go for the “garland of card” idea. As an adult I see why. How lonely she must have felt, far from everyone she knew, facing an uncertain future, and burdened with a young child. I think she threw the card away, seeing it  merely as an ironic reminder of her isolation.

As I stacked envelopes into a tidy pile and sneezed glitter on a passing cat, I remembered the lone card and my mother’s initial anger at my innocent suggestion, followed by her tears. It left me pondering the meaning and purpose of holiday cards.

For some, sending and recieving them is a way of keeping in touch. Perhaps a Christmas newsletter is enclosed.  Personally, I don’t do newsletters because I figure in my case the people who care already know and the ones who don’t know probably don’t care. My friends are awesome AND low-maintenance. But I do enjoy the sense of a job well done as I pop a tidy stack of cards in the mailbox and raise the little red flag.

Some people love to send and recieve them. For others, it’s one more blasted chore on the endless list of Christmas duties.

For military far from home, any mail is good mail- it’s partly about actually hearing your name at mail call, plus a reminder that home still exists. It gets awful damn lonely out in the black… I remember. So does my husband, who was out at sea EVERY single Christmas during his enlistment.

Some people dispay the cards like piles of glitter encrusted treasure, while others toss them in a corner and rediscover them in mid January.

Do you like sending and or recieving them? Why? Would you value a card sent by a total stranger? Or would it seem creepy? Would you examine the wording carefully looking for signs of a psycho stalker? What if it was a completely anonymous card with no return address from a state you’d never visited? “Ho, Ho, Ho, I know where you live…neener neener neener…”

Ok, I totally have to send some of those now. I shall be the postal stalker what stalks by midnight! BWAHAHAHA…

But seriously, I’d love to hear what YOU think about holiday cards.

And if you’re sending some out anyway, send one to a soldier. You’ll get tons of good karma.



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