Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas Cards

I love Christmas cards, both sending and receiving them but first a little history about my penmanship.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am very particular when it comes to my handwriting. In large part I blame it all on my roots, my Catholic school roots that is. When I was growing up and learning to write in cursive (eons ago) the nuns at my Catholic school insisted that each student have a roll of wax paper. We would tear a piece of wax paper from the roll and turn to the specific page in our cursive writing book. We then began to practice going of the ABC's until it was perfect. Once our teacher approved, then and only then, could we write on the actual page of our cursive writing book. 

So now onto Christmas cards...

I love Christmas cards! It is one of my favorite Christmas holiday things to do. I start by addressing each envelope. If I make a mistake or don't like the way the pen writes or some other aspect I will get a new envelope and do it over. Depending on who the card is going to I may write a note to the family or friend the card is going to. I would include photographs of my sons and I in cards that were going to my grandfather, aunts and uncles and other close friends. As a single mother raising two boys I could not afford to send out cards to everyone and so I kept my list very small.

I like my cards to have the words "Merry Christmas" either on the front of the card or inside the card and if I can find a card that does both even better. I look for traditional Christmas cards. Ones with Santa Claus, a Nativity scene, a snowman or with a beautiful Christmas scene. 

I like to use fancy pens such as silver or gold pens to address the envelopes, I might use a felt tip pen, calligraphy pen or a ball point pen to write on the inside of the card. I also use a decorative Christmas seal on the back of the envelope that matches the color ink I use because I hate licking envelopes! While I prefer to hand write our return address, I learned early on that by the time I have written "The Kogutkiewicz's" 15 or 20 times, I get hand cramps. So I now use decorative return address labels designed for Christmas that I can print from my computer. 

For me, these little touches make our Christmas cards a little more special. I can only hope that the person who is receiving our card feels the same. The fancy pens and the seals is a tradition I started a few years ago.

Growing up my Mom would put the Christmas cards she received on one of the interior doors to display them. She has also used a decorative Christmas basket. I remember coming home from school and asking, "where are today's Christmas cards Momma?". I loved looking at the return address first, then reading the card. For me the cards were a way for me to feel closer to my maternal grandparents, all my aunts, uncles and cousins who lived out of state.

I stand my cards up on our book shelves if they are regular cards and if they are the picture cards they immediately go on my refrigerator door this way they can be seen by anyone who walks into our home. I leave them on the refrigerator all year and when the new ones arrive, I take them down and put them in a photo box. At some point in time I will put them in a scrapbook. I also jot down a few notes or remarks on the back for future use.

I do like receiving the Christmas card photos that are very poplar right now. It allows me to see a special moments in the lives of my family and friends. For instance my brother, Billy and his wife would send out photo cards when their children were small with all of them decked out in their red NC State Wolfpack shirts, sweaters or sweatshirts. 

Above is an example of some of the photo cards we received last year at Christmas.

The top left corner is a photo card from our Parrot Head friends, Tim and Ann. She incorporated pictures of her family throughout 2013 for everyone to see. Notice the palm tree and the ocean on the card. Just right for any Parrot Head sending out photo cards! 

In the top right corner is the photo card from my sister in law, Lisa and her family. I love how Lisa included her little fur baby's name with the rest of the family. 

In the bottom left is the photo card from my sister, Susie and her family. My sister Susie used her picture of my niece and nephews with Santa Claus and then incorporated each of children separately. 

The photo card in the bottom middle is from our friend Jeannie and her family. I love how she incorporated the wedding pictures of her son and daughter with their new spouses. It allowed Jeannie to share the newest members of her family with everyone.

In the far right bottom corner is the photo card from my sister Kathy and her family. They are all decked out in the Carolina Panthers shirts, showing their Panther pride! Kathy sent two different cards last year using the same picture. The second photo card was a 2014 calendar. I love how she included her fur baby's name in with the family names too.

I love all of the cards I receive each year. It gives me the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends I don't see as often as I would like and hopefully my cards to them do the same for each of them.

Copyright © Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz 2014


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