The Forgotten Tradition of Christmas Cards

Don’t Let it Slip Away

Have you ever wondered whatever happened to Christmas Cards? Do you remember receiving piles of holiday wishes from family and friends in the days of Christmas past? Have you seen your received pile dwindle year after year? I know I have, and I’m not happy about it. I just finished up our cards and took them up to the post office, for speedy delivery to their Christmas destinations. As I dropped my bundle of cards into the slot it made me wonder, how much longer are people going to be sending out Christmas Cards?

Growing up in Detroit, I remember checking the daily mail for the next batch of seasons greetings. Along with the Christmas catalogs, which threatened to rip the mailbox right off the side of the house. After we received our cards, my Dad would tuck them into the molding on our ceiling. Since we had a coved ceiling, he was able to put up a colorful display that surrounded our living room with holiday wishes. When my wife and I were house-hunting over 25 years ago, the two things that instantly attracted me to our house were the fireplace and coved ceiling in the living room. I have continued the tradition my Dad started all those years ago.  

Since we live in a digital world, it seems like something as old-fashioned as Christmas Cards is on the endangered species list. Kids these days seem to have no interest in picking out just the right cards for their family and friends. I’m sure Hallmark is greatly disturbed by this trend and the alarming dip in their Christmas Card sales. It probably explains why their cable channel starts pushing out those cheesy Christmas movies as early as July and keeps them coming right up until the big day. 

To be honest, I get it. Christmas Cards can be a pain in the butt. Many years ago, I automated as much of the process as possible. Generating printed labels, and using stickers to seal the envelopes, has sped-up the procedure considerably. It used to be a much bigger job, but we don’t send out as many cards as we used to either. However, I have recently added all of our nieces and nephews to our Christmas Card list, and that has pumped up the card total considerably. Hopefully, this will encourage them to send out their own Christmas Cards, thereby preserving a beloved holiday tradition. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye out for your Christmas Card in my mailbox. Don’t leave me hangin’ like Charlie Brown. 

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Christmas Eve Bowling

What’s Your Holiday Tradition?

All families have their holiday traditions. Our family has Christmas Eve Bowling. It all started back in the sixties, when my two brothers, sister, and I were just little bowlers. A few years earlier, Christmas Eve had become the big day around our house. Keeping four hyper kids from doing midnight recon missions on Christmas Eve proved to be too much of a challenge for my Mom and Dad. The solution was to move the main event to Christmas Eve, after dinner. Even with the earlier start time, I can only imagine the pandemonium my parents had to put up with. That’s when they hit on a brilliant idea. Take the kids up to the local bowling alley and leave them there!

And that’s just what they did! I was about eleven years old when Dad took us up to the Fantasy Lanes on the east side of Detroit and left us there one snowy Christmas Eve afternoon. Then he hurried home to help Mom finish the holiday preparations. Being the oldest bowler, I was left in charge of these temporary orphans. I really don’t remember much about that first bowling competition. There’s a good chance that I threw my weight around a little, drunk with my Dad’s gift of Christmas Eve Authority. As we grew older, the tradition eventually faded away.

However, when my oldest son Jeff was three years old, and my brother Steve’s son Bret was two, we decided to start it up again. Since then, this annual bowling event has grown in size to include my other brother and sister, their kids, and their kids’ boyfriends and girlfriends. Since Mom and Dad have passed on to that big bowling alley in the sky, they are surely attending in spirit. Smiling down on us, as we continue the cherished tradition of Christmas Eve Bowling. A few years ago, one of Dad’s trophies was added to the competition. The Jerry Walker Lambert (J Dubbs) Trophy is fought over every year with great relish. Merry Christmas, Mom & Dad! We love you and miss you!

In recognition of the holiday season, this blog is going on hiatus until after the New Year. Please check back on January 3rd for a new posting. To you and yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!