I love getting Christmas cards. It’s a once-a-year flurry of news, photos and greetings from distant friends and family, people I value in my life but don’t have much opportunity or reason to stay in really close contact with. It’s true that Facebook fills some of the same niche, but there’s something very special and heartwarming about finding a little pile of hand-addressed envelopes in the mailbox at the end of a wintry day.
Douglas and I settle down together on the sofa or at the kitchen table with a nip of bourbon and take turns opening them, reading them aloud to each other and sharing the enclosed photos and family updates. Because we’re a newish couple with completely different sets of friends in our pasts, this is an opportunity to review and remind each other about the people who have figured in our lives that we haven’t had a chance to meet yet as a twosome. It’s another way we’re learning each other’s stories.
I have to admit, I have not always been great about sending out Christmas cards of my own. It takes a fair amount of planning and organization, never my strong suit, at a time when I’m already scrambling to get everything done. Plus, there’s the additional outlay of cash for cards and stamps, no small thing if you have a lengthy list of friends and family. So there have been many years when I just haven’t bothered.
But Douglas is so good about this stuff. He really values the ritual of writing an annual Christmas card, the self-limiting nature and depth of the message one can include, the satisfying, tactile experience of writing and sealing and stamping. Plus, being a cartoonist and a craftsman, he designs a card each year that reflects something about the world or our lives. And that makes the whole process a whole lot more interesting and personal for both of us.
Last year, our card was so much fun I’m delighted to be able to share it again here. We’ve both come to enjoy the crows who visit us on a daily basis, so it was a real pleasure to incorporate them into our holiday greetings to friends and family. We got a lot of good response, too, from people who loved the surprise of finding such a comical, common character delivering the hopeful and festive greetings of the season.
But after all, isn’t that part of the message of Christmas, that the commonest among us has the potential for divinity? And surely, among all the friendly beasts who gathered at the stable to adore the baby Jesus, there must have been a curious black crow perched overhead on a dark rafter, wondering what was in it for him.
I hope you enjoy this Christmas crow and share his message of good cheer with your friends and family.