Each year a few weeks before Christmas mother would get her address book out and begin addressing the envelopes for the Christmas cards to be mailed to friends and family. I first remember helping her with this process when I was in 4th or 5th grade and she let me address the envelopes and keep track of who we had mailed a card to. As the years progressed the process changed from mother selecting and purchasing the cards, addressing the envelopes and signing the cards to only selecting the cards and I did the rest. Mother always wanted the card (and all Christmas decor for that matter: wrapping paper, ornaments, etc.) to depict the true meaning of Christmas so we never bought cards with Santa or cartoonish designs. We did have several that had Christmas music type themes and she never seemed to really like whatever I suggested. Since I’ve been on my own I try to adhere to her standards on card selection as I understand them but sometimes I veer away more than she probably appreciates. I continue to send a few Christmas cards each year.
I do not really recall what we did with the Christmas cards we received but I believe that we stood the cards up on display on the piano and on the stereo cabinet. I think at least once we put them on a large mirror we had in the living room. Whatever it was it was not anything emphasized because I really don’t remember them at all. I did find a photo taken in 1983, when I was 23 and my brother was 6, that shows cards displayed on the stereo cabinet and in the window sill. Interestingly, I did find a couple of photos that have the Christmas cards that my grandparents received that show how they displayed them. My dad’s parents pinned them to a curtain and my mom’s mother used the molding of the paneling as a way to display the cards.
Of all the Christmas cards we received over the years, I have only found four that we kept and three of them we undoubtedly kept because they have photos on them. Shown below is a Christmas card with a photo of my dad that my grandparents sent for Christmas 1938. I also have two other photo Christmas cards that are of my maternal grandmother’s neighbors during the early 1940’s. Additionally, I have a card I made and gave to my parents in 1976 plus a letter that I sent to my grandparents dated December 4, 1975.