with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Signs of Christmas Missing in Our New Home

I looked around at our pitiful excuse of a Christmasy home and realized that something I’ve taken for granted was missing. It’s absence actually hurt when I recognized it. Silliness. But still, it hurts.

We have no Christmas cards. I know it is silly, but living in Israel we rarely got an advertisement in the mail let alone a card from anyone until Christmas. Then the cards and end-of-the-year stories of the lives of our friends and relatives would start showing up. They’d slow down by February, since the mail takes so long to get there, but for three to four months I would actually be excited about the mail box. By the middle of February, the mail box would become empty and boring again and life would go on. Brent, if he remembered, would check it and pick up the odd bill or two once in a while and toss the occasional mail box stuffers trying to sell us kosher pizza with tuna and carrots on it. No, thanks.

The first two years of our life in Israel, I would use the cards as decoration, stringing lines along the shelves near the windows or between the two lamps on the far wall of the living room above the table. Later I would decorate the credenzas to fill as much space as possible with their colorful pictures and graphics. As the numbers dwindled during the five years, I would add the previous years’ cards to make it look like a lot of people cared, but more to add more color to the apartment. As I would put them away at the end of the season, I’d re-read each one and think about each person and how special it was to have the bestest of friends.

Since we just arrived and about two people know our address, and some don’t even know we’ve left Israel, we have no Christmas cards. Nothing. I don’t even have the Christmas cards from the past years to hang up to add some color and sparkle to the trailer.

It’s not that I feel neglected. My email inbox is overwhelmed and I’m trying desperately to keep up with all of the emails that piled up while we were traveling and waiting for our Internet line to be hooked up. I’m not neglected. I just miss the signs of caring, the signs of Christmas for us, and the color.

With the increase in email as a way to communicate, I hope the art of the Christmas card doesn’t die off. They bring such a smile.

As for me, maybe I’ll go to the dollar store and get some cheap cards and pretend they are the ones that came from friends. I know you are all thinking about us, many of you missing us a lot more than others as you become accustomed to our absence. We’re thinking about you a lot, too, and I mailed off notes and gifts to you over the past couple of weeks in between travels and travails. And I’m working my fingers to the bone writing emails, too.

Still, I didn’t realize how much I’d miss them. Hmmm.
Mobile, Alabama

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