Right on schedule…

Tonight we all sat down and signed Christmas cards.  J’s signature -because it’s not just that he writes his name…he writes it WITH FLAIR!- takes up space.  Dada is a “chicken-scratch” kind of dude; I am linear and vertical, and TGG is a minimalist.  J is all curves and loops, a bodacious and abundant presence on paper.  If he has to merely write his name, he does it neatly; for Christmas and other greeting cards, he goes to town with style.

We refer to sending out Christmas cards as the one time during the year when people get proof positive that we are weird.  Allow me to explain…

Our cards this year are cream-colored, and on them is stamped a red stocking with a very light gray-blue cuff.  The stamp was created with a cookie cutter and a potato.  Inside the cards read “happy holidays,” except for the one card that I messed up because Dada was making me laugh.  That one reads “holly, jolly Xmas.”  On the back, all our last names’ initials and the year are printed very small…we all signed in red ink.  In other words, our cards are cheap, but they are -as usual- something that we enjoyed doing together.

Usually, in the middle of this task, I have a crisis of confidence.  I look at the cards and mope, announcing that -once more- we are going to have the card that everyone says “oh, it’s from THEM!” as soon as they open it and it doesn’t look shiny, glossy or like it came from a box.  This is the part where my forehead usually thunks against the table.  Immediately following my bout of misery, Dada goes into his annual speech about how people pay a lot of money for cards like these, and then he says that all I have to do is print a little note (in nice paper) that says “this card was produced with recycled materials, organic paints, and eco-friendly ink.”  That’s when I insert a hardee-har-har, smack him upside the head with a card and he sticks his tongue out at me.  We call this the Annual Card-Signing Ritual, and it hasn’t really changed much except for those years when we have succumbed to our desire to meet the social standards and have marched to the store to grab a box of cards with a see-through lid and a beautifully scripted sentiment.

J doesn’t quite enjoy “those” cards or the store-bought wrapping paper as much as he enjoys the mess we make creating our own.  J looks forward to those nights when, with the dining table cleared of all things not conducive to stamping wrapping paper or cards, we all sit down and spread paint on potatoes and then stamp stamp stamp patterns all over paper.  Inevitably, the morning after is spent scrubbing the wood to make sure all the traces of stockings, trees, candy canes, snowmen, etc. are no longer visible.

So far this year, we’ve stamped paper for all the presents I had to wrap, and the presents are wrapped; labels have been made and numbered to indicate which Day of Christmas the packages get handed over to the recipients; Christmas cards are stamped, signed and ready to be stuffed into envelopes.  We are right on time.  We are on schedule.  We are doing so well that all the rain that has been forecast for our area will impede the progress of Operation Christmas Tree…when predictions range between 60 and 90% chance of rain for the next five days, you HAVE to call that a glitch.  We are thinking that the tree can be bought on Sunday and left on the deck to drain until Monday…but, as we know, the best laid plans of mice, men and our family…

SO, there you have it…we are clipping along nicely.  We are on track in spite of minor inconveniences, insecurities and doubts…  A week from now I will be talking about how the First Day of Christmas went…

Which begs the question: where did this year GO?????


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