Almost every Christmas when my sisters and I were young my parents would dress us in our holiday finest and trot us down to the Augusta Mall for a videotaped visit with The Man Himself. The videos have a place of honor in a cabinet in the living room now, snuggled up with the Disney movies and sing-a-long tapes, recognizable by their red cardboard boxes and descriptions scrawled in my dad's barely legible handwriting: "Greer and Chelsea- Santa 1989" or "The Girls See Santa- 1993". Every so often they are dusted off, rewound, and played for everyone's amusement and nostalgia. There's the Santa with the story about the squirrels, there's the year my hair was especially atrocious, there's the year that Mom and Dad's hair and glasses were almost identical in their enormity. Watching those videos reminds me of that feeling of joy and anticipation that I always identified with the approach of the holidays (and still do). So this year we are taking Laine (in her holiday finest, of course) to the mall to meet Santa. And while I am sure we will record the occasion on my Flip (I don't even know if they videotape for you anymore), I am most excited to capture her reaction and then mail it to our nearest and dearest for this year's Christmas cards.
My family never really did cards... we received a few and put them dutifully on the fridge or in a basket, but I don't recall ever having a family photoshoot or helping my mom compile stats for a newsletter to wow the relatives we never talk to otherwise. It wasn't until the first year that Joe and I were married and got Libby (who was super festive in her holly collar) that I had any desire to send out a Christmas card myself and spent weeks on Shutterfly agonizing over which card to use with which pictures and how many to order and yadda yadda yadda. I get that some people may consider cards wasteful in this modern age when it would be so much easier and cheaper to just send everyone a facebook message with a link to the album full of pictures of Laine and The Man Himself, I feel that there is nothing that quite matches the joy of a tangible paper card with a handwritten address... I know I love this time of the year in part because it's the only time when there is something other than bills and magazines in our mailbox and something other than the gym schedule and coupons on our fridge.
So this year will begin a new tradition in our home of taking our kid (one days kidS) to the mall to see Santa. And while we will not have a cabinet full of VHS tapes to commemorate each year and to watch the steady march of time from one Christmas to the next, we will have a little box of Christmas cards in a closet or an attic, tangible and precious, for her to look back on. Who knows what she will have to say about my hair...
** Yep, I'm willing to sell out a little to make this Christmas card thing happen. My husband is kind of a Scrooge, y'all, so I gotta do my part to make my Christmas dreams come true. Bloggers, interested in scoring some free Christmas cards from Shutterfly? Check it out- they're the jam.