One of the things about Canadian Winter, even as early as December, is the way everything turns white and pale. The sky might be blue, but often it’s grey, the trees are their grey-brown palest, and the evergreens end up covered with snow. White is everywhere.
That’s one of the reasons I love Christmas cards. They’re like little splashes of colour, with lovely sentiments inside, and a reminder that that light will, indeed, come back, and when it does, it will bring the rest of the colour wheel back with it.
Every year, when we put up the Christmas cards, it’s a sweet reminder of how many people we know throughout the world, and even if maybe sometimes we sit down to write the cards we’re sending out and think, man, this is gonna take forever, I try to remember how much I enjoy receiving them.
Now, before this sounds like a guilt trip, we’ve skipped years, too. Sometimes, you just don’t have it in you to put pen to paper. When our friends were in the early baby/toddler years, there was radio silence across the board for years at a time (because who has time for that?) In the colourless months, I totally get it: self care comes first. Get through how you get through.
And hey, even winter finds ways to bring us a dash of colour now and then.
One of the things I try to do to remain organized (ha!) is keep the cards from the previous year. That way I can look at them to make sure we’ve sent out cards to everyone we meant to (if we relied on memory we’d mess it up). A few years ago, this led to me realizing that I had a card from Dan’s grandmother, who had passed that year. We put it up again, smiling at it (it’s a lovely card, of two robins, and specifically addressed to both of us, which is a huge deal to me).
As the years have gone by, we have more than one card now we put up on a yearly basis from someone who has passed. These last cards are bittersweet, but they’re very much like splashes of colour against winter’s white: they’re a reminder of those we’ve lost, but in a way that returns their voice to us, with loving greetings and warm wishes.
So they go back up.