Joy of Holiday Cards

Today I spent the day making holiday cards to mail.    I stamped and painted all my holiday cards and then stamped my envelopes as well.   I thoroughly enjoyed the process though most would say I was nuts to make something handmade that will likely end up in the trash after the holiday season.   But it okay for me.  I enjoyed thinking about the people I knew we were sending them to.

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I love to get holiday cards and yes the infamous Christmas letters.   I love to hear from friends and families we have known for years and life has altered our course such that we are no longer living close by.   I  read them when they arrive and again once the holiday is over.   I think about the people who sent them and how our paths crossed.  I love to catch up if only once a year.   I love to see the pictures that folks share and how they have changed. .   I love it all because they took time to “say hi.”

It used to be that many more folks sent holiday cards. Folks drop you an email and that seems to be where we are going.   I know it is expensive to purchase cards and the cost of postage is nothing to sneeze at.   I know people’s time is often more precious than the  money, so spending an evening or Sunday  doing cards is hard for some folks to justify.     All of these are some of the many  reasons why the tradition is fading away.

In this hurry up, always on, electronic age it is fun to get a piece of happy mail on a cold snowy night and remember the people in your life.   Thanks to everyone who send me a card, photo or letter this year.   To everyone that I sent to I hope you enjoy.

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Christmas Cards – Going, Going, Gone

I think that the  tradition of sending cards to family and friends at Christmas time is fading away.    It seems sad to me that it is so.   Our list is made up of friends and family  scattered across the country.    It is full of friends that we have made in the many places we have lived.   They each have contributed to the color of our lives and helped to make us who we are today.  For me a card is a nice way to say “Hi” and you are important to me.

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This year I made my cards again.   Usually I pick one design and make a bundle of  cards in a single design.   This year I bought a designer paper collection from the local craft store including 12 pieces of two-sided paper and a sheet of stickers.    I decided that I would provide my own card base from my stash and make as many cards as possible from this collection.   I finished with 70 holiday cards and one thank-you.

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I have had a nasty cold this last week and it was a great step into and out of project.    I kept myself on task by posting each as I finished it on Pinterest.   You can see each card by visiting my Pinterest page.

When we were done RangerSir stepped up to the plate to help me get them addressed and out the door.

 

Movie Night a Holiday Tradition

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As we watch a movie it moves from the left unwatched pile to the right side viewed this year pile.

Every family has holiday traditions one of ours is to watch a holiday movie every night starting the day after Thanksgiving.  We started this tradition years ago when we got the ABC Family station and they had 25 days of Christmas shows and movies.   Some of what was shown was classic holiday shows, some shows were new and others were reruns from previous years.  Each night we watched what they presented. It was time for popcorn, turn on tree lights and have romantic evening on the couch with RangerSir.

This inspired us to create our own collection.   We have been collecting holiday movies now for years.   Some DVDs in our collection are classics and others are multipacks put out by Hallmark or other source.   Even though we have quite a stash now, we still find ourselves pulled to the $5 bin at Kmart or browsing Amazon looking for something that we don’t yet have.  New things are coming out and even old classics are being discounted all the time. We have enough now that we don’t watch everything every year.

The tradition of watching a show a night is a sort of guilty pleasure because some of the movies are possibly cheesy at best, and surely others would scoff at some in our collection and our use of time. We don’t care.  One night is lady’s choice and the other gentleman’s choice. We sometimes laugh at one another because of our choices.   It may seem a little crazy that we watch some of this, but is is quiet time together in a crazy mixed up season.  Time well spent in the company of my love.

Whatever your traditions enjoy them and your time with family and friends.

Long Lines and the Sole Person to Help Us

Yesterday I had to go to the post office to  purchase stamps because I had finished off my roll of first-class stamps and many of the assorted denominations  I keep on hand for business mailings.    I got to the post office  early and there was already a long line of patrons with a single post office employee to handle the ever-growing line.   It  was the last Saturday before the Christmas holiday.    I thought, “what the heck is going on here?  Who put this schedule together?”    I looked at the man, who when each customer stepped up to the window greet them and then got down to business to move them along as soon as possible. Not rude, not chatty, just a cordial business atmosphere.

Watching that man do his job in a crummy situation,  I had this sudden epiphany; he is like so many other on-the-ground workers who work for the US government who are  part of the ever shrinking government we all claim we want.  This postal worker  surely did not ask to be the only one working at that hour, on that day alone.   It was a result of there being less money to pay on-the-ground workers.  We don’t often think about this, but it is going on all the time.    Just this last week RangerSir, a government employee, was out in the field twice alone, doing his job alone.   In years past there would have been enough employees to partner up.   It was a good safety measure and they could cover twice as much ground, checking on remote restrooms used by back country skiers and snowmobilers, warming huts, rental cabins, ski and snowmobile trail maintenance/safety and swing gates on out of bounds areas.   Instead  now days he picks the day or area of least risk and goes out there and does his job alone, knowing full well that if something goes wrong he is miles  and hours from some coming out to help him. It is the reality of being an on-the-ground worker in the US government, there are less of them but the public expectation for service has not changed.      He does the best job possible with the tools and people he has been given, just like this lonely postal worker.   It was then that I mentally cheered this man on with each person he helped.   I also was grateful that no one pointed out the obvious that he was alone and where were the other employees.   This man had no control, he was trying to do the best with he was given.

When I got to the front of the line I rattled off the stamps I needed.   I did not grouse, because once again there were no $2 stamps one of my most used denominations, I saved that for the postmaster on another day. My time is valuable, but it was not his fault that my wait in line was long, I would save that too for the postmaster (though I suspect that was out of their control as well).   The postal work  was doing his job the very best he could, in unenviable circumstances.   I finished quickly and then smiled thanked him and wish him a wonderful holiday season, truly meaning those words for this man who had a long day ahead of him.

Photo Challenge Day 6 – Shiny and Day 7 – Shopping

Apologies to the photo challenge followers.   Day 6 I continued to feel under the weather and although I did not post that day, I did take my challenge photo on day 6.   Today, day 7,  I am starting to feel better and we went out shopping and I was able to sneak in  a photo today using  my phone.

Photo Challenge Day 6 – Shiny

This was taken of a small vintage aluminum tree in a local store where I teach card making. The glitter covered ornaments just caught my eye and I knew that this was my shiny photo.   I played around taking snapshots of to the tree trying to find the right light and depth of field.    This one was the best of the what I came home with.

 

There is something magical in about this tree.

There is something magical in about this tree.

Photo Challenge Day 7  – Shopping

Those who know me, know  I am not one who enjoys shopping.    Today we went to town to do our adopt-a-family shopping.   RangerSir’s office adopts a family and the employees and several of the retirees all shop for this family.   Then the day of the office Christmas party they wrap all the gifts and get it ready for delivery to the contact person.    No matter how I feel about shopping I always find myself getting a little crazy picking out just the right things for the adopted family.   RangerSir and I hit the local store and it was not long until we had a full cart of goodies we had picked out for the family.

I am not going to win any awards for this photo, but I got more joy from this shopping trip that you can possibly imagine.

I am not going to win any awards for this photo, but I got more joy from this shopping trip that you can possibly imagine.

Like thousands of others who shop for others who are not as fortunate,  we dig up our best memories and try to share them with strangers by what we pick to give the family we will never know.    We want to help them create memories of holidays and family.   RangerSir and I by tradition always give pajamas and socks.    I remember having warm double brushed flannel PJ’s at Christmas.   I am not sure if they were a new pair or not but  I want these little kids to have something warm to wear to bed and lounge around in the evening.    My family was a great bunch of game players so we always get the kids each a game that hopefully they can play with their siblings.   Of course I have to add books to the collection, because they can take you places and let you do things you may never get a chance to do otherwise.     This year’s family of kids are being raised by a Grandmother and Great Grandmother.   I can not imagine have four kids under 9, as a grandma to raise, but thousands of grandparents find themselves doing just this.    Keeping warm in Montana is always a challenge.  My boss has a cuddly throw she swears by and I have one that I am sitting under here as I write tonight.    RangerSir and I decided that the grandma’s should have some thing like this as well.   We found one for each of them that we hoped each of them would enjoy as they spent time with their grand kids     Lastly like so many others in the group of employees we added a local grocery card.   The family  can buy what they need most or a special holiday treat. They know best for their family.  I came home feeling better about the day and encouraged that maybe I will make the holidays and the new year special for a family who I will never know.

Photo Challenge Day 4 – Sending Love

Tonight I am feeling under the weather and tired.   I had convinced myself it was OK to skip tonight. Yet when I was getting ready for bed, I realized that it might not be my best effort, but the photo challenge was worthy of an effort.    So I convinced RangerSir to be my hand model and started pulling things together to make tonight’s photo challenge happen.   Here are the results.

Christmas cards to mom.

Christmas cards to mom.

 

December’s Challenge

If November was not challenge enough, I am taking on another one in December.   This month I am going to challenge myself to take a photo a day.   I follow a Worqshop, woman’s blog who’s creative work I admire.   On the last day of the November she told of this challenge she was doing for December.    I thought it sounded interesting enough to try it for myself.    I have tried photo challenges before, but failed often because I limit myself to scenic photography.  In my mind that requires you to get out and drive some place to find that shot.    This is further hindered by the fact that I work virtually for my employer from home, so many a  day I never leave home.   There is not even the drive to work  for me.      This challenge is definitely not scenic.  It will not only challenge me each day to take a photo but also will challenge my composition skills in ways I haven’t be challenged in in a long time if ever.      Here is my list of what I am to photograph this month.  Notice the third from last item; how could I not participate in this challenge?

I will be posting those to my Pinterest account at DianaAtLooking and possibly do quick posts here as well.