Sunday, December 9, 2007

Next Year I am Emailing My Christmas Greetings

Ryan, probably my most enthusiastic model.

I love sending and receiving cards. It makes me feel connected to friends and relatives. I read every letter and look at every picture. But sending cards out is a process. I start thinking about the next year’s card when I have mailed my current cards. Not completely consciously just when I notice a particularly interesting card, I file that somewhere in the recesses of my mind for use maybe next year. I love family picture cards but unfortunately it is very rare when our whole family is together and organizing a picture –well, if you are the matriarch of a family—I need to say no more. I admire those families that regularly pull it together.

Once and awhile I come up with an idea right away and stick with it. That has probably happened twice. Then sometimes on a road trip in the fall, I start putting together ideas. But sometimes, December 1st comes and my mind is still blank on cards. One year around the first of December, I went to the Wheaton Public Library and sat on the floor looking at children’s Christmas books for an afternoon. I used an idea that I got while there but I never did like that card. I liked the first creative card that I did. It was lots of fun to do and I had the idea early in the year in plenty of time to hone it. It is kind of sad when the first thing you create is your last great idea.

This year, I kept my eyes open all year not really desperate for an idea but hoping for an inspiration. One time I went into Alphagraphics for some project and saw a picture on their bulletin board. It had six adults all in the same kind of chair—just sitting and looking good. I think they were all people that worked there. I spent a few minutes studying their poses and smiles. December 1st came and went this year and I did not have any better inspiration so I decided to take photos of our family sitting in their kitchen chairs. My family is tolerant— resigned, knowing that if they do not cooperate, I will create a picture of them in Photoshop. After I had the pictures and got rid of all of the backgrounds in Photoshop, I thought an accordion fold card would be fun. However it was far too costly. Two of my family mentioned during the picture taking something like, “It doesn’t matter what I look like because the people on your cards are so small that you can’t really recognize who they are anyhow.” Okay, so I made them as large as possible and put them on an 8 ½ X 14. I just couldn’t send it out. It was too presumptuous to mail that large of a picture of my family. I reworked it and got all of them to fit on an 8 ½ by 11. The pictures taken on different days in various homes at various times had all kinds of lighting issues. I decided to print them in black and white. They looked so dull. I remembered liking Lois’s red and black Christmas Tea table so I decided a touch of red would help. The problem was I needed to create red on a few more people to balance the picture so Ryan, and Kathi and Steven—sorry about the changes in your clothing. I was ready to proceed except there was no caption for the card—just 21 people sitting in chairs. I wondered about submitting it somewhere on the internet for a best caption but worried that the captions might not be fit to print.

I have an Order for Christmas that helps me mostly get everything done that needs to be done and leaves the least important items until last. My days came and went on my Order schedule when I had to have the card completed. I wrote up a small poem. Bob wondered why I was up until 1:30 a.m. but I was really digging deep this year for inspiration. (That is a disclaimer when you get the card.) Then came the arduous task of deciding whether to print cards at home—testing various papers—getting estimates from three places and waiting in line to place an order. Woops! I saved them in Word 2007 and needed to return home and bring another file back with them saved as a 1997-2003 document. That accomplished, I bought envelopes and realized that when I got a new computer in April, I did not save last year’s Christmas addresses. So that is why none of you are getting Christmas cards from me. Just kidding. I cannot quit now. I am working on those addresses. If you don’t get a comment on your card and if you are in the beginning of the alphabet, your card will be in the mail in a couple of days. The others will come a bit later. I am feeling good--like I am ready to move on to the next project of my Christmas Order but first of all—a basketball game, a Wheaton College concert, a neighborhood gathering, hors doerves, a women’s day out trip to Long Grove and two birthday parties. Christmas will have to wait a little longer.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

i thought you might be able to relate somewhat to karen this :)

I'm sure it will turn out cute and we'll all ooh and ahhh...but never enough for all the blood, sweat, & tears!