Christmas Cards | Teen Ink

Christmas Cards MAG

May 28, 2016
By Christine1913 GOLD, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Christine1913 GOLD, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
14 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

I tapped my pen against the empty card, knitting my brows. My veins seethed as I found myself at loss for words. And in my defeat, I uncomfortably scribbled down some sort of hackneyed Christmas message: Merry Christmas! Best wishes for your family. I swiveled in my chair, remembering to add With love, from the entire family, sealing the envelope shut. I unwrapped another card, swapped around a few words, licked the seal, and tossed it into the pile—mechanically, until I held a list of scratched off names.

My eyes wandered over to my wristwatch. Already? It was nearly 4 o’clock.

I trudged out into the sticky snow and blistering cold to place the envelopes in the mailbox.

But when I opened the mailbox, a kaleidoscopic nest of letters had already settled there. I gathered them in my arms and brought them into my kitchen, brushing off the melting flurries as I spread them out across the counter. I tore open a periwinkle envelope, reading the pre-printed card: Happy Holidays! May you have a joyous holiday. I put down the card and opened another: Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Let’s Celebrate This Occasion. I opened up another and another and another, my smile continually receding as I cracked each hollow shell.

With only a few scattered envelopes remaining, I began collecting them to read later, but stopped as a single faded envelope had seized my attention. It was addressed from Babushka Olena, or Baba Olena as I liked to call her, sent from Odessa, Ukraine. My soul was a hot air balloon, striped with tender red and blissful yellow, soaring through the wispy clouds. I cautiously ran my fingertips under the seal, as if I were unfolding the delicate wings of a silver dragonfly. Crimson roses bursted forth with luscious petals, the card’s edges crisp with golden foil. Her writing blanketed the entirety of the card, trailing off onto the backside.

And as I read, I held onto her every word, pausing in between phrases, completed enraptured by the card. I felt her sincerity and compassion at every turn of the pen. It was as if she were sitting beside me, her crisp perfume sweeping through the air, her scarlet broths bubbling over the stove’s twirling blue flames, and her hand in mine as she would pass down her wisdom sotto voce. Almost to my surprise, I found myself alone. Only empty chairs and frigid air filled the space around me.

And as I reached the end, for a moment I simply grasped the card in my hands. The window panes shook with a gust of wind, and the clock slowed its tick. Curiously, these curly lines of ink spread over a single folded piece of cardboard have come to bear meaning.

I went to arrange it on my dresser. So as I hurriedly dress up and gather my belongings for school each morning, I will see that card and pause to remember her. She has not been able to visit me in America for a couple of years, for she has been caring for my grandfather, Dedushka Anatoly, who is ill.

The array of cards lining my desk, my shelves, and my dresser…although they are pretty and shiny, I keep all of my cards as reminders of those who cared to send me messages of congratulations on my birthdays, best wishes on holidays, and of sympathy, when they learned that I would be undergoing a major hip surgery, despite the perfunctory manner of which they are sometimes written. Letters of all lengths and purposes, I keep them.

True, I may be simply a name on a checklist. Some of my most beloved cards may be the regurgitation of a message scribbled and signed a hundred times over. And yet, for one to warrant his or her name on such a “Happy Holidays” checklist, one must be of some importance to be on the receiving end of a polite gesture.
But Baba Olena is not on any checklist—I smiled as I uncapped my shiny, black pen, pulled out a decorative card, and poured my thoughts out onto the paper. 

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