The People Away

“She always spoke about “the people away” and how important it was to remember them and to keep in contact. She knew from listening to some of them when they came on summer holidays that at Christmas their thoughts turned to home and they loved to be remembered at that time. For others the cards was even more important; it provided the only link they had because they never made it home. I visualized my mother’s Christmas cards as so many messengers winging their way to scattered family members all over the world from the nest from which they or their parents had all flown. She was the warm glow at the heart of our Christmas, but that warmth stretched much further than our house.” 

Alice Taylor, An Irish Country Christmas

Christmas cards.

So many memories come up when I think of Christmas cards.

Early in my “adult” life, I’d spend hours upon hours writing cards to all my family members. It was really the only time of year many of us heard from each other.Today, there are very few of our branch of the McDonald family around.

For me, writing Christmas cards was a major production. I started looking for cards as soon as the stores started putting up their displays. My cards had to represent something of myself.

One of my favorite memories revolves around the year I found Ziggy cards–remember that character? His life was always just a little bit sad and off kilter. To me, he mirrored my own life and this one year I’d found a whole box of Ziggy Christmas cards.

I was ecstatic.

I grabbed my box knowing these cards would be sent to a very select group of people. That was not unusual. Most years I’d have several boxes of cards subdivided into stacks for different groups that made up my life.

A great example of this would be my very prime and proper Aunt Eve. She  would not have appreciated a Ziggy card. She and the rest of the family would require a much more traditional type card.

The best part of this memory is the young guy who was at the checkout that day. He rang up my box of cards and other supplies while going through all those questions the sales staff are required to ask.

Smiling, he told me it was a perfect time to take advantage of their imprinting service. Was I interested in having my cards professionally imprinted?

We were both quiet for a couple of seconds and then I started to laugh.

He stopped, looked up at me with a questioning expression. What was so funny?

I shook my head as I apologized, explaining I did not think it just did not seem right to me to have a Ziggy Christmas card imprinted. He looked down at my box of cards, chuckled, and quietly agreed with me.

May your Christmas preparations also give you many reasons to smile.

“Mrs. Casey, do you love Christmas? 

Well you know, she answered reflectively, Christmas can be a sad time for people too. It’s a remembering time for us older ones. We remember the people who are gone.

Oh, I never thought of that, I told her in surprise.

Well that’s youth for you, she said; you don’t start to look back over your shoulder until there is something to look back at, and around Christmas I tend to think of the Christmases past and the people gone with them.” 

Alice Taylor, An Irish Country Christmas

I am…

B…simply being…




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