Christmas Cards

I’d like to be able to report that all my Christmas cards are in and I’m ready to give you the results of the Unofficial Fitzpatrick Christmas Card Contest. I’d also like to say I got all my cards mailed out with the correct addresses and with real stamps on the upper right corner instead of old Simba stickers and Easter Seals. But life isn’t perfect.

I’m still getting Christmas cards. Which gave me the idea to create a new category in the Christmas card contest: Most Creative Excuse for Sending Cards Out in Early January. So far the winner is Jim from Lexington, who starting out his letter, “Happy Groundhog Day!”

Other clear winners in their own categories are Nicola and Jonathan from Sparta, N.J., who wrote this year’s Longest Christmas Letter. It was actually not even padded with boring stuff like report card grades and birthdays. It was chock full of vacations in Colorado, Savannah and Charleston, skiing in Vermont, new carpeting, trips to England and France, a new Mazda MX5 convertible, and celebrities living next door. After reading it, I felt a little dirty, like I had just finished a Danielle Steele book.

Biggest Surprise in a Christmas Card - Our friends Mike and Lynn, who always dress their four kids up in beautiful matching outfits and pose them in front of a color coordinated, elaborate Christmas setting with those humongous packages, sparkly trees with burgundy bows and fake reindeer. This year, among the props was a little doll. No, wait a minute. That’s not a doll, that’s a 3-year-old real girl. Her name was added onto the signature along with the rest of the family, so apparently they acquired a toddler sometime between last year’s card and now. There was no letter or explanation, so we had three days of fun, making up stories as to who she is and where they found her.

There were some smaller surprises. Sandy and Bill from Boardman are among the most religious people I know, but their card could have come from Madalyn Murray O'Hair and the American Atheists. A black and white photo of an ice covered stone stairway (my tailbone hurt just looking at it) with “Journey” written simply at the bottom. Inside, a spartan “Wishing you a season of new beginnings and a wonderful journey into the year ahead” was all she wrote, so to speak. Happy freakin’ Kwanza to you, too, Sandy and Bill.

In the Knock My Socks Off Why Don’tcha category, my sister Reenie did it again this year. She made her own card and it was a layered masterpiece of the prettiest card stock papers from that store in San Francisco that she’s allegedly addicted to. There were also rhinestones and different colored fonts and graphics. The only reason I know she made it is that I know all too well what an overachiever she is.

We got many, many Great Photo Cards. Too many for even my husband to pick a favorite (although he would probably pick our niece Lilly on Santa’s lap because he’s biased). I might pick my cousins Sherry, Bill and Logan, because Logan is the cutest and most photogenic little boy and they’re in front of Cinderella’s castle in Disney and they look like they’re in a photo shoot for a magazine ad for antidepressants. If you sent us a card with a photo in it, chances are I went, “Awwwwwwww!” and showed it to strangers and set it up on the kitchen counter for a couple of days. And if there were kids in the photo, I probably was halfway to writing a ransom note and plotting their kidnapping. (I’ve got to figure out a way to get a cute baby into this house, come hell or high water, by the time Santa comes next year.)

It’s hard to say what My Favorite Card was. I liked the regional cards, the full moon over the Washington monument from two people I don’t know, the Jupiter lighthouse painting from Barbara, and “An Ohio Christmas” from my friend Barb in Hubbard that started with “A Partridge Rocking on the Hall of Fame” and ended with “Twelve Pennant Flags Waving.” I love a good, rah-rah card. Go town!

But I also liked the non-traditional cards, the ones that spit in the face of red and green convention and which had a giant purple shell on a black background with JOY inside. Polka dots and Frank Lloyd Wright designs were big with me this year, too.

Keep ‘em comin’ - it’s only the second week of January.

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