Tuesday, December 19, 2017

From Our Family to Yours

It's a Christmas miracle.

No, I don't have all my baking done. I am not just sitting around in the living room enjoying the Christmas lights. (Those would be even more epic Christmas miracles.)

But I did manage to write a Christmas "note" rather than a Christmas "letter" this year and include it with our 2017 photo card. My family didn't think I could do it.
I am not necessarily a believer in the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words," though I certainly like photos, too. My former newspaper editors would attest to the fact that I have a tendency to "write long."

Jill gave me a pep talk.

"Just think about how much easier it will be. You won't have to print off letters. You won't have to fold them. You'll be done so much faster."

I've been involved in Christmas photo cards for most of my life. It's a family tradition. I starred in my very first one in 1957, as a 6-month-old baby.
By the time 1958 rolled around, I was already sharing space with my sister, Lisa, on the annual missive from Bob and Janis.

Though my brother, Kent, was born in December 1966, he didn't make the Christmas card until 1967. This is the first photo card with all my siblings. I would have been 10, Lisa, 9, Darci, 6 and Kent was 1.
My parents included their children on the family Christmas card until we graduated from college. Since then, we make occasional appearances with a full-family photo, but most of the time these days, the great-grandchildren are the stars in my parents' annual letter.

Randy and I sent our first photo card in 1981, the year we were married.
We didn't send another photo card until 1985, the year that Jill was born. It was only natural, I suppose, that we continued the tradition with our own children.
Christmas Card Photo - Jill - 1985
We sent one with the three of us in 1986, when Jill was 15 months old. After that, I usually stayed on the other side of the camera and just included the kids. (When you're the one doing the work, you get the most votes.)
Christmas Card Photo - 1986
The first one with Brent was in 1988. Brent would have been about 7 months and Jill was 3.
Christmas Card Photo - 1988
Back when Jill and Brent were little, this annual attempt was captured on film. And you weren't sure what you'd gotten until the film was developed. I have rolls and rolls of film chronicling the misadventures of getting two little kids to look their best in the same frame. The move to digital photography makes the storage problem easier - though it can't help everyone look great in every frame.
This year, I left the photos to Manhattan photographer Jill Grogg, who photographed our family the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This was another one in contention, but the one on the ground got the most votes from the family.

Oh yeah. The Mount Rushmore photo on the back of the card was taken by a stranger there.  I took her photo, too. Who knows? Maybe that photo ended up on a Christmas card somewhere, too!

I know that Christmas card letters have their share of detractors. But, I love getting cards and letters from people at this time of year. Even in this electronic communication age, I send quite a few Christmas cards. It's been a way for me to keep in touch of childhood friends and college buddies, along with sending greetings to family members across the U.S. and seasoning's greetings to neighbors.

So Facebook friends and Kim's County Line followers:  Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 


  1. Delightful to receive your lovely card via this blog. I love the colour chosen and the light beaming down on a happy family. I too love the Christmas letter. Many friendships would have been lost without it. I also save a copy and it is always interesting to browse through the years, before starting to write the next years.

    1. I wish my letters were better organized. I had a friend send me some of my old letters this year. It was fun to look through them and remember.

  2. A fun trip down memory lane! Love Christmas cards, but if you have been on my blog in the last few days, that Santa hat "art" (and I use that term loosely) is my card this year. Again. *sigh You might inspire me to try for next year!

  3. I loved your yearly tradition. What a beautiful collection of memories and photos.
    Happy Christmas Kim to you and your family. xx