DIY Christmas Greetings

Back in the day, before Shutterfly made fancy photo Christmas cards easy peasy, the one Christmas custom I had was designing and producing a photo card. It was literally a production — one year cutting palm fronds to stage a California beach Christmas or renting Lederhosen another year for a German-themed card. Living far from family and friends, it was a great way to keep in touch through the years and my elderly aunts looked forward to getting them every year.

1991_Christmas-SantaSome years the ideas came easily, like the year my ex had a Harley so we were born to be wild in our black leather.

Other years, not so much…like the year we were doing a routine Christmas shopping trip and a chance photo op with Santa turned into our card. No production, no dress-up, just the crazy mis-matched clothes she was wearing. Of course while we were in line, I dashed off to the nearest Claire’s for a hair accessory to tame the mane.

Turns out, it’s my favorite card of all. The perfect Santa from Central Casting and my sweet baby girl wistfully thinking about what she wants for Christmas.

Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas…and I hope all your wishes come true!

First Fatherless Christmas

blurred-Christmas-tree.jpgIt hit me like a gut-punch this week. In a year of firsts since my father passed, this would be the first Christmas without him. I crumbled at the thought, but sucked it up, stuffed my emotions, and went to work.

“Guess what I did Pa? I joined the Marines.”

“Guess where I am Pa? I’m in Vegas and I just got married.”

Yup, I was that kid that would turn a parent’s hair prematurely gray. My father was my Rock. No matter what I did or where I was, he’d respond, “You did what?!” and then want to know all the details. He was always a shoulder to cry on and a soft place to land through two divorces and the death of my mother, his first wife.

The cycle of life is inevitable but getting older sucks. I know I’m lucky he was in my life for 63 years but it doesn’t ease the pain of the gaping hole his passing left.

I’m fortunate to have had a lifetime of loving memories with the man I’m proud to call my father. This weekend, I’m taking a stroll down memory lane looking through pictures and watching all the 8mm movies my father took that I had digitized. It will be another first, watching our younger years without being able to call and reminisce with him. Please pass the tissues.