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Twenty-five years of Christmas cards

Everett Crewe has an impressive collection of Christmas cards.

BY Everett Crewe
Amherst Cove 

“There’s an old Christmas card in an old, dusty trunk and it brings back sweet memories dear to me.” Everyone’s heard those lyrics sung every Christmas as the unmistakable voice of Jim Reeves reverberates from the overhead speakers in the shopping mall.

As I find my way down the aisle toward the Christmas cards, eagerness overtakes me like a child on Christmas morning. I search through the hundreds of holiday scenes depicted on those colourful cards and choose the ones I will send to my friends and family.

As a firefighter with the Five Coves Volunteer Fire Department, I somehow found myself playing Santa in our annual Santa Claus parade, as well as the other Christmas events being held in Newmans Cove during the holidays. I’ve donned the red suit and white beard for the past 10 Christmases and I have enjoyed every one of them.

It puts me in the Christmas spirit to see the look on the children’s faces when they see and have breakfast with “Santy Claus,” as my father would say. It’s funny how they climb up onto my lap and whisper what they want for Christmas, as their parents try to listen. Later, at the kids’ Christmas party, I (a.k.a. Santa) get to give each child an early Christmas present. 

Whether it was from a loved one, a friend, a MHA or the Avon lady, if you gave us a Christmas card in the past 25 years, it’s on my wall.

It was during last year’s Christmas party that I decided to go all out! I would again display all my Christmas cards on our dining room wall for all to see. Most Christmases, I only display the cards I received that year, but every now and then I get the urge to hang up all my cards — and this was one of those years.

My obsession with Christmas cards started with the very first card I gave my wife (then girlfriend) back in 1993. The front of the card read, “Sweetheart, my stocking is hung by the chimney with care ...” and the inside read, “in hopes that Saint Nicholas puts you in there.” It’s corny, but that’s young love, isn’t it? Pauline kept that card and showed it to me the next year. I was so touched by that gesture that I’ve kept every Christmas card given to us and my kids ever since.

That was a quarter of a century ago and I have accumulated more than 400 Christmas cards since. Whether it was from a loved one, a friend, a MHA or the Avon lady, if you gave us a Christmas card in the past 25 years, it’s on my wall.

Visitors to our home are surprised when they see such a sight. My kids tell them to take off their boots and come see “Dad’s Christmas cards.” Their first reaction is what I enjoy the most. “You’re crazy” or “I wouldn’t have the patience” are the usual remarks. When I explain why I do it, they seem to understand and often proceed to look for a card they may have given to me over the years.

It is during those quiet Christmas nights when I look at the names on each card and reminisce about friends and loved ones since passed. “Mom signed that card,” I tell my kids. “Nobody’s handwriting was as bad as hers.” I start to well up inside and my voice trembles as I picture Mom writing those words — her elbow pointing out in front of her and her small, frail hand reaching down from the top of the page, as so many left-handed people do when they write.

“And here’s the card that you made us in Grade 2, with your tiny hand print as Santa’s beard,” I tell my oldest girl with a chuckle. As my mind drifts off to some distant time, the kids wander back to their rooms and iPods. I sit at the end of the dining room table and play my favourite Christmas songs on my record player. I spend hours looking at those wonderful cards and rejoice in how fortunate I am to have had such a wonderful life.
With so many holiday wishes being sent over social media these days, I still wish and merrily hope those beautiful Christmas cards still come my way. Merry Christmas, everyone!     

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