Tips for Late Christmas Cards

Sometimes Christmas sneaks up on me and the Christmas cards aren’t sent in a timely manner. Maybe it has happened to you too. Perhaps you’ve been ill or had to work extra hours at your job or had some other disruption to your plans.

Here are some ways to deal with tardy holiday cards.

late xmas cards

  • Facebook Greetings

    Just posting “Merry Christmas” on your Facebook status is a little lame. It’s better to compose a reasonable Christmas letter that’s newsy and send it using Facebook’s message capability.

  • E-Greeting Cards

    There are plenty of sites that have cards to send to your e-mail recipients who aren’t on Facebook. These cards are quite colorful, often sing and dance and let you add a thoughtful message. One company for free Christmas e-cards is Blue Mountain Cards. To find more, just Google “free Christmas ecards.”

  • Phone Calls

    Hopefully, you have unlimited long distance calling on your phone because this is the way you can reach all your offline friends. It takes time to ring them all up and have a good chat, but that’s what happens when you don’t work on your Christmas cards earlier.

  • Mail Out Christmas Cards After Christmas

    This is an alternative to the first three suggestions. Send the cards with a “Happy New Year” or “Best wishes for a great year” penned in after the Christmas greeting. Try to get them in the mail right after Christmas.

  • Skip Christmas Cards This Year

    You can get away with this if you are right in the middle of moving, getting a divorce, have been sick, or are coping with a major family upheaval. Next year, send your cards early and explain what happened.

(Originally posted on List My 5 by Virginia Allain)

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Gail Admired Norman Rockwell

One of the magazines available to the McGhee family in the remote Flint Hills of Kansas was the Saturday Evening Post. This window on the world included serialized novels, articles about celebrities of the day, and a variety of other topics. People looked forward to seeing what Norman Rockwell painting would grace the cover. He contributed 322 covers between 1916 and 1963 to the Saturday Evening Post.

 

I remember my folks (Gail and Clyde) having a stack of vintage Post magazines in a shallow box under their living room sofa. Now and then, we’d pull them out to admire the old scenes of Americana captured in the Rockwell covers and to read the articles from those bygone days.

I recently found that many of those cover images now are available on everything from fleece blankets to cutting boards, coffee mugs, trivets and other useful items. Here’s a sample to give you an idea of the wide range of topics captured the fancy of the artist and appeared on the old Saturday Evening Post covers.

Sport Fleece BlanketSport Fleece BlanketView DetailsTackled Fleece BlanketTackled Fleece BlanketView DetailsDecoys Cutting BoardDecoys Cutting BoardView DetailsRunaway TrivetRunaway TrivetView DetailsRosie the Riveter PlaqueRosie the Riveter PlaqueView DetailsDreams of Long Ago Fleece BlanketDreams of Long Ago Fleece BlanketView DetailsCatching the Big One Fleece BlanketCatching the Big One Fleece BlanketView DetailsThe Fish are Jumping Fleece BlanketThe Fish are Jumping Fleece BlanketView DetailsHollywood Starlet TrivetHollywood Starlet TrivetView DetailsSpringtime, 1935 boy with bunny trivetSpringtime, 1935 boy with bunny trivetView DetailsDoctor and the Doll Fleece BlanketDoctor and the Doll Fleece BlanketView DetailsBefore the Shot or At the Doctor's TrivetBefore the Shot or At the Doctor’s TrivetView Details

Every cover was a delight. Often it featured a nostalgic scene of small-town America. Although many contained an element of humor, the artist could also address serious world issues and capture them in a scene.

Since I’m posting about Gail’s admiration for Norman Rockwell and it is December, I’ll include this classic cover. You can see all the covers at the Saturday Evening Post website.

Norman Rockwell 1930s cover art for the Saturday Evening Post. 1930s Santa.

Norman Rockwell 1930s cover art for the Saturday Evening Post. 1930s Santa.

Make Candied Nut Clusters

 Instructions for Gail & Clyde Martin’s Candied Nut Clusters

Things You’ll Need:

  • medium size cooking pan
  • chocolate or vanilla flavored almond bark
  • aluminum foil
  • small to medium sized nuts

Clean and sort the nuts. My husband used different strainers with different size grids, large and medium. The large grid let everything go through except for the largest pieces. Those worked great in the sugared nut recipe.


After that, he had lots of smaller sizes of nutmeats. Really just bits and pieces. So he shook them up in a strainer with a smaller size grid. The smaller grid lets the tiny pieces of shell and other debris fall through. Clyde dumps them into a white baking pan and searches for more shells that slipped through. Some tiny pieces of the shell stick to the nutmeat and can be removed with tweezers. Shaking in the strainers seem to bring out the oil in the nutmeats, making them shiny and tastier.

With the medium size nut meats, we make candied nut clusters. For this process, you need the following: medium size cooking pan, chocolate or vanilla flavored Almond Bark; aluminum foil, and lots of small to medium size nuts.


Break or cut the almond bark into chunks easier melting in the pan. Place it on a very low heat.

When melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the nutmeats. Keep stirring as you add them until all are coated.
 

Drop the mixture by teaspoon onto the foil. Let the clusters cool until the almond bark hardens.

The Christmas Gazebo

Some years back, I added a miniature gazebo to my Christmas decorations. Although I don’t set up a Christmas village, I couldn’t resist getting the piece. Every year, I bring it out and add the fir trees and the tiny fawns carved of wood.

Christmas village gazebo

Ginger’s Christmas scene with the gazebo and deer.

This small replica honors my brother, as it evokes memories of the gazebo that he built for the city of El Dorado. There are actually two gazebos. He was an accomplished cabinet maker who custom built cabinetry for homes in the area and some businesses too.

Owen Martin and Gazebo he built in Eldorado

Owen Martin in the gazebo he built for the city of El Dorado, Kansas.

After his stroke, he had to give up that work. I noticed once that he was watching a home remodeling program on House and Garden TV, so I’m guessing he misses his tools and projects. He can take pride in his handiwork being on display in these gazebos.

I imagine the city decorates them with lights for the Christmas season. I’d love to see a photo of that.

Cindy’s Christmas Memories

Cindy Ross, our guest blogger for today, is Gail and Clyde Martin’s fourth child. She shares her Christmas memories with us.

As a child, it seemed to take forever for Christmas to arrive. I remember the anticipation while waiting to open gifts early that morning. 

It could be very cold if Dad hadn’t stoked the fire in the potbelly stove. So, if you arrived downstairs too soon, you’d be scampering back to that warm bed.

Our stockings hung along the staircase and you could almost peek into them from up above. We were lucky to get an apple or orange, ribbon candy, or a candy cane.

I loved the wooden bowl Mom placed on the table holding the English walnuts, cashew, Brazil nuts, almonds, pecans, and peanuts to be cracked open. The slender metal picks in the center of the bowl helped get the nutmeat out of the shell.

For fun, we played Fox and Geese in the snow, but only after we finished feeding and watering the rabbits and chickens.

rustic wooden nutbowl with cracker and picks

This is what the nutbowl looked like.

Comment from her older sister, Ginger: “Thanks, Sis, for writing this. I’d forgotten where we hung the stockings and about the bowl of nuts. Now, I remember how exotic those nuts seemed and how difficult it was to crack the hard shell of those Brazil nuts. There were hazelnuts too. Christmas was the only time we had those.

I hadn’t forgotten how cold it could be in that uninsulated Kansas farmhouse. We would huddle around that woodstove in the living room while hustling into our clothes. Upstairs there would be ice on the inside of the bedroom windows.”

Family Memory Gifts to Make and Give

This post was written by Gail’s daughter, Virginia Allain, on December 14, 2010 for the List-My-5 website.

Give the Gift of Memories

 

Give the gift of family memories for a birthday or Christmas gift that will be treasured by the recipient. This doesn’t have to cost much and can be particularly meaningful. There’s still time to create a gift like this for this Christmas.

Write About a Special Memory

Print it out with a pretty computer font on good quality paper and frame it. I like to use a script that looks like handwriting. This could be a memory of your early days that you are sharing with your children or grandchildren or it could be a memory about them.

Old Letters

If you’ve saved their letters over the years, or from a special time like college or military, display them in a binder. Use archival quality clear sleeves to slip the letters into. Present the binder to them for Christmas or a birthday. These will bring back a lot of memories for them.

Old letters

If you’ve saved someone’s letters, package them up in a pretty way to present to them.

Family Heritage Recipes

Gather recipes that have been handed down in the family. You can buy a blank recipe book and hand write them in and put comments about the person or occasions related to the recipes. You can also self-publish these with sites like blurb.com so you’re presenting them with a “real” book.

Genealogy Information

Fill in a family tree chart and have it framed or make a notebook with the family tree and various genealogy information in it. Look for an attractive binder or scrapbook album for this.

family tree

This family chart includes five generations

Start Them Writing Their Memories

Give them a memory book where they can answer questions to fill in the pages. An alternate idea is to give them a lovely leather blank journal to start recording their memories. Team this up with a book on memoir writing.

SUPPORTING LINKS

Make a Santa Ornament from a Light Bulb

Gail Lee Martin wrote this article for the eHow site telling how to make old light bulbs into Santa decorations. If you have some dead light bulbs, don’t toss them out. 

How to Make a Santa Ornament from a Light Bulb

Here is a craft my daughter, Shannon, and I started making back in 1993. We took them to the Wesley employee’s craft fair. They were so cute and were very popular.
It’s a fun way to recycle burned out light bulbs. Here’s how to make them.

santa-ornament-light-bulb

Things You’ll Need:

  • light bulbs
  • white spray paint
  • various paint and a brush
  • or colored markers
  • glue gun
  • gold string
  • canned snow (the kind sprayed on windows)
  1. We took burned out light bulbs and turned them into Christmas tree ornaments. Start saving up bulbs now and ask your friends and family to save theirs for you too. You can also buy new ones if you can’t wait for them to burn out.
  2. I spray painted the bulb white like Santa’s beard. Even though the bulb is whitish already, the spray paint gives a more even surface and color. It also hides the dark spot that burned out bulbs sometimes have.
  3. Then I used a brush to hand-paint the screw top with red paint for his hat.
  4. I hot-glued a gold string to the top to hang it with. Heavy gold thread or gold wire is fine for this or you can use red yarn.
  5. Using canned snow, I put a rim around the red cap and some on the top for a ball.
  6. Shannon painted and sketched on the expressive faces and added a realistic mustache with a swipe of white paint. Leftover paint-by-number paint or a kid’s paint kit works for this. You can draw on the eyes and details with permanent markers also.

Tips & Warnings

  •  This makes recycling fun.
  •  Check the Santa clip art site listed below in resources for ideas for Santa’s face. You can make jolly Santas, roly-poly Santas, stylized Santas, classic Santas, etc.

Resources

light-bulbs-pixabay

Use those old light bulbs for crafts