Sam Ross Henderson

  1964 -
  City of Birth:
Philadelphia, PA

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Sam's Story > Chapters > Growing Up

"December 4 - Christmas Cards" 


Date Range: 1972 To 1987   Comments: 6   Views: 15,358
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Christmas Cards

Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors? Tell us in the comments below or write your own story or blog post about this!



My mother had "the list" for Christmas cards. The list was THE LIST. If you were on it, you were in her good graces. If you were off, you were on the SH*TL*ST as she called it.

How could one get on the SH*TL*ST? Actually it was pretty easy. Anything could be cause. Forgetting to send our family one was immediate banishment. Didn't matter if your family had fallen on hard times and living in your car eating canned mush, you didn't send us a card, OFF The List. If you caused her some grievance, real or misconstrued, there might be some wavering as she judged the seriousness of the slight, and might cause you to be OFF The List and ON the SH*TL*ST. Once she put my cousin Timmy and his family off because Timmy tortured our dog when he was visiting (deserved, but he was punished and taught not to hurt animals - he was only 7 but the entire family was banished that year). A neighbor told another neighbor who told my mother that the first neighbor said that our lawn looked like "white trash" because it had dandelions in it (my mother was convinced those chemicals would give us cancer) - OFF The List! In another, her monthly bridge playing partner made a face rather than telling my mother that she didn't care much for her new hairstyle and it was close enough to the holidays to banish her OFF The List!

She maintained this list diligently. I think it was her revenge ball, her "points" list, whatever you wanted to call it - it was how she kept track of the rights and wrongs done to her over the year. Her own "who's been naughty and who's been nice" scorecard.

Once you were off The List, getting from the SH*TL*ST back on The List wasn't easy. First my mother's grievance had to be acknowledged. Then one had to grovel a bit. After that there was a stubborn period, but if one persisted, they could grudgingly get off the SH*TL*ST and back on to The List, but only for a trial period. Three strikes and one was stricken from the list forever, like her sister Betty who lives in Florida and had the audacity to tell my mother that keeping a list was petty and childish. They still don't speak to this day except through their own children. I'll pass on something to my cousins and they'll relay something back and I'll tell my mother. It's exhausting!!

The cards that do come in are always put on top the piano and displayed with great pride. My mother LOVES the ones with pictures in them, and gets really giddy about customized ones with embossing and engraving. A cheap boxed set of small cards will get relegated to the back and the big, fancy, custom ones with photos take center stage.

My mother cracks me up. I'll have to make sure we send a card so we don't end up on the SH*TL*ST!!

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Member Since
Aug 2007
Bellam Dalton said:
posted on Dec 04, 2009
Very Funny

My mother did some of those and then my wife. I found my first holiday alone after our divorce was really quiet and actually lonely as she had our son. I realized then that I hadn't even gotten any cards and felt even more alone. 

Member Since
Aug 2007
Gina Pertonelli said:
posted on Dec 04, 2009

My mother always had good intentions, like she always did, to make homemade cards every year. Never, ever happened. She'd get drunk and forget. But the cards came in; sometimes honestly they were a little lifeline to sanity.

Member Since
Aug 2007
Megan Caufield said:
posted on Dec 04, 2009

THE LIST!! I have an Aunt who does the same thing. Every year she'd try to suck my mother (sister in law) to the same thing but it never worked.

Our family would send MILLIONS of christmas cards. To anyone and everyone. I often wondered whether my mom thought of it as a wish list or one too. But we'd put them all on the mantle for everyone to see.

Member Since
Jan 2009
J. McBroom said:
posted on Dec 05, 2009
Children's Hospital

About this time last year, a small donation was made to a Dallas Children's Hospital.  I listed families to notify.  The hospital staff sent a card to each address - notifying my extended family a donation was made on their behalf.  Holiday greeting cards are designed by patients at the hospital...

Member Since
Aug 2007
Agnes Williams said:
posted on Dec 05, 2009

That's a nice idea!

I try to make mine every year, but this year my hands are arthtritic so I'm having one of my granddaughters make them with me. We use scrapbook supplies and create ones that are special for each person.

I don't send very many of them as they're time consuming to make. But we do enjoy making them together.

Member Since
Oct 2009
Henrietta Giseppe said:
posted on Dec 06, 2009

I'm kind of bad about that - I get upset with people don't send me cards....