Christmas cards and letters from Largo and Jacksonville Florida.
Donna and I grew up in Pennsylvania where it was a must to have snow on the ground for Christmas morning. I can remember the excitement of my whole family decorating for Christmas and Dad always starting a Christmas project in early December constructing plywood, paint, motors and pulleys and then rigging it up right before Christmas to the front of our house. It was always fun to help decorate.
Winter also meant lots of ice skating in our small town where the tennis courts were filled with water and frozen over. Donna and I skated there many times not knowing that we would end up skating life together the rest of our lives.
The idea of making personal Christmas cards was fun for us right after our first son, Chris was born. We would take my Cannon FTB and shoot a couple of rolls of film and pick out the best picture for the card. Sometimes we could not decide which picture was the best so we would choose a couple different shots. We purchased and cut our own card stock, glued ribbons and sparklies to the cards and usually sent them out in brightly colored envelopes.
The Christmas cards caught on and we always received great comments about them. Many times when visiting relatives, we would see our card displayed in their home in the middle of summer. Friends and relatives would comment that they looked forward to receiving their card each year.
We made cards for a few years and as things got busier with our lives, we stopped our little annual project. I had saved a few of the cards that came back as "return to sender" but did not have a complete set from all years.
Unknown to me, my mother had kept a photo album of each family member and upon my mother passing, dad gave each of us our album. In the album was each year's Christmas card that we had sent to them. We now had a complete set. The cards with cover picture and letters are attached.
I began working at East Pointe Church full time in June 2002 and wanted to just say thanks to all of the folks who we worked with and associated with at East Pointe. So in 2002 the "home made Christmas card" became a "Christmas letter". The letters were mostly in fun, including a little family update but mostly packed full of lies to provide a smile or laugh during the Christmas season which is too serious and demanding of our time. The last couple of year's letters have two versions - one for East Pointe folks where I thank them for their ministry work, and the other version wishing family and non-East Pointe friends, a "Merry Christmas". Everything in life is complicated you know - even Christmas cards....
Christmas card picture of Chris(R) and Shaun(L) taken at Sand Key Beach, Clearwater, Florida, Fall 1986