O Christmas Card Part 6
Aarrgh. I am so behind on holiday blogging. According to my Feedly, I am supposed to have handmade forty-five glitter ornaments, professionally photographed my entire home filled with festive decorations, shared the perfect Christmas cookie recipe, and crafted at least fifteen super specific and oddly expensive gift lists (for everyone from your significant other to your second cousin’s dog walker).
I haven’t done any of it. Well, I’ve done many holiday-esque things, but you know what else I’ve done? Enjoyed them. Meaning I haven’t had a lot of extra hours to hang out and write about them. Not to mention, December was still a pretty busy month for me at work. When I moved to Nantucket, everyone was all, “Get a hobby or start drinking, because you’re going to be pretty bored come winter!” I have yet to understand what they were talking about (but I have a feeling it’s called… January). So needless to say, my time off has been spent taking in all that the holidays on this little island have to offer, which is a lot.
However, I still love blogging and I want to be able to keep up with this in a timely fashion. I always thought my reason for irregular posting was because of the nature of my last job, where I had no set schedule and spent the end of October-January mentally and physically exhausted, ready to give up on the human race (mass retail during the holiday season can do that to a person). I always thought that I once I had a job with a set schedule, I would be able to blog on a regular basis, and even if I couldn’t, I would write all my posts on the weekends and schedule them, what a concept! But you know what regular people do on the weekends? Laundry. Errands. Activities. Sometimes, they have fun. At this point I’ve accepted that if I spent all of my time blogging, that’s less time I would spend actually doing anything worth blogging about.
So here we are, four days away from Christmas. I am approaching my first Christmas “break” since college, where I will have almost two weeks off. I don’t even know this girl anymore, but I like her and want her to stick around.
Despite my lack of recapping December’s festivities, we all have our holiday traditions, and I have been looking forward to sharing this with you all month. I planned to continue this series much earlier in December, but there’s no time like the present to continue…
The Scalera Family Christmas Card Anthology. Part Six (take that, Rocky).
You may remember last year, when I started sharing the year-by-year progression of the Christmas cards my family sent out growing up. If you need to catch up, you can check out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five.
When we last left the Scalera sisters, they were showcasing their talents in a musically-themed photo. Also, it was smack dab in the middle of my awkward years. But as we entered the new millennium, my sister and I began to take control of our hair, our style, and our destiny.
Please tell me someone else remembers these sweaters. I know I do, because I will forever be traumatized by the journey it took for me to get one. This was the era of really cool Gap commercials and print ads. The year before, this striped sweater was like, the item of the holiday season that they were peddling to consumer-driven teenagers like me that tried to convince our parents that a $70 sweater was a totally appropriate gift for a rapidly growing high schooler. It was probably the first time I ever asked for something that was kind of expensive (not counting Kirsten, of course, but that doll paid for itself eventually with the education I received from her book series).
I remember being so excited for Christmas morning, finally feeling like I was going to be one of the cool kids when I rolled into school after break rocking this baby. One of the traditions in my house is that you save the biggest and best gift for last. My parent’s would act like gift-giving was over and as you started to throw away the discarded wrapping paper, they “remembered” that there was maybe one more thing left. Gift is pulled out of secret hiding place, children squeal and Christmas is complete. I was absolutely convinced that my Gap sweater was lurking in a closet somewhere, ready to be pulled out at the exact perfect moment. Except that moment never came.
After about ten minutes, I finally broke down and asked where our “extra” gifts were. My mom told me that we were officially done with gifts and it was time for breakfast and the Disney parade. I thought she was really piling it on that year and gunning for an Academy Award for “Best Performance while Pretending to Hide a Present.” She wasn’t. She informed us that after all the years of pretending, she thought we had outgrown the need for a secret gift. I.was.crushed. I know, it’s totally awful and selfish. I had just opened like twenty other gifts that were awesome and I still wanted more. But I remember even then thinking that it wasn’t about the fact that it was an expensive gift. She could have hidden a tube of Bonne Bell lip gloss and I still would have been excited; it was the novelty of thinking that you’re finished and finding out that one thing remains. I’m almost thirty, and my mom still hides one gift for us because we never let her forget that year that Christmas was almost ruined (yes, I’m being overdramatic- Christmas was still wonderful and I am not that horrible of a human being).
As for the sweater, I obviously didn’t get it for Christmas ’99, so how did I eventually acquire this multicolored masterpiece?
At an outlet, of course.
My mom was perusing some discount store probably six months later, when she discovered that the sweater that ruined Christmas was not only still available, it was marked down to a level that a parent couldn’t resist. So she bought three- one for my sister and I, and my best friend Hannah (which there is a photo shoot of the three of us wearing, you’re shocked, I know) and the matching hat. As much as I loved this pattern, we felt the hat + sweater together was a little much, so why not put it on a random bear?
This photo was probably shot again in October, which explains the lack of snow. Fun fact: I planted that tree the year we moved into our house when it was just a tiny, twig-like fir. And to this date, I still have the sweater.
All of our family Christmas cards are stored in this holiday-style scrapbook that you slide pictures into, with room for you to write in your own captions underneath. Under the year 2001, it simply states in my mom’s handwriting, “No card due to 9/11.” Because when you send out a Christmas card, the terrorists win.
If nothing else, you gotta give Doreen credit for being crafty even in the days before it was so easy to just slap your card together on the computer. While the themes for these cards weren’t always something blatantly festive (I believe this one was “turtleneck sweaters”), many of them were centered around just trying to capture a nice moment between sisters. Unfortunately, that moment didn’t occur in the same photograph, forcing my mom to superimpose my image onto the existing one of my sister. I swear my photo was taken on the same day, during the same photo session despite having completely different lighting. I refuse to believe that is my hand on my sister’s shoulder, even though I know that it is. I’m not gonna lie, there is something creepy about this one. But hey look, my hair is getting better!
If at any point you were wondering during this series, what is going to be like, the card of all cards, then this is most definitely it. The 20th Anniversary MEGA CARD. It was a big year in the Scalera household- not only was it the platinum anniversary of Christmas cards, but I my sister and I both celebrated our graduations that year, mine from high school and hers from middle school. What better way to capture the biggest year in our history to that point than with this all-powerful collage of every card since the family’s inception? Slight hiccup- our graduation dates were a solid two weeks apart. But that wouldn’t stop Doreen, oh no, she got out her trusty scissors and faux-Photoshopped images together of us in our white graduation bests. There’s a slight continuity error that can be seen only by looking at this in person, when you realize that it’s actually my dad’s hand that is clutching my sister’s shoulder.
Upon first glance, it may seem like we are overdoing it with the sweater theme, but we totally mixed it up in 2004, with gloves, duh! Not sure if you can tell what season it is in this one- I will give you a hint, it definitely ain’t winter- but at the time I went to school six hours away, therefore scheduling Christmas card photo shoot was increasingly more difficult. I think it was like, “Oh my God, it’s nice out! Quick! Throw on your sweaters and winter accessory sets and get out there!!!”
I don’t wand to overload you with excellence, so I will leave the remainder of the Christmas cards for another day. Hopefully it won’t take me a year to write the sequel this time.