Guest Post: Cori Lynn Arnold

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Please welcome back Cori Lynn Arnold, author of Thin Luck.

On Christmas Cards

2001Write what you know, or so the famous adage goes. I don’t know much about being a six-foot male detective, but I do know what it’s like to come from a little town in Alaska called North Pole; I know what it’s like to not want to tell people you are from there. Many of the stories I tell in Northern Deceit about Detective Hicks’ childhood in Alaska are absolutely true, only they were my stories, not his.

If I had a relationship status on Facebook with Christmas it would be “It’s Complicated.” On one hand, it’s a spirit of giving, but I’m a notoriously bad gift giver. On the other hand, the kitschy signs, candy cane street lights, and droning songs make me ill. In Alaska, it was cold and miserable, and much like my six-foot detective, my father bowled with the guy in the Santa suit. A certain amount of Christmas magic is lost living in North Pole, Alaska.

When I moved in with my husband, I was still ignoring Christmas like 2003many people ignore Valentine’s day, hoping it would pass without notice, but his family tradition involves sending Christmas cards. That’s a relatively low hurdle I could step over. He wanted to do something personal, and at the time I was a photographer, so we took a picture. I processed them, and we sent them out. So began our now 16 year tradition of Christmas cards.

Making the cards is the one thing I look forward to and dread every year.

2009I dread the process of coming up with an idea that’s workable and that my family will participate in. While my son is up for a lot, he is a teenager and there are limits. Someone told me once that my son would refuse one year, but he hasn’t yet. Finding a time we can dedicate to the task can also be a pain. Hubby travels and it can be difficult to get us all in the same room at the same time. Some years the Christmas picture is just of my son.

The worst of the dread is when we are past Thanksgiving and all weekend hubby asks nearly every hour, “Do you have an idea for the card this 2011year?” I want to strangle him. The text can be as difficult as the picture, and I don’t generally take the picture until there’s good text to go with it.

I look forward to being done. I look forward to visiting friends and relatives and seeing our card posted prominently on the refrigerator or mantle, even in July. I look forward to the calls, emails, texts, and Facebook chats I have with everyone every year telling me how they liked our card and can’t believe I managed to top last year’s picture.

2015I am still a horrible gift-giver at Christmas. Most times I want the holiday to pass with a minimal of fuss, like Detective Hicks, but I do hope our Christmas card tradition lasts forever.





Cori Lynn Arnold is the author of Thin Luck, created during her first mad rush of corilynnarnoldNaNoWriMo. She grew up in the kitschy town of North Pole, Alaska. She is currently studying to be a badass librarian.


8 thoughts on “Guest Post: Cori Lynn Arnold”

  1. Cori, welcome! I love the pictures. I’m the exact opposite of you – good with gifts, bad with cards. I always want photo cards and my hubby always says “no.” The exception was the year we went to Disney and there’s a picture of us in front of the Magic Castle. Come to think of it, I believe I procrastinated so long last year I didn’t even get Christmas cards out!


  2. Okay, so maybe you are inspiring me to send cards again, Cori! Now if only I could update all those snail mail addresses…the hubby has them all in Excel. Ugh.


  3. Cori, welcome! I have been to North Pole Alaska. I drove through it on my way to Salcha, having rented a car in Fairbanks. And I stopped off at Santa Claus’ house. Hey, did you see the KTUU episode several years ago where one of Santa’s reindeer ran over the TV reporter? I laughed. (She was OK.) It was 30 below in Fairbanks a couple of days ago, did you hear. I’m currently living in Alaska’s banana belt, Anchorage. Going home after work today to shovel another 3 inches of snow. Did 3 inches yesterday. You miss it. Admit it. You miss it. The cold, the dark. The joy when December 22 comes around.


  4. Love your pictures, Cori! What a fun tradition to try and top each year’s Christmas card photo. I bet you have to get pretty creative! Excited to check out your books! 🙂


  5. Have not put up a decoration (our house is usually decorated to the gills). Have not done our Christmas cards (personal photos, just like yours). Decided this year that it will be what it will be. *heavy sigh*


  6. Great Christmas pix! We stopped sending cards years ago, but I still cherish the few that I receive. Yours look like a lot of fun.

    As an aside, one of the hairdressers in the shop I used to go to is named Merry. She loves Christmas, has a tree up all year long in the shop and she changes the decorations for the season. That said, she confessed that Christmas gives her hives. Seems her maiden name was — you got it — Christmas and the first ten or so years of her life being known as “Merry Christmas” were torture. Seems by the time she turned eleven her tormentors got over it. Still, she said changing her name on her wedding day was a huge relief!


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