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Please welcome back Cori Lynn Arnold, author of Thin Luck.
On Christmas Cards
Write 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 many 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.
I 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 year?” 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.
I 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 NaNoWriMo. She grew up in the kitschy town of North Pole, Alaska. She is currently studying to be a badass librarian.