Holiday cards are a big thing in our house. We love to get them, especially the picture card variety that allows us to lay eyes on our friends and family from Wellesley and far beyond. Every year the kids seem ever more hearty and hale and another foot taller, as if fortified daily by six healthy meals, plus protein-rich snacks. Everyone’s smiling, the family pets are on their best sit-and-stay behavior, and parents look like they haven’t aged a day. The backgrounds never disappoint. Beautiful beach settings. Mountaintops, so very high. Somehow, nobody’s hair is ever blown about. We love holiday cards.
We used to get almost exclusively picture cards, but as our cards cohort has gotten older, the pictures have done a slow fade. At some point, families either can’t get everyone in one place for a decent shot, or young adults rebel and refuse to be included. So far we’ve been able to capture on film our entire family cheesing it up at some point during the year. We plan to splash such an image on a holiday card for as long as our kids let us get away with it.
I’m the envy of my friends because my holiday card duties are nonexistent. Mr. Swellesley does it all, from organizing the picture to ordering the cards to mailing out the seasons greetings. He has an impressive assembly line system, and I have no idea how it works. Cards for me are all play and no work. I consider freedom from the sausage-making part of card magic one of my Christmas gifts from Mr. Swellesley.
I do have one yearly responsibility, entirely self-imposed, and a lot of fun. After the family has had a good amount of time to admire the cards, they get crafted into next year’s gift tags. All that’s required for this project, copied one year from some Pinterest prodigy, is a stack of holiday cards, a pair of scissors, a one-hole punch, and some thin ribbon.
Not all the holiday cards will make the jump from this year’s greetings to next year’s gift cards. There’s an audition process. To pass, the gift card must on one side bear a pretty picture or lovely words (canned, Hallmark-like sentiments only, please). The other side must be be blank, so that I may write my own, highly original holiday sentiments. No human body parts are permitted to survive from from holiday card over to repurposed gift tag. No kitty paws or happy dog tails will sneak in, either. As you can see, the audition process is rigorous. The easiest way for a card to achieve gift-tag glory is, of course, for it to arrive as one of those lovely cards from a box of 20.
Once the audition process is complete, I take a one-hole punch to the top left-hand corner of the cut-out tag. From there, I add a thin ribbon. Done.
Making gift tags gives me a triple shot of holiday smug:
- I feel pleased as punch with myself when I make the tags—I’ve reused! Just as Sustainable Wellesley always says I should.
- When the holidays roll around the next year I’m delighted that my gift tags are ready to roll. That’s one more thing crossed off the list, an organization technique lifted straight from Santa.
- It’s fun to revisit last year’s cards. Believe it or not, even after a whole year I remember which tag came from which family’s card.
As the holiday season winds down, my wreath may still be on the door; we’re all still stepping on rogue pine needles; and I have a few returns to take care of. But by gum, my 2021 gift tags are done.