Memories of a Favorite Christmas Tradition
By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015 As a child, I loved getting up in time to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Years later, I was able to watch the Hollywood Christmas Parade, which was held the Sunday after Thanksgiving. My first Christmas in L.A. I was eager to stand on the Walk of Fame, can't remember whose stars I was hanging around, and seeing a big parade live and in person. It was a lot different than watching it on TV. In addition, the weather was mild and I only wore a lightweight jacket.
One childhood Christmas tradition that started when I was young and continued until I was in my late-teens was the Christmas Card Clothesline. My creative Mom loved decorating the house and, of course, the tree. But she came up with this special idea as a way to display all the Christmas cards we received. It was a special clothesline. Mom had gone to the fabric store, one of her favorite hangouts, and bought several yards of silver and gold cord. Then she strung them up in the corner nearest the Christmas tree. There were at least three or four rows, alternating colors of shiny silver and gold cords. Then came the tiny Christmas clothespins, which were red and green plastic, or wood with painted on pictures of holly, wreaths, stockings, snowmen, Christmas trees, mistletoe, candles, skates, gifts, etc. I remember admiring my Mom's artwork, as she used little brushes because the clothespins were maybe an inch or two tall. She hung the cards on the cords and some were held with one clothespin and others required two. Some cards were made of glossy cardstock with raised foil lettering. We received many showing wintry skating or snowmen scenes. Or Santa Claus and his reindeer. Manger scenes were quite popular and the term Merry Christmas was more prevalent than Happy Holidays. My favorite cards were covered in a sprinkling of glitter that fell off in tiny sparkly showers.
It didn't matter if the card contained money or a check, was personalized from the sender or part of a Hallmark package. Each card that was added to the Christmas Card Clothesline reminded us of how nice it was to receive the gift of a Christmas greeting card.