Never Challenge your Sweet Grandma, She’ll Cheat

The best part about the holidays are the cards, the kind that require a stamp, not the click of a button.

I blame my grandma for these die-hard feelings. Her holiday decorations were her cards and I took up the cause as soon as I was old enough to afford stamps. I can’t remember when the family issued a “friendly” challenge to receive the most cards but soon it was down to just me and my grandma.

As the years went by, I might have accused her of pulling a Pete Rose (for non-Cincinnati Reds fans that means cheating). She might have responded by sending me this photo. So then official (agreed upon) referees had to be recruited to ensure card count accuracy and start/end dates were extended to increase our odds. It was on.gma1Suddenly she started organizing a holiday card exchange program for her entire apartment complex, her bingo club and even got my aunt’s 1st year class involved in making cards. I took my battle to the internet and organized as many card exchange programs as my social groups would tolerate.  As hard as I tried, I could never defeat my grandma. During her last year, she was transferred to an assisted living home and due to poor health was unable to send out her cards. Not accepting her defeat, I asked an aunt to copy her address book. So along with sending out my cards, I sent out all her cards with a message to send correspondence to her room at the assisted living home. I regret not being back in Ohio to see her but I heard her room was bursting with holiday spirit from all the cards. Thus, during our final year of competition, I made sure my grandma beat me to smithereens.

gma2I really miss her.

This year I found a way to honor her and reminisce about having a large quantity of quality cards.  As a volunteer holiday decorator for the Pittock Mansion, I convinced my group to decorate our room with the theme of “Holiday Cards”. I begged and pleaded for cards from my family, friends, and social acquaintances, resulting in hundreds of cards to use as decorations. We have a tree stuffed with gold Christmas cards, we made wreaths out of children’s crafted cards but my masterpiece is the Christmas card tree frame (102 inches tall, 55 inches wide, and with ten themed tiers that took me two days to constructs with 3 rolls of duct tape). If you are in the Portland Oregon area, it’s a great place to visit during the holidays. If not, here are some photos —


About Jessie Smith

Health Care Worker by Day, Aspiring Author by Night and 24/7 Staff for Riley (Corgie/Tibetan Spaniel Mix)

Posted on December 22, 2014, in Auth: Jessie Smith and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Your grandma would be proud.


  2. Comments, and post, here are a great remembrance. Have you thought about merging your paper wreath with the Christmas cards from previous years?


    • Thank you Jamie. I haven’t thought about it. I have always thought that newsletters work best for the thinness of the paper and the way ink bleeds through the paper. But it might be worth a try!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great way to honor your grandmother’s memory, Jessie. Am pretty sure she was with you in spirit this year and love the card tree.


  4. Priceless.. What Joy !!!


  5. Your grandmother’s delightful spirit lives on in you. So she won twice.


  6. What a wonderful story! That’s so cool you are still honoring the tradition 🙂


  7. Lovely, Jessie! I have wonderful memories of my grandmother and Christmas too. I was only nineteen when she died, but I had sent her a letter the week before, telling her I was pregnant with my first child. After she died, my grandfather made sure I got the little porcelain doll in a crocheted dress that had always hung on her tree. That lovely doll is still a centerpiece of my decorations.

    Oh, I still send Christmas cards the old fashioned way. And include a letter in each.



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