Tag Archives: holiday cards

Lame Adventure 400: Signs of the Season

The signs of the holiday season are everywhere these days.

Looking forward to January.

Or bracing for SantaCon.

Big Bird multitasking as holiday eyesore.

Big Bird multitasking as holiday eyesore.

The other night I was walking east on Houston Street with my pal, Coco. We paused to observe the elaborate manger scene inside the gates of St. Anthony’s church when I nearly suffered a coronary.

Me: Coco, look! Jesus is missing! Is nothing sacred? Who steals Jesus?

Where's the life of the party?

Where’s the life of the party?

Coco: LBJ isn’t there because he doesn’t come out until Christmas Eve! We don’t have to get all CSI or re-enact the Lindbergh baby kidnapping!

To emphasize her point, to make me feel like the consummate stupido, Coco stabbed her studded, black leather-gloved finger at potential suspects.

"Did you take LBJ?"

“Did you take LBJ?”

Or you? Did you take LBJ?

Or you? Did you take LBJ?

I could not get my mind off Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Me: What has the 36th president got to do with this?

Coco: LBJ is Little Baby Jesus you dumb bell!

It was enlightening to learn that my friend leads a double life as the female Jay-Z. After Coco and I parted ways, I went home to the Upper West Side, where I saw another holiday display, this one in the window of the Citarella market on Broadway. It’s an edible replica of the Flat Iron building, their contribution to the Gingerbread Extravaganza.

This might not taste as good as it looks.

This might not taste as good as it looks.

This extravaganza is for a charitable cause, City Harvest, an institution that helps fight hunger in New York. To see all of the gingerbread structures in competition click here.

When I was growing up in San Francisco, a sure sign that Christmas was coming was when my mother would drag me with her to the Emporium, our go-to department store. Every year, a section of the store would be devoted to their made-to-order holiday cards. The cards were displayed under cellophane in thick oversized books that my mother would scrutinize for hours. If in reality we were only there twenty minutes, I was so bored it seemed to last an eternity. My mother, a perfectionist who was always more high strung than usual during the holiday season, would make mincemeat out of me if I dared touch one of those books. Those books were for adult scrutiny only and about as thrilling as math class. All of those cards were capital d Dull. The card my mother would select was always a variation of the same theme: a somber nativity scene. Snore.

When the cards arrived, Mom would spend hours at the kitchen table working on them, addressing each envelope in her perfect, flowery script. She would write thoughtful notes inside. Eventually, she cut herself a break in this masochism and stopped licking each stamp personally and began utilizing a sponge. It amazed me that she would send out hundreds of cards. My parents seldom ever had friends over. Who was she sending all of these cards to? Pages of random people in the phone book? I never asked. I knew that when she was in Christmas card mode to stay far away. If I could have moved to Mars I would have done so.

My salesman father would send cards to his customers. He’d be on the road filling his car with gas, notice cards on sale next to the motor oil and pick up whatever the grease monkeys were selling. This probably took him a total of six minutes and he even got his windshield washed. When my dad did his cards, at warp speed at his desk in the room he shared with my mom, I was allowed entry. I could light myself on fire, run in circles and scream at the top of my lungs.

In 1970, he came home with a card with a picture of a moose that had a red and white candy cane protruding from its mouth. Inside it announced, “Merry Christmoose!” I thought that was the greatest holiday card ever. Granted, I was only eleven, but I had never known there could be a funny Christmas card. When we received a card from someone that did not make my mother’s list, she had a meltdown. She had given out all of her made-to-order cards. My father had some extra Merry Christmoose cards. He offered his to her. The expression on my mother’s face was as if he suggested she write “Merry Christmas” on a dead seagull. She went out and bought a card.

This year is the first time in thirty years that I have not sent holiday cards. Milton wanted me to design my own, but I didn’t get around to it. When I visited a card shop in my neighborhood, I immediately noticed one I would have sent.

Inside caption: "Merry Christmoose!"

Inside caption: “Merry Christmoose!”

Unfortunately, this card was not available in a multi-pack. But I did send one to my dad.

Happy holidays Lame Adventurers.

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Lame Adventure 258: Let’s Discuss Holiday Cards

Due to my growing like kudzu contempt for the US Postal Service for their consistently crummy delivery of my favorite magazine, The New Yorker, I had decided that 2011 was the year I was going to join the legions of former holiday card givers and end my tradition of sending holiday cards out of spite.  I briefly considered e-blasting Jib Jab e-cards but I decided against that since most of us are already inundated with too much crap on the web.  Luckily for the US Postal Service, my dear friend, Milton, talked me into sending holiday cards this year.  He is right; recipients like to receive hand written paper cards, but considering that he was sending sixty, I’d be inclined to sign my name with a rubber stamp.

Around Thanksgiving I embarked on my annual search for the appropriate card in questionable taste.  Milton feels very strongly about sending traditional holiday cards.  Pictured below is his elegant greeting of the season that he found in his favorite card store, Papyrus.

A holiday card dripping with elegance, taste and a ton of glitter. The crease comes courtesy of my letter carrier, Alice Sneer.

Milton sent sixty of these beauties and in each he hand wrote a personal note.  In mine he composed this heartwarming sonnet: “Have a truly cynical Xmas!”

When I opened it half a pound of glitter fell out and I anticipate I’ll be seeing shiny stuff sparkling in my humble abode well into 2012.  That’s cool with me.  I much prefer it to the large economy size jar of 183,217 popcorn kernels that I spilled in my sanctum sanctorum’s kitchen 28 years ago.  I’m still finding those kernels through today which is amazing since I even had my kitchen floor replaced.

Traditional holiday card tied with swatch of real ribbon from my best friend from college, BatPat.

There used to be a hole-in-the-wall greeting card/gay male novelties shop on Christopher Street I frequented for all of my greeting cards called Alternate Cards.  The guys that ran the place were very quiet men of South Asian decent.  Forgive me for being so narrow-minded, but they did not strike me as the type of chaps that reveled in selling penis-shaped pasta or cards captioned, “My left leg is Christmas.  My right leg is New Year’s.  Come up and see between the holidays.”  Yet, this shop was the best source for off-the-beaten-path holiday cards in New York.  Unfortunately, they suddenly shuttered about three years ago.  I don’t know if it was for the usual reason terrific businesses cease to exist — their rent was raised obscenely high, or if they were actually a front for al-Qaeda.  I do know that I miss them terribly.

Card from my boss, Elsbeth, with note on the back, "This Card was Printed Letterpress by Hand on a 100-Year-Old Chandler & Price Platen Press." Excluded note, "This card was not purchased at WalMart."

Then I realized I could send holiday cards based on cartoons that were published in The New Yorker.  I decided I would do this forever, but forever ended this year when production of tee shirts, mugs, and greeting cards featuring New Yorker cartoons ceased.  That was another devastating loss.

Adorable card from my sister, Dovima, that instantly triggered my cat allergies.

Last summer, the fine folks at Café Press gave me a sweet deal on their Stranger’s Day cards by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast.  I decided that they would be my new go-to source for holiday cards, but there was one barrier to this brainstorm.  Most of their cards were “eh” at best, and the few I liked said, “Merry Christmas” inside. I have several Jewish and atheist friends so that was a no go.

Hand-selected just for me card from my friend Martini Max.

Many of the funniest holiday greeting cards I’ve sent through the years were published by Noble Works, but I was at a complete loss as to where to find their cards.  I Google searched them and within a nanosecond discovered that they’re based in New Jersey, they have a vast library of a variety of greeting cards available online, I could buy my holiday cards directly from them tax-free, and if I needed any further incentive to hit my enter key, they were including free shipping, too.  As much as I would like to say that Noble Works online is my new go-to source for holiday cards, I have learned the hard way that this type of completely satisfied customer thinking invites a curse.  Therefore, I will offer my endorsement of Noble Works – and hope that this company outlives me.

My 2011 questionable taste holiday card:

What is not widely known is that this wabbit is a direct descendant of Bugs Bunny.