This was my 2020 holiday card.
I always seem to send out holiday cards late — mainly because I never seem to know what to write inside them — but I usually get them in the mail so that they arrive by Valentine’s Day at the latest. (Here’s my annual shoutout to my dear Episcopalian friend who always reminds me that liturgically speaking, Christmas doesn’t truly end until Candlemas on February 2nd.)
But for a variety of personal reasons — familiar to people who follow this blog — and a variety of general reasons — known to anyone who spent any time on planet Earth during 2020 — the House of Brouse’s 2020 holiday cards went out super late. Like, super-duper late.
Like … “Christmas in July, but if I’m honest, probably August” late.
I almost gave up on sending them at all. But I kept thinking of the Bob’s Burgers episode where Linda Belcher is determined to send out holiday cards, despite the fact they’ll be late, and despite all the eye-rolling from her family:
Look, I know you all think I’m crazy right now, but it’s… it’s more than just a picture, and the … the cards. It’s about being a human. These cards connect us with other people. And when there’s no people left in the world, the aliens will find our cards, and they’ll be like, ‘Aw, look at that family.’
So I sent them.
Looking at this card now, I realize just how optimistic I felt when I made this card. The first vaccines were just leaving manufacturing plants, and the outcome of the 2020 election seemed to herald a way out of the venality and sourness of the preceding four years.
But as I write this, Omicron is rampaging — the COVID-19 case rate in our county is the 2nd highest in the US, and our specific ZIP code leads the county. Families are still struggling with whether or not to get together for the holidays. Local hospitals are literally begging people to get vaccinated. (But far too many people are still saying “No.”) Even local deer are getting sick.
Meanwhile, for a disturbingly large segment of the electorate, the results of the 2020 presidential election — which rational people understand was definitively settled in November 2020 — is still up for debate.
And, most incomprehensibly to me, Dr. Anthony Fauci — who is a legitimate American hero — and his family are still getting death threats, while Republican politicians are writing fundraising letters proposing Fauci should be jailed. In the immortal words of Sheldon J. Plankton, “I don’t understand. Is there a gas leak in here?”
I mean, if you told me a year ago that the only part of this card that would be wholly irrelevant today would be the references to sourdough and sweatpants, I wouldn’t have believed it. I wouldn’t have thought that I could, more or less, send out the same card two years in a row.
Christmas, though, is by definition a day of hope, and so I’m unwilling to totally give in to despair. As the original version of the old song says:
Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow.
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow–
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
Let’s keep muddling forward. Merry Christmas and happy holidays.