For many, Jesus and Santa are the two main guys of Christmas. They steal the show. And although, Jesus is definitely the reason for the season in our household, there is another guy who is almost just as important to our family every holiday season. It’s the Card Guy.
We have a long-standing tradition on my dad’s side of the family of having a card contest over the years. What started out as a friendly game of voting on which Christmas card was the best to be sent to my uncle and his family turned into an all-out fierce competition of judging, alliances, secret voting, song and dance, tears, fights, and carefully crafting the perfect and funniest card for half a year. We’ve had family members become the Griswalds, Kardashians, Joe Biden and Obama, and Ralphie and Randy from a Christmas Story all in the name of the Card Contest. And out of that, the Card Guy came to life.
The Card Guy is my uncle. On the eve of the contest he transforms into character wearing a jean vest full of Christmas cards from days of yore. The lights dim, the music sounds, and he bursts into the room almost magically singing and dancing the opening number. Usually a spoof on a popular song. It’s oddly reminiscent of Michael Scott performing at the Dundies. Throughout his entire performance for the night, he does a spectacular job of hosting the contest. He divides the cards into categories: Nature, Religious, Plain Text, and the biggest, most coveted one of all- the Picture category. Then, he dazzles us with his jokes, wit, charisma, and charm until he ultimately crowns the winner of the night. For a while, the Card Guy was on top of the world.
But over time, we became greedy and hungry for victory. We pushed the Card Guy for more. More jokes. More songs. More pizzazz. And we riddled him when the contest dragged on for too long. We belittled him when our cards didn’t win. We booed him when his jokes didn’t land. We demanded him to perform like he was some kind of show puppet and not a real person with real feelings. We couldn’t see it, but the Card Guy was cracking. The pressure was too much.
Finally, he hung up his hat and announced his retirement. Some family members made feeble attempts to encourage him to perform again, but he simply wouldn’t do it. But with the birth of children, weddings, surgeries, and the like, the family wasn’t able to be together at Christmastime for the past two years. We made some tries to have the contest over Facebook, but it was missing something. It was missing the Card Guy.
Now with last year, 2020, being so hard and the holiday season approaching rapidly, we all need something to unite the world. To bring peace and simplicity back into the homes of America again. We need the Card Guy. But more importantly, we need the Card Guy because he unites our family together. He makes us laugh. He makes us value family traditions. He gives us hope that despite everything that has happened in the world, we will always have each other to lean on, fight and make up with, and ultimately create long-lasting memories with. Ones we can tell our children about. This isn’t the year for traditions to be forgotten. This is the year for them to be remade, rebirthed, restored in any way possible. This is the year for Card Guy.