Pop-Up Christmas Cards from the Past

Dear Reader:

Today is the winter solstice…the shortest day of the year. (thus it is sometimes called the Longest Night of the year) On this day the sun is at its lowest arc and appears to “stand still”…which is Latin for the word solstice.

If you like gloriously long shadows today is your day…with the sun at its lowest arc…it now makes the longest shadows.

Yesterday I felt like I was playing with shadows too…but of a different nature…shadows of the past. I know Honey and I have talked about the strange feeling that comes over us when we are looking for something in a drawer and suddenly we pull out an object or letter or something from our past that brings back a sudden memory of a family member long passed.

*Honey says this happens to her more with finding her mother’s memoirs than any other and it is always when she has had her mother on her mind or dreamed about her .

When I found this old 1944 Christmas card daddy sent mother when they were still engaged and he was fighting in England during WWII it just made me smile a little sadly and wish he had lived long enough for me to get to really know him…to have more memories of him.



No sooner had I found the old sentimental Christmas card (from my father to my mother) than I read a true short story from a Guidepost entry called “A Greeting Card from Heaven.” (Diana Ayden- Inspiring Stories)

My husband’s best friend Mark always sent greeting cards. There wasn’t a holiday, birthday or anniversary that wasn’t honored with an encouraging card and note—and always arriving exactly on time.

How does he do it? we wondered.

There was only one time a card arrived on the wrong day.  It was in mid-January when my husband brought in the mail, he recognized Mark’s handwriting.  Opening up the card he said, “That’s odd. It’s two weeks early.”

Two days later, Mark died suddenly of a heart attack. We were heartbroken by the news, but the odd coincidence of getting one last birthday card, comforted us that Mark was okay.

That was two years ago, and every holiday, every birthday since then is a little lonely without his greetings. Hanging up the Christmas cards this year I thought about how we missed him. Of course his Christmas card was usually the first to arrive.

My husband was stringing the lights on the porch. “Do you know where the replacement bulbs are?” he asked. I found a box filled with old lights on a shelf in the basement. I started to un-pile the bulbs… looking for what he needed.

At the bottom of the box something bright red caught my eye. An envelope. I turned it over. Mark’s handwriting. Opening it up, I read his wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Holding the card to my heart, I shook my head at the timing.  An old Christmas card from years ago, somehow put back in the envelope and packed away. Found right when we needed it. The only card in the bottom of a box of old lights.

Of course, if anyone could send us a Christmas card from heaven, it’d be Mark!


So until tomorrow…Let us stop and embrace those moments when we come face to face with our past memories of loved ones gone before us. I always touch the memoir whether it is a  picture, letter, card or object, remind the person of my continued love and blow some kisses heavenward. We are all closer than we think.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Caleb (Boogie Boy) Brooke’s precious grandson made the news (Post&Courier) this past week as his photo was taken staring up at Marshall…one of the  characters from Paws Patrol during the Christmas Lights Display…downtown Charleston. Too cute!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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5 Responses to Pop-Up Christmas Cards from the Past

  1. Sis Kinney says:

    Good Friday morning, Becky!
    Beautiful post today; heart-warming and heart-string-tugging! And, wow, oh wow: I see Eva Cate in that photo of your father! Have you noticed the resemblance? I’m sure you have, but isn’t that something?!
    My prayer for you this day is that you will continue to heal and that your Christmas will be memorable and love-filled, as I’m sure it will be!
    Much love,


    • Becky Dingle says:

      No I haven’t Sis…but now I do…isn’t that interesting how if we are too close to someone we don’t see resemblances like others do. I got your Christmas card today and love it…surprise coming in the blog tomorrow.


  2. Jo Dufford says:

    Loved the pencil story yesterday and loved the Christmas card story today. It is natural I would love the story of the 2 pencils as it brought back memories of some gifts students gave me through the years. However, the magic pencil idea was just plain genius or maybe a push from a Spirit within him. Whichever, it made all the difference. As teachers, we hope that sometime, someway, we made a difference for some student or students. Maybe I should just say, “As a person, we can only hope for that same goal.” Great seeing you out today!!!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I had just gotten into Summerville after an hour plus parking lot on 526 trying to get home in my new car (new to me) and then another 45 minutes trying to get home from Heavenly Ham…but it was so good to see you…for once I didn’t have to sweat my car turning off if left idle too long on the interstate…I was a confident driver…so happy today.


  3. bcparkison says:

    .Congrats on having a ‘new’ car and being able to drive it home. Yea!
    Had to laugh about the Paw Patrol. Saw an ad today for a Paw Patrol 3n1 potty seat. It looked like a dog food bowl. Good grief this world is crazy.
    Blessings to you for a wonderful New Year.


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