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The Best Christmas Card Ever

The Best Christmas Card Ever

My dad was the Michelangelo of Christmas cards. He loved new and creative ways of saying Merry Christmas, just as he loved new and creative ways of doing just about everything. One card was wreath-shaped, with the family poking our heads through the hole. One was a miniature magazine, with stories on each of us. The one shown here had photos of family scenes with funny things the kids said.

But his Sistine Chapel came in 1958. By that time he had a successful career in church films and filmstrips, so he spent a lot of time at the recording studio. One Saturday afternoon he took us there with him, spread out some arrangements on a music stand, and told us we were going to make our Christmas card. It turned out to be a seven-inch record—red, with a green label—on which the entire family played “Deck the Halls” on trumpets and piano, followed by a brief solo and Christmas wish from each of us.

I listened to the record recently. What struck me about the music wasn’t so much the notes themselves but what was in between—a feeling of excitement, of making something beautiful and sharing it with friends.

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