Christmas card tradition carries on into another generation

Some families have Christmas traditions that come in the form of cookies, or special breakfasts, or unique Christmas Eve menus, and some families have something a little different.

Carol Hurley is continuing a Christmas tradition her mother started 56 years ago.

Wanda Powell, Hurley’s mother, received a card in the mail from her friend, Betty Steele, one Christmas and thought it was really cute. The card has the quintessential ’50s-style graphic with a small child dressed in pajamas saying her prayers.

“It was just a cute little card. So the next year I sent it back to her,” said Powell. “She never let on that she got it, and we saw each other once or twice a week or so.”

Each year, the friends took turns sending the card back to each other, signing their children’s names and never really addressing it during their regular lives. This has gone on – now with Helen Lareau and Carol Hurley, Steele and Powell’s daughters – carrying the tradition on – every year for the past 56 years. The card is so precious and fragile now that Hurley has scanned it to create new copies for when she shares it with someone.

“The mothers kept it going for so long,” said Hurley, who now signs her children’s names on the card, as does Lareau. “It’s sort of like a family tree: you get to watch as the family marries, or somebody has children,” she added, mentioning that the card has seen all sorts of life changes, such as when her brother passed away.

“We were just determined we weren’t going to let it stop. It’s sort of like a challenge,” she noted.