The Christmas Cards

My cousin Erin usually hosts the family Christmas party. Over the years, Erin has learned that if she wants a party to get started at 2 pm, she has to tell my aunt Sophie that it is at noon, so my aunt will have sufficient time to wake up late, shower, make a sumptuous breakfast for her husband, do her makeup, vacuum the house, wash and wax the car, run into some burning buildings to save some orphaned children, and go last minute Christmas shopping. Erin then has to tell my mother that the party is at 3 pm because or else my mother will arrive three hours early, just in case there is traffic on the two mile stretch of highway she has to travel every day in the New Jersey suburban nightmare we call our home.

Last year, everything seemed to work out just right and Nagymama arrived with my mother right on time and marveled at my cousin’s beautifully decorated bi-level home.

“Some day, I’m gonna vin dah lotto and buy bi-levels for everyvon!” she says, in very cute, broken English.
“Yah, yah, you’ve been sayink dat for 40 years, give it a rest,” my aunt said from the doorway, bearing boatloads of gifts.
As Nagymama removed her coat, her attention immediately turned to the several dozen Christmas cards that were neatly hung on the staircase. She immediately grabbed my cousin’s arm, pulled her down, and whispered in her ear with a whisper full of hot, wet air and cookie crumbs, “I know your secret, my child.”

“What are you talking about, Nagymama?”

“These Christmas cards…these cards were not sent to you. You just bought a box from the store and wrote them out to yourself so you would look more popular.”
My cousin couldn’t look more shocked.

Nagymama nodded knowingly, “Shh! It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone.”