(This story was published for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories Day 22: Christmas and Deceased Relatives…)
My family did not have any traditions or rituals pertaining to our dead relatives. We did not visit cemeteries or do anything special to remember them.
Instead, I will tell you about the little card that seemed to have a spirit of it’s one. My Aunt Julie died in November 1989 right after Thanksgiving. She and I were close and she will always have a special place in my heart.
About a week later, I received a Christmas card from my Japanese pen pals. It was when the musical cards had just come out. This card was red with a green tree on the front. When you opened it it play Jingle Bells and a couple of other short songs.
I noticed that the card played when no one was around. It seemed to have a life of it’s own. You’d be having breakfast when all of sudden the card would start playing. I started to think of it as Aunt Julie’s card. Whenever it played, I’d think “Oh, there’s Aunt Julie’s spirit coming to mess with us again”. I am sure something like the sunlight or wind was triggering the low tech battery mechanism. Still, it made me smile to think that Aunt Julie was teasing us from the beyond.
I put the card away with the other Christmas stuff. Each year I brought it and each year it reminded me of my Aunt whenever it mysteriously started playing.
It lasted for about 7 or 8 years. Finally, I had to retire it. Aunt Julie’s game must have finally worn out the battery. I think that card served it’s perhaps because it brought back fond memories whenever it began to play.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com