Friends’ Christmas Card Tradition At 36 Years And Counting

Friends’ Christmas Card Tradition At 36 Years And Counting
Ocean City resident Lorna Pearre is pictured holding the Christmas card she and friend Mae Cooke have mailed every year since 1986. Photo by Bethany Hooper

OCEAN CITY – A 36-year-old holiday card, passed between households in Maryland and Florida, made its way to Ocean City this month as part of a decades-old tradition among friends.

It came as no surprise this year when Ocean City property owner Lorna Pearre went to her mailbox and found a Christmas card in the stack of holiday greetings she typically receives from friends and family. It’s the same Christmas card that’s been passed between her and her Florida-based friend since 1986.

“My friend is in Lakeland, Florida, and she will send it to me one year and I’ll send it to her the next,” she explained. “It’s been going back and forth for over 30 years.”

Pearre, 81, said the tradition started in the late 1980s, when she received a Christmas card in the mail from Mae Cooke, her friend of 60-plus years.

“We worked together at the old Montgomery Ward in Baltimore,” she said. “That’s how we met.”

Inside, the card reads, “Save this card! You can send it to me next Christmas!”

And for the next 30-plus years, that is what the two friends did.

“When we started, we never dreamed it would still be going more than 30 years later,” Pearre said. “As time has gone on, we really had to make sure we kept after it.”

When the card is in her possession, Pearre said she keeps it in a stationery box.

But she said that hasn’t stopped her from forgetting a time or two.

“Several years, Mae has called me and told me don’t forget it,” she joked. “I don’t usually save cards, but I save this one.”

Both the inside and back of the card are filled with signatures, locations and dates, and Pearre noted she now writes wherever she can find space. The friends have also started making their own envelopes before sending the Christmas card in the mail.

“The card is so old they don’t even make these kinds of envelopes anymore,” she said.

But Pearre said it won’t stop them from continuing the annual holiday tradition.

“This is absolutely something we want to continue doing,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.