"WHAT THE HECK ARE THESE?!" I said.
"These are my handmade Chritmas cards." My mom replied.
Mom proudly showed me an entire stash of DIY Christmas cards that she used old cardboard, previously received Christmas cards and Christmas flyers to assemble. There were cut up Walmart, Futureshop, Sears flyers all over the table. My mom explained that by doing so, she saved the family $5 buying new Christmas cards this year. A whole whopping $5.
"No wonder mom gets no visitors", I thought. Aside from missionaries at the Mormon church who visit once per month to see if my parents are still interested in baptizing to be a Mormon. It has been over 10 years and they are still visiting my parents monthly. Their persistence is quite impressive.
Being Mormon wasn't our first choice. My mom wanted to continue practicing her Christianity when we moved to Canada. Since the first people we met were Mormons, they stamped "dibbs" on us, beating out the Catholics and the Jehovah's Witnesses. My mom didn't care what Christianity it was as long as there was a Jesus and a Holy Bible involved. She dragged the rest of us with her every Sunday.
I got baptized a year later because the Mormon missionaries promised me a party and cake. I was 13, spoke very little English and had no friends so of course I said yes. That was my very first party. It was exciting. People I barely knew came and congratulated me like they were my friends. The thought that I was committing to a religion didn't even cross my mind. To me, I got a party and a cake of my choice and all I had to do was dip under the water for a few seconds. It was every foreign teenage girl's dream.
"Please deliver these cards to the neighbors" My mom instructed me.
"Mom, they are going to laugh. No one does this!"
Most of my parents' neighbors have been there for over 10 years. They are friendly but they never invite my parents to their gatherings for I'm sure reasons such as giving them ghetto DIY Christmas Cards. Once my dad complained when he saw all of our surrounding neighbors at Brian's house. Brian lives behind us, he has the biggest house on the top of the hill looking down at all our houses and he loves parties. My dad watched them from our kitchen window and informed me that they were drinking wine.
"But you don't drink." I said.
"So?! I would still like to be invited!" My dad replied.
"But if you go, you'd have to bring something. And you hate spending money!"
"No, I'd go for free."
"And that's why they don't invite you!"
My dad ignored me and continued to sulk. I pictured a dark stormy day where my dad stood in front of our kitchen window alone starring at the warm lighting from Brian's dining room with all of our neighbors having a good time.
Asians are stereotypically known to be cheap. But often you would see an old Asian woman in a Sporty Spice track suit who looks like a bum but carries a Louis Vuitton bag. A lot of Asians cheap out on little daily things then spend a ridiculous amount on lavish things. My mother included. My mom hung our clothes to dry for a week to save electricity and then made my dad buy her a ticket to Disneyland because she wanted to go. Mom didn't invite the rest of the family but dragged my youngest sister as her excuse to go. My mom then made my dad pack them daily lunches and dinner for Disneyland so she wouldn't have to spend "the family's" money on food while they were there. She said that was thoughtful of her.
As well, while my mom cheap out on Christmas cards, she spends hundreds buying second hand junk at Value Village every month. Once she came home with a used organ. It was the size of an upright piano.
"Where the hell are we going to put this?!" my dad yelled. He was pissed.
"To start our own Jesus cult so we save gas driving to church." I snidely said. Neither of my parents found that funny.
"I got this for only $20! One of the kids will play it!" my mom said.
The organ was so old and worn. It made fart noises when the keys were pressed. Even the organ sounded like it was in agony to exist. None of us played it more than that one time it first arrived to our basement. The organ is still at my parents' place, if anyone wants it.
I looked back at the card, sighed, put on my coat and went out the door with them. The neighbors accepted the cards politely. They probably think my mom made the cards because she thinks she's the Asian Martha Stewart. But my sisters and I know better. All of the Walmart and Best Buy Christmas flyers that goes to our house would be appreciated differently. No longer considered as advertisement adding to our materialistic society, they would be made into Christmas cards. Where the cards get sent to the neighbors, and the neighbors would have a laugh, then throw it back in the recycling bin. Where the cards would be made into a flyer once more, to be converted to next year's Christmas cards.