This is not a criticism of those who choose not to send Christmas cards! This is about why I love Christmas cards, both sending a receiving them, even in today’s digital age. If you don’t want to send them, don’t ! But no need to rail against my love of them, OK?
I love Facebook. It has allowed me to connect with people from past lives and enjoy their successes and mourn their losses with them. And Facebook does relieve me from sending EVERYONE a Christmas card. But…..I still love Christmas cards. And, not everyone is on Facebook. There are some very special people in my life who will never read this. They might be older and not really online, let alone Facebook. But there are some folks who AREN’T “old” but who don’t do Facebook for whatever other reason. I love hearing from them and I love sharing with them. Especially the older relatives. I wonder if they still get updates from everyone else or are their mantels bare? Which would be a shame!
I also enjoy receiving cards and putting them on display. Each family member will occasionally pull a few and go through them. The kids will ask, “who is this again? When did we meet them?” And we recall some family history together.
Sometimes I get all annoyed with the pressure to get them out, yeah. But overall, I’ve realized the process is GOOD for me. I consider it one of my Advent rituals. I compose a short summary of our year and as I do so, I think about how much we did, what we enjoyed and sometimes, what stunk. It’s short and touches on one thing each kid did, usually, and what big events we had as a family. I always keep one copy of this card for the kids to have in the future. [This really means I shove it in a box to take care of “later.”] As I joyfully prepare and anticipate Christmas, the task of signing, addressing and sending Christmas cards
forces allows me to sit down and think of each person or family on my list. I wonder how they are doing, think about the last time I saw them and say a short prayer for their well-being. Then I put a stamp on the envelope and hope I hear from them, if I haven’t already!
So in some way, that card connects me with people who hold a special place in my life, but whom I don’t get to see anymore. And I hope that each card I receive means the same. Well, I’ve mailed out ZERO cards so far this Advent, so I’ll wrap this up so I can at least start today!
PS. Let’s get practical. Yes, it costs money to send cards. Every fall I buy 100 stamps and that usually lasts me almost a year. This includes the cards I send. I now order about 100 cards but have extras. I don’t mail them all. Some go along with gifts, a few are handed out. I try to spend less than $1 on each card. Keeping an eye on Snapfish or Picaboo, I can usually get a good deal on photo cards that have my personalized message on the back, freeing me up from writing all but a short greeting on each card. This year I spent about 60 cents on each card. Plus postage, that’s less than $1 per mailed card and less than $100 total since I don’t mail them all. Some years I get away with less per card, but I was later than usual this year!
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