Growing up, I always opened the Christmas cards as they would come in the mail. Even though they were addressed to my parents, I got more excited about them more than anyone in the house. I'd sneak a peak and shove the card back into the envelope for my parents to re-open.
As I grew older and moved off to college, I sent out a few Christmas cards to friends who moved out of state and even a few relatives. I found my Christmas card list growing more and more every year. Once I got married, my list more than doubled. I don't really keep track of how many cards I send out. It's not about the number. In fact, I really don't have certain people I send cards to. I just sort of open my address book and go. I go until I run out of cards, basically. It doesn't matter if one sends me a card or not. You may receive a card from me one year and maybe not the next then you'll see one five years from now. It's just how I roll.
Christmas cards are burden to a lot of people. I get that. It takes several evenings to hand write all the addresses. The boxes of cards are an investment. Stamps aren't getting cheaper. In fact, I almost didn't do them this year. Procrastinating and running short on time, I went from store to store to store trying to find ones that suited us. I almost gave up but ended up finding some at my last hope. I'm picky. And if I planned ahead, I would have even been able to order some of those cool family photo cards. But I don't. Every year come December, I fly by the seat of my pants.
I'm definitely way too busy to be spending my evenings on Christmas cards this week. But I have to. You see, to me, it's more than just filling out an address, signing my name and licking an envelope.
Filling out Christmas cards is personal time with myself to reflect. Our lives and the people in them are always growing and changing as my address book is. As I go through my address book, I find happiness for friends who have purchased their first home writing their new address for the first time, I watch families grow as I try to remember each of my friend's kid's names and I even take time to remember and grieve those we've lost.
Tonight I came across the name of an old friend we loss. It brought heartache that I wouldn't be sending old Mrs. Clauss a card this year as she lost her battle to cancer last winter. I thought about her family as they'll spend their first Christmas without her. She really would have enjoyed watching her twin great grandsons experience their first Christmas. I couldn't bring myself to cover up her name and address quite yet. I know as I drive by her old house, there won't be colored lights around her kitchen window this year but that's okay. She's moved onto bigger and brighter lights.
Even though I'll be sending one less card this year, I find comfort in knowing I'll be sending an extra one or two. It's always fun to send cards to new friends. It's sort of like sealing the deal on your new found friendship.
Sometimes I think about some of the people who only have Christmas cards to look forward to each year. They may not be on Facebook, they live alone far away from family and often spend Christmas alone. Maybe they're going through a tough time in life and opening Christmas cards temporarily takes them to a place of joy and comfort. They're the reason why I send Christmas cards. That will be each and every one of us at some point in our lives. That's why Christmas cards are not a burden to me.
Christmas cards are good for the soul. They may be time consuming but in the end it's worth it. Don't do them if it's a burden or they feel like a chore. Social media and email have easily replaced Christmas cards and it makes sense to my why a lot of people have let the tradition die. No one expects them but we all certainly accept them!
Do you send out Christmas cards? If so, why and who do you send them to? If not, why?