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Send Christmas Cheer in an Envelope
I reflect fondly on greeting cards the way some people remember an excellent meal or a special experience while traveling. One of my all-time favorite cards showed a Jack-o-lantern (with legs), a turkey and Santa Claus all racing toward an unseen finish line. The gist of the message inside the card was that these three holidays seem to tumble forward at an amazingly brisk pace. Indeed, with Halloween in our rearview mirrors, I’m already a little breathless with so many events and activities ahead.
I’m a Christmas card devotee. When my brother and I were under the age of 10, my mom would save all Christmas cards received for us to open after we got home from school. We also got to choose where to display them in our home. The best year was when we were allowed to tape them around the screen of our big floor model television. A Charlie Brown Christmas was enhanced by the frame of cards.
The first Christmas card was developed in 1843 to encourage the common folk to use the English postal system. What?! Christmas related to a sales gimmick? Yes, it’s true. However, I like to think each card since then – from the dozens my family received in the 1960s and 1970s, to the trickle of cards I receive these days – is a sincere connection to the sender, regardless of original intention.
Three years ago, I challenged a group of friends to squeeze preparing and sending 10 Christmas cards into their busy holiday schedules. Each person chose 10 recipients and vowed to write a personal message to each recipient. Like any holiday project, the results were mixed. Not everybody managed to send 10 cards and not everybody managed to include a personal message. I’m happy to say, though, the feedback my friends and I received for our efforts was so enthusiastic that it has become a “thing” for us.
Year two found us using a (free) room at the local library to gather and complete our cards together (and exchange cookies). The next year a friend hosted our card party as a potluck. Last year we were back at the library – no cookies, but we each gathered non-perishables to donate to the local food bank.
We’ve gone overboard with envelope decorating, some have added holiday letters to their cards and we’ve scaled back when our “thing” became less manageable. What we’ve gladly allowed to get out of hand, though, is the idea that connecting with people during the holidays through holiday cards makes us feel like kids at Christmas again.
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