Several years ago I heard an opinion piece on the radio during the holiday season that bugged me. The premise was that sending out Christmas cards diminishes the spirit of the season. Particularly Christmas cards. A card with a photo of your tanned family at the beach last summer? No, thank you. A Christmas greeting with lovey doveys from newlyweds slathered on for all to see? Lord, help us. And End Scene from Ebenezer. Enter this Mama, stage right, envelopes in hand. Although I admit I always think of this story I heard so many years ago during this season (good job, Mr. Newsman who hates fun), I do not agree. Like at all. I.LOVE.CHRISTMAS.CARDS! Call it an obsession. It’s the one time during the year that mail is actually a delight. I love trotting to my mailbox each day in December to see what my very creative friends and family have sent me. I love hanging them up in my house. I love sending my own. I love everything about holiday cards.
But alas, the cards in my mailbox, they dwindle with each passing year. Although it’s possible we’re being dropped off card lists left and right (Why people why?! I’ll change, I swear!), it’s far more likely that folks just aren’t sending them anymore. I found quite a few (often snarky) articles on the subject of why this is happening. Although the singles crowd complains that cards of marrieds with kids are an affront to the well being of the stomach courtesy of steaming piles of lame factor, it’s overwhelmingly a social media-driven issue. The logic is, “Everyone sees my life online all throughout the year. Why bother sending out a card when my 792 friends on Facebook know my kids’ names as well as their naptime schedule?” Hey, you can share as little or as much as you want, people. It’s not the card’s fault. Here’s why I think we should keep the tradition of sending out cards alive:
I have been sending out Christmas cards since we married in 2006. Our cards are a small timeline of our lives from year to year. Through our cards, I can see the progression of “just us” to “us and our first (furry) baby” to “now we have two furbabies” to this year’s “we are a family” with the addition of our first child. My friends’ cards are the same. Even though I may not see a friend or family member but once a year or maybe not even at all, I feel connected to that person and her family when she sends me a greeting. This is what I want people to know when they receive our card each year: I thought of you, I care about you, I hope you are well.
I personally spend a lot of time choosing the design of my card each year. It’s a beautiful creative release. But I am someone who loves paper and fonts and design, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. Luckily there are dozens of online companies that make holiday card creation a snap and are very affordable. Shutterfly is my personal favorite because of its great deals (when you catch them) and vast array of design choices. The card below was designed by a local company Pen & Parcel. Some super mamas make their cards by hand. Others go very simple, but take the time to write a sweet Christmas newsletter. And it’s ALL good! There is no right or wrong way to do this, except maybe to not send one…
Stating the obvious. But that is the whole reason for sending out a greeting in the first place, isn’t it? To bring a little sunshine amongst bills and junk mail. My favorite Elf says “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” True enough, Buddy, but I would argue that Christmas cards are just as good. And more quiet. Moms love quiet. I personally save the cards I receive from each year because I just can’t bear to throw them away! I punch a hole in the top corner and string them on a metal ring. Ribbon works too! I keep them in my decorations bin so I can take a minute to peruse past years’ salutations.
So even if you feel like everyone knows your life because it’s all over Facebook, don’t let the tradition die! It’s not too late to send out cards to just a few close family members or to everyone you know (the card sites can even mail them for you if you so desire). But if you just can’t muster up the drive before Christmas, I totally understand. But I’m not letting you off the hook. Send Happy New Year cards. Send me one. I’ll love it. I don’t care if you’re all over my Instagram and neither do your friends and family. They want your face in their mailbox!
Note: I have searched high and low on the Internet highway for an archive of the story that inspired this post, but have been unable to locate it. Maybe Santa’s elves just made it …disappear. Maybe I did it. I guess we’ll never know.