December 17th ~ The Proverbial Christmas Card

On the seventeenth day of December my true love gave to me,

as stack of envelopes and stamps and addressee’s.

<– For the record my favorite Christmas movie is and always will be White Christmas.

So you’ve probably tackled the job of Christmas cards by now. I only did mine this past week, and actually have only sent out half of them. First I do all the family and close friends. Then Cory will come up with a list of colleagues and whomever else he wants to send a card to, and then we keep a few spares for those we receive and want to reciprocate. You know you do that, too. Sometimes you get a card from someone who was not on your original list but you definitely want to send one back now that they’ve thought of you.

We used to send out 150-200 cards a year. That was exhausting. And expensive in stamps alone, not to mention the cost of a box of nice cards or even Shutterfly cards. Over the years I’ve learned to whittle down my list considerably. Cory has, too, though he probably had a harder time of it than I did. His list was looooong. Ridiculously long. I know we all have those relationships that have been reduced over the years to Christmas card exchanges, but even those relationships will end at some point.

For the past few years we’ve limited our Christmas card list to about 50 families. If we go over, that’s okay, but it’s never by much. It’s also hard, with us being in the church.  We get lots of cards from parishioners, and it’s lovely but we simply can’t reciprocate them all. Nor can we just send cards to the people we connect with better than others because, well, obvious. And it’s never our intent to play favorites. So as a general rule we do not send out Christmas cards to anyone in the churches we currently serve. Once we leave an appointment, however, that changes things, and we find that we always have more names to add to our list.

It’s not so different for anyone else. You meet new acquaintances, make new friends, build new relationships, all the time throughout the years, and you find that there are always new people to add to your list.

Christmas cards is probably my least favorite task of the holidays. At first I begrudged hand writing so many cards and notes all at once. I don’t like my handwriting and I don’t think it’s particularly aesthetic. Then I started to get savvy and I printed my own labels. Not just for the envelopes  but for the inside of the cards as well. So instead of my chicken scratch signing our greeting, there’d be a neat little sticker with our names printed nicely. Now there’s Shutterfly. Oh, how I love Shutterfly! One year I used Walmart and those were just as good. These pre-ordered cards are the best, and nowadays everyone is using this service. Why not? All you have to do is go online and upload the pictures you want. 50 pictures for less than $15.00. Boom!

Happy Holidays to all!

Greeting cards play a vital role during the Christmas season. If you don’t have the time or the money then send them via email (I got one of those today). I used to display my cards in a variety of ways: standing up on every free available surface until that became too overwhelming; taped to a ribbon from ceiling to floor on some wall or doorway or archway; and finally, in a bucket.

Continue to savor the season in good health, good spirits, and good fun. Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember the real reason for the season.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”   ~  Luke 2:14   AKJV

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