Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Cards

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas Cards. I love--I mean really love--nice stationery. As nerdy as it sounds, nice paper is my favorite splurge item. I am a big fan of technology and do 95% of my correspondence via e-mail. Yet, I have a deep love for the handwritten word.

I purchased my Christmas cards at the end of the Summer. I had them printed a month ago. A few weeks ago I excitedly went to select my special brown Sharpies and Madonna and child stamps in preparation. I was looking forward to sending cards again this year. Yet, the actual work of addressing all these cards, realizing just how many addresses are incomplete in my files, attaching stamps and photos and the resulting aching back have made me wonder several times today why I do this every year.

Today I spent two hours tracking down addresses. As I waded back through old e-mails announcing address changes (some, literally, from 2003) I enjoyed a wonderful trip down memory lane that prompted e-mails and calls to folks I haven't had contact with in months. As I reconnected with each person--or simply thought about them specifically as I addressed their envelopes-- I was brought back to the point of this particular tradition.

It is not about "the picture" (or the paper, ahem), It is about the people who have touched our lives and connecting with them, showing a small measure of love and spreading cheer. Relationship, love, hope, reaching out...the very reasons our Savior came in the first place.

I encourage you to reframe your holiday stressors. As you get flustered and rushed by various holiday activities, ask yourself: What is the point anyway? I hope it helps make your season more enjoyable. It is definitely having a positive effect on mine.

Merry Christmas!

12 comments:

Michelle said...

I do enjoy cards as well. I have spent the last 2 days doing as you have. I am finished with all 100 or so cards. Wow, my had is all cramped, but it does make me feel good.

Renee said...

I agree with you 100%. Depend on emails but love fun stationary and a handwritten note. This year, I'm learning, again, that my timing is not always God's timing as I had it all planned to get pictures done early and cards ready to go after Thanksgiving. However, with a very sick family over the last 2 months, there has been no good time to go outside to try to get pictures. We finally managed an ok one, and now it's the time to address them all. I keep saying I'm going to print labels out next year, but I get in too much of a time crunch to get it done. I do know that Christmas cards (giving and receiving), no matter the trouble, are one of my favorite things about Christmas!

Cale and Kate said...

I had a similar clarifying moment earlier this week as I tried to capture the "perfect" photo for our cards. Was it worth me getting upset and stressing over? Definitely not! My heart's desire is to keep us focused on the real reason we are celebrating and my frustration at an uncooperative toddler was not glorifying the Lord! I'm thankful for clarity and for learning to let go things that don't really matter in the long run. What a process!

I have been reading for awhile now and thought it was time to come out of hiding. Thanks for sharing your heart and insights with all of us.

rustyandkeri said...

i was feeling the same way when i started tying bows on each of my cards!! but i love making my own cards and it only happens once a year! i always love your choice of christmas cards...always adorable! :)

Keri Ann said...

Well-said! I love the process, too, the reflecting and remembering...

I also believe there's nothing like addressing -- and receiving --handwritten envelopes, such a rarity and a needed personal touch in this technological world.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

As you get flustered and rushed by various holiday activities, ask yourself: What is the point anyway?

That's a profound truth, isn't it? I have shed so many "traditions" and time-consuming tasks the last few years as I started to grasp this concept.

Barbie@ Mamaology said...

What a great reminder! It is a blessing to have family and friends to send cards too:)

Erickson 5 said...

Great reminder! Just last night I was talking with one of my very best girls friends and she told me that again this year she is not sending out Christmas cards. I could not pin point why but it just bugs me that she does not. After reading this I can see clearly why it bothers me. Each card that is sent is a hug from someone who you know and love. I want hugs from her!!!
Happy addressing, stamping, and sending.
Nicole

HW said...

The last couple of years, I have sent New Years cards simply because I haven't found the time to get the Christmas cards out. After Christmas, there is a down time and I feel more relaxed to really enjoy sending them. I also hope it gives the receivers a pick-me-up after the holiday season is over.

Room for Grace said...

Christmas cards....
I knew I was forgetting something, thanks for the reminder!
I've been a lot more organized with gifts this year, so I guess the cards are suffering. It just moved to the top of my to do list for tomorrow.

MaryBeth said...

Christmas cards are one of my favorite ways of celebrating the holidays! This year I was a little too eager and sent ours the day after Thanksgiving... it wasn't even December yet, for goodness sake. I love to send them (especially with our cute little gang these days), but I really love to receive them and see how our family members and friends from far away are doing. Such a nice way to remember those we love...

A Place For Ministry Wives said...

I could write a book on the Christmas card drama I go through every year. :-)

Let's just say...I TOTALLY understand.