Top 10 reasons for sending a Christmas card
1. I don’t want people to forget about me.
2. I don’t want to get in trouble with my mom.
3. I want everyone to see that I lost weight this year.
4. I need to make at least one every year to put in our family album.
5. It’s part of my annual to-do list and I don’t think Santa can come unless I finish my list.
6. I got a really great coupon.
7. We took a cool vacation this year that I want people to know about.
8. It’s my subversive attempt to fight the digital age by clinging to a physical card tradition.
9. I count cards like I count Facebook “likes.” The more I send, the more I receive.
10. I want to show my friends and family that I love them and wish them a merry Christmas.
Maybe it feels too soon to be talking about Holiday cards.
Or for some of you it’s already too late to talk about them.
Every year I’m still washing Thanksgiving dishes when the first one arrives in my mailbox, which means I have friends who start planning their holiday cards in August. When I get a card before December 1st with a family smiling at me in red holiday sweaters, I assume you’re probably sweating under those sweaters. But that’s only because I wish I were on top of my holiday game like you.
For the rest of us, those who have never sent a card before, or who typically begin to think about cards once Starbucks brings out the red cups and the grocery store trades their candy aisle for wrapping paper and twinkle lights, we are already so far behind it may seem impossible. But don’t despair. There’s still time.
All you have to do is . . . schedule a photographer, select tastefully coordinated outfits, get all members of the family showered, dressed and to the photo shoot, pay for digital files, select your design, personalize it, enter your discount code, purchase, buy stamps, spend a day addressing envelopes, and then get those babies in the mail.
I confess, last year I actually accomplished every one of those steps . . . except the last one. I have a box full of 2014 Christmas cards sitting in my closet.
This year, I did some quick math on all the activity behind sending holiday cards. Assuming family time is worth as much as the average babysitter, the card isn’t quite worth it’s weight in gold—Not literally anyway. But it is worth something. (Actually, each card comes to about the price of a grande latte and a pastry in case you’re wondering.)
Even in a world where we can see pictures of everyone’s family anytime we like for free on social media, there’s something about hanging the smiling faces of friends and family in our homes that make the winter season a little warmer.
It’s just that (selfishly) I like getting cards more than I like sending them.
Maybe it’s because I can become overwhelmed
with business from Halloween through New Years
(or it’s just that I’d rather bake cookies than lick envelopes).
Maybe it’s because I have too many expectations
around what this time of year is supposed to look like
(or it’s because I’m embarrassed that our picture didn’t turn out like I’d hoped).
So, because I know that for some of us, this is really the card-preparing season—even if no one will actually see a card for another month—I thought I would write for myself a few card-making principles. In the spirit of remembering why at this time of year we keep the tradition of envelopes and stamps in a digital world, here’s a guideline for Christmas cards. For those who send cards, maybe you can relate.
- A Christmas card says, “I wish we were closer all year long.”
Not ,“I got this off my to-do list today.”
- A Christmas card says, “I care about you.”
Not, “I’m secretly glad I’m more trendy than you.”
- A Christmas card says, “Because of Jesus, there’s hope for tomorrow.”
Not, “Because of this picture, you can tell that last year was awesome.”
Also, there are many traditions to show our love and appreciation for each other—other than a card. At least I hope that’s true, or I lost a lot of friends in 2014. That’s okay, this year I’m sending everyone two. I still haven’t thrown away the 2014 batch.
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