Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day 26: Holiday Cards

Holiday Stamps - USPS
I have never been regular about sending out holiday cards.  Some years I spent hours on end crafting homemade cards to send off to family and friends.  And others, well, I had a list of excuses as to why I didn't want to handle that particular chore...

...I didn't have time to do handmade cards and if it was just going to be a card off the shelf why bother?
...Even if I bought cards off the shelf I just don't have to time to track down all of those addresses, write the cards, stamp them and then mail them.
...No one does this any more.  I mean why not just let the tradition die out?
...Oh look now it's just two weeks before the holidays, maybe I could send New Year's cards instead.
...oh...Happy New Year, guess I'll try again next year.

This year on the day before Thanksgiving I found myself standing in front of a very small display of holiday cards at the drug store.  I had gone in to look for a light bulb when I saw the holiday decorations on display and wondered if they might have boxes of cards.  It had been how many years since I sent them out regularly?  Three?  Four?  Maybe five...these days most folks send ecards, if they send anything at all, and I'm just as guilty.

I thought of how nice it was to open the mailbox and see something other than a bill there.  An envelope with a handwritten address; a concrete, solid representation of my being in someone's thoughts.  I wanted the people I cared about to have that moment where they would know someone paused in their day to let them know they were thought of kindly.

I didn't buy the most expensive box, or even the prettiest cards, but I bought a box that I thought would have enough cards to send to everyone who might be on my list.  I'd not made the list yet so 24 cards seemed appropriate but when I began to write out my list this morning I quickly realized 24 would not even be close.  I went to Reny's to buy another box and on my way also stopped to purchase stamps.

I spent much of this evening writing them out.   I admit, at first as I sat looking at my list of names, I questioned the wisdom of doing it. The list was not short and that was so much writing.  But I dug out my good pen, poured a glass of wine and set upon my task.  As I began to write, crossing each name off the list as the address was penned on the envelope, it felt less and less like a chore.

I found the process to be a bit meditative as I looked at the next name on the list, brought the image of the person to mind, often recalling some memory of them, and wrote a short personal message in their card.  It was enjoyable to think of the people I love and cherish.

I managed to get about halfway through my list and hope to finish the rest tomorrow so that I can walk them all to the mailbox on Monday morning.

I don't expect many cards back, if any at all.  It is a tradition that seems to be fading, and it has been years since I sent them out myself.  But that doesn't matter, what mattered to me was doing some small thing to create connection with people who are important to me.

And this year connection seems extra important.

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