Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why Should We Send Holiday Cards...?

About three years ago, I started down the very slippery slope of "holiday card sending decline". I had recently moved, gotten married, and was now helping to raise a little boy. I had a full time job, a house to keep clean, and nourishing dinners to get on the table-- and all this during the holiday season, when I was trying to shop for presents, decorate, and complete end of the year projects for work.

Wowee, I was busy and I sure didn't know if I was going to have time to write any silly holiday cards. I didn't have time for that! Surely everyone could see how busy I was?

We Are Not Too Busy, Seriously
Honestly, this "I am too busy" excuse is a major pet peeve of mine and always has been; I cannot believe I had even been subconsciously entertaining it for myself! It has no validity because we are all busy. We all have families and/ or friends, jobs and/ or professional obligations, personal interests and/ or charitable commitments. All of us. Every single one of us. We are all busy.

As a society, we have filled our lives to the brim and around the holidays our days are bursting at the seams with things to do. So, "I am too busy" as an excuse just doesn't cut it.
Any particular thing you do each day is based on whether or not you have made it a priority. Holiday cards included.

So Why Does It Matter Whether We Send Holiday Cards?
I read an article last year about why we should send holiday cards, which I tried to find again this year, with no success. I can't remember the exact words in the article, but the sentiment-- I remember the sentiment, which was that we should not get so carried away with the "business" of our daily lives that we cannot maintain this simple connection with precious family members and friends, through something so simple as this tiny, once-a-year act.

So, take some time out of your busy day to sit down with a cup of hot chocolate or tea or a slice of pie, with holiday music playing and ornaments twinkling in the glow of candlelight, with spouse/ partner, with children, or enjoying some quality quiet time by yourself, to maintain this simple and very precious connection with those in your life that you love and that you do not see or speak to nearly enough during the year. Grab those kiddos of yours and enlist their help to show them that there is more to maintaining friendships and family relationships than "liking" someone's picture on facebook. Remember at this very special time of year to treat your loved ones with, well love, and show it in part by sending out a simple little card.

Consider the following to help make your holiday card writing more effective and/ or more enjoyable:
  • Try making your own cards. Use craft paper or construction paper and draw pictures (have the kiddos draw pictures), keep it simple or get really creative with embellishments and pictures. My sister is no artist, but she includes a little picture in every card she sends me and I cherish each one. Or, if you are talented, try these, which are amazing and come with instructions.
  • Simply go to the nearest establishment that sells cards and buy them. Here is an example of what Target offers, but you can go to lots of different places. Even better, try buying your cards from a local company.  I like the recycled options available these days. You could also order your cards online through charitable organizations who offer these types of products, for example, these at the Humane Society. This gives you more bang for your buck since you are helping out a favorite charity while buying your cards.
  • You can upload your pictures to Snapfish or Shutterfly and have them make your cards. I love receiving these types of cards from families with small children (or new additions!) as you can really see the changes from year to year. You'll need to make sure to get this sort of card done a few weeks in advance.
  • Try to write a personalized note in your cards. Something short, but personal. Perhaps referencing the last time you met or simply tell them you miss them and hope to see them soon. I know that my favorite cards to receive are the ones with personal notes in them. I will be honest, I toss the boilerplate family-style newsletters after skimming the photos, but I will always read a hand-written note.
  • Send a recipe, or better yet, your recipe in your cards - if you are a real foodie, this is a great chance to show your family and friends just exactly how to use coconut flour or ghee. :- )  If you have a blog, be sure to write your blog address on the recipe so your friends and family can check it out.
  • Send a few photos in the cards. You can send loose school photos (like we did in the old days) or simply print off favorite shots that you've saved. I did this a few times and it was great, because you can add captions with brief explanations and customize which photos you sent.
  • For the cards you receive, try using them as decorations. You can hang them on the back of a door or to a entry way as additional holiday decorations. With a little boy and pets running about, we can never get our cards to stay displayed unless we do this. If you ask me, this is a great way to keep them tidy and out of the way. Or check out these other great ideas. Also, after the season is over, try to recycle/ upcycle your cards using some of these tips.
Let's make a pact to send out holiday cards each year to help us keep in mind the true spirit of the holiday season, which involves the love and company of family and friends. Your cards are a simple little notice each year to your loved ones that lets them know they are truly important to you and cherished all throughout the year, as evidenced by your simple, heartfelt note sent during the holidays.

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  1. I expect a handmade card with a personalized message just for me.

  2. Wonderful post! I love this. You hit the nail on the head about being too busy. I think it is so important for us to keep some traditions and pass them on to our children. Not to mention it is SO exciting to get something besides a bill in the mail! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I agree completely on both points! Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  3. Saw you on the Frugal Days party. You wrote "we should not get so carried away with the "business" of our daily lives that we cannot maintain this simple connection with precious family members and friends, through something so simple as this tiny, once-a-year" act.

    And that's my problem. I am so sick of the cards people send me *once a year* - it feels like I'm getting something obligatory, not a genuine greeting. Worse are the "family newsletters" some people enclose where it's a detailed list of everything the family did that year.

    My reaction...if someone didn't think enough of me to reach out DURING THE YEAR or update me as things were happening with their family, then sending the once-a-year Christmas card is kind of a cop out. It's an obligation, one more name to check off on a list. We should be doing these little acts of staying in touch all year - not just at Christmas! In that sense, "busy" is definatey not an excuse!

    1. I definitely agree that it would be better for people to make time throughout the year! I too am not fond of receiving those cards that have an obvious obligatory feel to them, a point I was hoping to convey. I love receiving cards though, with handwritten notes in them, even if it is from old friends or colleagues that I only hear from once a year. It makes me smile to receive the card to know that they are thinking of me during this very busy time of year.

      I love how you say that we should be doing these little acts of staying in touch all year - that is truly the take-away in all of this! To maintain the spirit of the holiday season throughout the year. :)

  4. I agree, everyone is always "too busy". I use the same excuse. You've inspired me Linda. I guess I still have time to fill out those darn christmas yet... (your newest follower) :) Happy Holidays!

    1. Awesome!! I am wrapping mine up this weekend. We still have time! New follower as well....

      Happy Holidays to you too! :)


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