A few thoughts on Christmas cards…
Christmas cards are a tradition that is more than 150 years in the making. According to www.whychristmas.com, the first Christmas cards were created in the UK by Sir Henry Cole in 1843. The idea of Christmas cards spread to the United States in the late 1840s, and now annually, Americans send out 1.5 billion cards.
I’ve spent the last week designing, prepping, stuffing and addressing our 2016 Christmas cards to be sent out to family and friends! I know a lot of people have given up on the tradition, because they think it’s time-consuming, wasteful or expensive, but I can’t help it, I love them (thanks Sir Henry Cole!) And let’s be honest, it’s the perfect thing for families that move because there are people all over the country or world that you’ve met along the way. You don’t get to see them as often as you’d like, BUT you can send them a card and say “hi there!” or “Merry Christmas!” or “JOY!” or whatever catchy new tagline Minted or Tinyprints came up with this year, plus throw in all about how your last year turned out. But that doesn’t mean that this whole card thing is easy. In fact, I laughed at how much work goes into getting out these little papers every year. So I jotted down a few thoughts:
- Almost every card involves a picture and most people’s photos look like they were snatched out of the J. Crew magazine, so it’s just sort of a lot of pressure. I mean, I know most people see pictures of us throughout the year on Facebook or Instagram, but this seems like a bigger thing. It’s in print for goodness sake.
- The addresses, oh the addresses. I feel like some people are really good about organizing their loved ones’ addresses. I’m not one of those people. I still use a Google Drive document that my husband created 8 years ago for our wedding invite list. It’s entitled “MASTER LIST,” but a hacker would be real disappointed if they found it and thought it was something interesting. It’s a mismatched list of family, friends and acquaintances. Some entries were added, some were deleted and some entries were half-deleted when I was going to replace an old address but never got around to it. And somewhere along the line I started using symbols and different colors to try to tell myself something… maybe that I’d already addressed a card to this person, or this person’s address had changed, or honestly, who knows, because I never think to make any kind of legend. It’s anyone’s guess over there in Google land.
- The awkward Facebook or text messaging of random friends for their address so you can send them a Christmas card. “Hey, what’s your address? How are you, by the way? Good, ok bye!” Maybe next year I’ll just do Facebook Christmas cards and skip the middle message.
- Every time I go to print the cards I think “surely 40 is plenty. Didn’t I do 40 last year? Or was it 30? Do I even know 40 people who would want a card from us?” And then inevitably, I end up always needing 5 more than I printed, so ROUND 2! (Hey, you have a way of adding a few people each year when you move as often as we do!)
- Addressing the envelopes is probably my favorite part! I love all things handwriting and every year I promise I’m going to learn calligraphy for next year’s cards, because that’s totally something that normal people do. Oh well, a regular old sharpie with a little underline “flair” will have to do for this year. Next year, watch out world!
- Sending them out into the world. When my fat stack of Christmas cards is all ready to head out to our loved ones’ homes, I get a little giddy. I debate about standing in the line at the post office to buy the adorable Christmas Forever stamps, but let’s be honest, my cards go out with the flowery summer stamps I find that I already have at home. Ain’t nobody got time for the post office this time of year, and if I receive a card from you with a Christmas stamp, you get extra points. I know how hard it is to find those suckers this time of year.
- Let the cards roll in! I love getting mail this month because I find little cards from all over the country. It’s such a fun tradition in a month that can feel sort of blah at times. Also, I’ve heard of how so many people do neat things with the cards they receive each year: make books to keep from year to year to set out with their other Christmas decorations, save the cards and pull one each week and pray for or call the family on the card, or make ornaments with some of your favorites.
Do you all still do Christmas cards? Or am I the only one?