Despite the risk of being labeled a dinosaur, I still send Christmas cards. My weekend plans include addressing, stamping and mailing dozens of cards to friends around the country, and to some foreign countries. Here are some things I hope my teen learns from me sending Christmas cards.
How to address an envelope
On a purely practical basis, how to address an envelope is a life skill that teens apparently no longer have. Even in this digital age, important documents are both sent and received via snail mail. She’ll help with at least a few just to reinforce knowing how to send a piece of correspondence via U.S.P.S.
Relationships can endure
From my first grade teacher to high school friends to college roommates to former colleagues, my card list includes people from all stages of my life.
Relationships matter. While they may change due to time and distance, the affinity underpinning them endures. For me, sending a card is a way to signal to people that they have a space in my heart.
(And yes, addressing a card to your first grade teacher will make you ridiculously self-conscious about your lack of handwriting skill.)
Giving without expectation of return
I confess that I used to have a spread sheet that I used to keep track both of cards sent and received. The received list has gotten shorter every year, and I’m no longer keeping track. I am, however, still sending close to the same number of cards.
I want people to know that I’m thinking of them now and wishing them well in the year ahead. Those feelings aren’t predicated on them sending cards in return. A friend said that she just didn’t feel up to the task of sending Christmas cards shortly after the death of her mother, but that she still appreciated receiving them.
The people not sending cards may be the ones who need them the most. Even if they don’t, it’s about giving your goodwill freely with no expectation of anything in return.
Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim – our card list includes recipients of many different faiths. We opt for cards that say Happy Holidays to be inclusive of all their traditions. I know I’ve called them “Christmas cards” throughout this piece, but they’re actually holiday cards.
It’s okay to do something because you like it
I like sending cards. Despite my frazzled rush to beat some artificial coupon deadline set by Snapfish that makes me a little snappish for a brief time, it’s a tradition that brings me joy. It may be old-fashioned and on the way out, but I hope my teen knows that it’s okay to do something just because you like it.
There is time and cost involved and not everyone has the luxury of having both of those, but we’re spending under $100 (see above mention of coupon). That’s not unreasonable for something that makes me, and hopefully others, smile this holiday season.
What about you? Are you still sending Christmas cards? If not, do you still enjoy getting them or are you done with the tradition all together?
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