An article written by Orange County Register business columnist, Jan Norman, “What are the favorite greeting cards this year” got me to thinking about the origin of sending Christmas cards, then on to how the Hallmark greeting company got started and ultimately that it’s about time to start selecting the family card that captures the perfect sentiment, making that card list and heading to the post office to purchase the postage stamp of the season.
With e-cards, Facebook and email at our fingertips, many find it adequate to send greetings with the click of a computer key. The environmentalist will argue that sending that card is detrimental to the balance of nature. Others may say that Christmas cards add to commercialism.
But in the true spirit of the season of Advent and Christmas, the holiday card is about slowing yourself down. It is about demonstrating a deliberate, thoughtful concern for another.
There is Aunt Dorothy many miles away without a computer; she looks forward to hearing from you each year. And then there are Shirley and Bob; they moved away years ago and love seeing how the family has changed and is growing. Your mom and dad’s old neighbor, Bill doesn’t send cards, but it seems you are the bridge from his past to your today.
When my adult son was young, I introduced him to the Christmas card tradition. He helped select the card. As I hand addressed the cards he would lick the stamps and affix them to the envelope. I would write a special sentiment in each card, sign them and he would personalize the card with a sticker or his trademark. The point is, we saw this as family time.
Before you decide to drop out of the Christmas card cycle, think a second time. Even if you have to use your computer to generate that annual canned letter (that EVERYONE receives) or address labels (ouch), the Christmas card “process” is a call to order in your life for a time and will change the life of another.