Friday, December 2, 2016

Yes, I still send Christmas cards.

I set aside today for the annual signing and addressing of my Christmas cards. I'm about halfway there at this point and hope to mail the lot tomorrow. South Bend doesn't offer a great variety of sources for what I consider good cards, but I can always count on Barnes & Noble for Gaspari cards. I'm pleased with what I bought yesterday.

Why should I bother?

Precisely because it's not a bother.

This yearly activity has become a present I give myself. My card list has remained the same for decades, with a few emendations. In my little address book, I note which years I sent cards to which people. (Note to self: Santa needs to drop a new address book in my stocking!) As I work my way from A to Z, I focus on who will receive that card. I see them in my mind's eye. I hear their voices. I may even recall their houses! I remember what lovely, happy moments we've shared in the past, as well as the times we have wept with each other. The hardest moments come when I have to strike out someone's name because they have died. I sometimes comment to my husband about a particular person and share an anecdote with him. When I'm carefully writing the name and address on that card, I am actually in the presence of that person and sharing everything about that friendship or family relationship. I am 'visiting' with those who are going to receive that card.

What could be more refreshing amidst the ridiculous clamor of commercial Christmas? Spending a couple of minutes in communion with a dear friend or family member as I write out a card? Absolutely. This simple yearly custom gives me far more than it gives the recipients. I realize anew how rich I am in amazing and loving friends and family. I travel down memory lanes without number, which brings back memories of more friends and family who have left this life. I confess that I wallow in love and laughter as I address my cards.

Needless to say, I also pray for the recipients as I seal up each card.

I know it's a little bit expensive in this day and age, but I plan for this every year and count it as one of my Christmas presents. If you don't send cards, please don't feel guilty if you receive one from me. Rather, think of your card as a present to ME that my remembering you allowed me to give myself.

Now back to 'visiting' with those on my list. Happy Christmas!

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