“Just Making Sure” . . . Why Christmas Cards Matter

“Just Making Sure” . . . Why Christmas Cards Matter

“Just Making Sure” . . . Why Christmas Cards Matter

There was a greeting card some years ago, which showed Winnie the Pooh and Piglet walking together holding hands.

“I just wanted to be sure of you.”

With the holidays right around the corner, for some, like me, it means creating the Annual Letter.

Many love to get them; others refuse to read one because it seems “mass-produced”.  My niece, Sharon  is unbelievably creative.  She is the queen of finding unusual themes or a new way to tell the current year’s sequel to their story with a twist.  She never fails to impress me and I can’t wait to see what she puts together each year from Washington.

Then there’s my nephew, Steve, who seems naturally reserved when we are together, yet he volunteers to take on the annual letter-writing role. This probably is a relief to his wife who is the decorator, baker, and entertainer extraordinaire of the season.  When his letter arrives, it is tender, loving, thoughtful and picturesque.  The smells, sounds and cozy feelings it evokes puts you right in Canada with them, preparing for the season.

I have another niece, Lecia, who is a total comedienne.  Tongue in cheek, she recounts the year filled with the school and sports antics of their girls.  We chuckle as we walk through the highlights of their precious life, even though Ohio is far, far away and they are growing up out of sight.  They make sure to include a picture of the crew, so we see how they have grown.

For me, the holidays barrel up to the door long before I am quite ready.  I work two jobs and take the second as it presents itself, which hardly ever seems to be the opportune time.  Subsequently, my heart is thinking about what I will and won’t include long before I actually begin to write.


First, I save last year’s cards and letters and look them over.  I re-read and think about the year for these friends and family.  Some envelopes were returned because of a death.  Others have lost a precious family member or pet during the year.  Some have had a birth.  Some have relocated and I won’t know where to send our greeting unless we hear from them first.

What to write?  Do I include every sad and miserable thing we dealt with during the year?  No.  Do I include mistakes, poor judgment, reasons for lost sleep?  Not usually.  I try to find the good, the uplifting, the positive and the overcoming moments.  I do try to include the present state of our health, jobs, and immediate family.  I give a snippet of our activities and what our lives looked like this year.  Once printed, I hand-write something very brief but personal to the recipient.

Is the annual letter a chore?  Only a little bit.  Is it expensive?  Heck of a lot more so than it used to be.  Is it worth it?  Oh, yes, yes, yes!  The email blasts that some now do are fine and certainly more affordable.  I still love the idea of my loved ones going to the mail box and getting a colorful card and our letter and photos after tearing open a real envelope.

To me, it is exactly like reaching out to take their hand, just like Pooh.  Then, as we walk together down the road of 2012, holding hands tightly, I am saying  “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

So, where do YOU stand on the issue of the Annual Letter?

Perhaps you don’t send cards at all.  If not, do you still like to receive them?

How do YOU “make sure” of those you love who are too far away to hug?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. Anne Collins says:

    The pictures you select as our blog editor do so much to enhance our thoughts. My hat is off to you for the artistry you add to what I write.

    When you send those 20 cards this year to your special loved ones, you are starting something that will either grab your giving heart or, like your mom, you will decide it was too much.

    I hope it is the former. Regardless, those loved ones will feel wonderful when they open their card and read your sentiments. When you are older like me, if you are still doing it, it will mean a great deal as you give out in this way.

    Mine need to say Merry Christmas, also. Sometimes I get the card for the art, since I like mice and certain other precious scenes. I do for sure say Merry Christmas in the letter…and also in the stores, by the way. When someone says Happy Holidays to me, I return with Merry Christmas. It is who I am and I just spent money there.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Molly says:

      I applaud that Anne and I sincerely hope that I am still sending out letters when I am older. There is something about a physical card & a hand written note that just says “I love you” more than an email, no matter how thoughtful.

      Thank you again for the inspiration, I’m going home a bit early today to get my cards started & presents wrapped – I just can’t wait! Hoping you have an evening of the same very soon.


  2. Lynda says:

    I love annual Christmas letters. Even tho I am in contact with you throughout the year, I still look forward to getting your letter and hearing about all the cozy details I never heard about or have forgotten.

    These letters catch you up on people you care about. It’s like a diary or journal from someone’s life. I can only wish I received my brother Steve’s annual letter – sounds nice!

    Love, Lynda

    • Anne says:

      What a treasure to get a comment from you. One more vote for the Christmas letter! I will have to forward Steve’s to you. He probably thinks you know it all and I will bet you don’t. Even living across town does not mean you were privy to the little details one thinks to put in their letter.

      And even though we talk often (not as often as we should or I would like), I will bet there is some detail in the letter that you would not know just from our phone visits.

      By the way, keep Lou in your prayers. He has pneumonia.

      Love you

  3. Lori says:


    I didn’t realize how much I miss receiving annual holiday letters until I read your post. The friends who used to send them no longer do. As lives become busier, some traditions go by the wayside. I love the story you tell of the different members of your family and how their personalities shape their annual letters.

    Good for you for continuing this tradition!

    Love you,

    • Anne says:

      It is a different world out there with all the gadgets. It takes real perseverance and a definite reason within to keep doing something like that.

      I hope I don’t give up on it.

      • Lori says:

        You won’t because you are passionate about it!!

        • Anne says:

          Yes, but I usually start it on Thanksgiving weekend and I haven’t!! Panic mode. Well, with Lou sick with pneumonia and work, my attention is taken.
          I will though.

  4. Shayna Mallik says:

    I loved this blog. I love when Christmas Cards come in the mail and you get to see the people you love, weather it is family or friends. This year was the first year I did my own Christmas Cards, from myself and Brad. Usually my mom handles all the Holiday Cards, but this year myself and Brad took a nice photo and made our first Christmas Card. I was so excited while making these and preparing them. It is now going to be a tradition of mine and Brads to do each year
    Thank You for sharing such a special part of the holidays.


    • Anne Collins says:

      Thanks for reading and voting. The snail mail card and letter is winning!

      How cool that you took the picture and send out the cards this year for you and Brad’s first Christmas. The tradition is starting right from the beginning.

      Pictures add so much. We may think they are not necessary, but when we go to Lou’s sister’s in Nebraska, she has our old pictures under glass in her breakfast bar area and that is how she “keeps us close”. She looks at them when she drinks her first cup of coffee.

      Merry Christmas, Shayna. Hope it is wonderful for the whole month!

  5. Patricia Kolstad says:

    Personal touches always mean so much more – it means we care enough to “send the very best” of ourselves. I love sending hand written notes. In this time of electronics – texting and emails have taken over our lives. We don’t pick up a phone, we don’t send a letter, we don’t, often times, care enough.

    I don’t send out an annual letter, but I do write personal notes inside my Christmas Cards, reminding my friends and family how much they mean to me.

    Thank you for this sweet blog.


    • Anne Collins says:

      First of all, a handwritten note from you is neat because your handwriting is so lovely. But, it doesn’t really matter if we don’t have the greatest handwriting, because it is the fact we cared enough, as you said.

      Again the personal card wins, hands down. I am happy to see so many agree. Those who thought it didn’t matter may be encouraged to do it and totally blow their loved ones away, since it would be a first or a surprise, at least.

      A very Merry Christmas to you as you enjoy your family near and the ones you just found again, far.
      Thanks for your comments,

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