“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.
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?
I applaud you for your letters revealing an annual window on your life. But..I do not do it. I am the opposite, pulling back on the cards that I send out became a reality for me many years ago…and they would only include a brief note if that. So it is now my fault and my wife’s, as we certainly could receive more if we also expended the time and effort to reciprocate. Why? I don’t know, maybe it is because one feels that if they don’t see someone physically within a year they think “What does it matter?, we are no longer connected.” We move from chapter to chapter in our lives, and for me, sometimes it is just easier just to close a chapter and move on.
Am I right? Am I wrong? My parents didn’t do what I am doing, although their physical encounters with friends over time became non-existent (I’m talking decades, here). Year after year they would send and receive cards from some of them…and never even pick up the phone to talk to them.
What is the value?
You have indeed found value… and I am truly happy for you in that.
Year after year you send warm “hugs” through your words of sincerity…and that is an art.
An art that has value…an art that is anticipated and appreciated…an art that is, yes, loved by your “others”.
An art synonomous with the idea of a gift.
Ok, so you are on the other side of this coin. I can see your points. I do not pick up the phone with each of these people on my annual list during the year. Some yes, others, no. And yet, I feel such a strong desire to connect with them that one moment in time, because I do still treasure them and the role they played in our lives at one time. Should we ever live in the same area again, we would likely reconnect.
Then of course, the spread out family, we do connect with during the year, but it still is a catching up that occurs in the letters that ties it all together in a neat package in my mind.
It IS like a gift. That covers it.
Thanks for checking in. Always look forward to your insights.
I have really enjoyed reading the Mortuary Blog. There are some very response answers.
Even the question are creative which draws my attention. Thanks for letting me join.
I enjoy receiving Xmas card and sending them. When I get started on my cards end up being a
little bit like a letter.” My Children Comment , Mom are you writing a book.” It seems I always I
Have a lot to say and can’t stop. Especially to the person I’m writing to. Most of my Friends are
doing e-mail Cards and some are very adorable. Which you can’t find in some cards. So it depends
on the responds I get. And Love it. I would like to Wish everyone at the O’ Connor’s a Blessed
Warmhearted “MERRY CHRISTMAS” For all the Caring service you all do.!!! May God Grant you all e
Inner Peace. Please give my regard to MOLLY
Thank you so much for weighing in on this issue. I have a feeling the recipients of those “books” you are writing are so thankful to know you care and are “Making sure” of them. Go for it as long as you can.
May I say Merry Christmas from everyone here at O’Connor’s and especially the blog team. You mean the world to us. Our struggles with writing from our hearts would be pretty worthless without people like you to follow us and keep us on track.
I LOVE to get Christmas Cards!! I have kept up a long time family tradition of taping all the cards to inside of my front door. My Nana did it, my Mom does it, and now I do too. My kids love to read them and see who sent what this year. I buy a box of about 20 Christmas cards each year and send it to a chosen few. I’m so funny about cards, and photos that I keep them for years to come. Some of the best times are when the kids and I are decorating and we stumble upon all the old cards and flip through.
Somehow I knew you would be “For” the Christmas Cards. There is something special and meaningful about finding an area in the house and making them part of the decor. I have always taped them up somewhere too, often around a doorway or archway.
Merry Christmas, love you, too.
Hi Anne –
I love Christmas cards! I love the cards that give you the last 365 days of someones life. Nothing funny than sharing your life in a Christmas card, sometimes you get TMI! This will be our first year sending out a card, once you have a child it changes the game. I hope you enjoy the photo and the very few words. Merry Christmas!
I will enjoy getting my own new photo of our boy. You need few words with me anyway. I am still the sly fox.
But, you are right. Our children change everything. Then we have to consider what our traditions shall be.
Merry Christmas, Neil. Thanks again for the wonderful holiday party we all enjoyed.
Hello Anne!! I found your blog because I have searched for years to find that exact card that you have posted above of Pooh and Piglet “just making sure of you” I mean I have searched for YEARS to find this but at least I found the cover of it on your blog and will now have a copy for myself – sooooo happy about this!!!! Is there any chance you still have that orginal greeting card that might show on the back the company that made it or anything that identifies the card so I might be able to track down others that were in that same Pooh series? I would appreciate it sooo much if you might have it and post any details if you do!!!!!!! take good care!! my good friends Carol and Dan live in Dana Point too – it’s a beautiful place!!!!!!
So glad you were able to find this sweet photo you’ve been looking for. I’m the blog editor and I found the photo you’re talking about. Unfortunately, it was just an image I came across online and not something we photographed. So, no, we don’t have any more info to offer you about it, I’m so sorry! I hope this image does somehow help you in your search, best of luck!