Friday, December 10, 2010

The Christmas Card

Yesterday I went to my mailbox and found a huge stack of mail. This happens nearly every day, and most of the stack is junk mail. My mother, who passed away last December, still receives catalogues, address stickers, solicitations from various animal charities, knitting and crocheting books, and so much more! She loved her stacks of mail. She looked at each and every piece as if it were from a cherished friend or family member. The mail helped her to feel attached to the outside world.

As I sifted through the stack of envelopes and flyers, advertisements and such, mostly addressed to my mother, I spied an envelope addressed to me with a familiar return address. I smiled as I looked at the handwriting. Inside was a lovely Christmas card from a friend I haven't heard from in several years. Memories surfaced of times spent together at a favorite theme park in Tennessee. Memories of sharing a hotel room, shopping, and laughing until our sides hurt. I could see her smile and hear her voice reaching out across the miles separating us.

This year I had thought about not sending out cards because of the expense and how few I actually receive in return. I've changed my mind.

The Christmas card I received touched my heart and I realize that perhaps the cards I send might do the same. If I can create a warm memory by reaching out to others through the gift of a Christmas card, I've also created a memory for myself. For each card I address, I visualize the person who'll open it and remember them with a happy heart.

~Carol Ann Erhardt~
"This is my command: Love each other." John 15:17

10 comments:

Diana Castilleja said...

I love Christmas cards. I try to do them every year, but with the move last year, slacked off. I'm hoping to get them done this weekend.

I like to get a ribbon and hang them on the ribbons on the wall. We don't have any shelf space and it's about the best way to show them off.

They are a wonderful pick-me-up.

Donna B said...

I agree - even if it's someone we never hear from, the warm feelings we revive are worth the cost of sending out cards.

The Christmas cards I receive decorate doorways and such. I love thumbing through them and thinking of the people I haven't been in contact with for awhile. I might even pick up the phone just because I got the card.

Adelle Laudan said...

I remember my mother always hung the cards around the door frame of our doorway leading to the living room , and at one time I did the same. Sadly, in today's economy I haven't had enough cards to do it for quite some time now.
Many people have opted for e-cards. While it can't compare to the physical card in your hands, it requires the same thought process from the sender.
No matter which way the card arrives, someone thought enough of you to make the gesture. That in itself warms my heart.
Happy Holdays!

Tanya Stowe said...

After my 4th child was born, writing Christmas cards became an impossiblity. I could never get them out before the holiday. So I started my annual after Christmas card. I sent them out during the break between Christmas and New Year. Since email, I've stopped and too late, I realized this was the year I probably could have done it. Thanks for the reminder, Carol, of how special they can be.

Carol Ann said...

Diana, I have a wall decoration with four ribbons for displaying the cards! It is a great way to show them off and a nice decoration as well.
Donna, I've put them around my doorway in the past, and that's how my Mom always placed them, too.
Adelle, you are right. It is the thought and the gesture that touch your heart, no matter how the card is received.
Tanya, I've used the one page "here's what's happening with us" in the past. Like you, there was a time when my cards were always late. I'm lucky this year that I don't have a day job or little ones under my feet, so I'm able to get mine out on time this year.

Clare Revell said...

I send out fewer and fewer each year. This year i think I sent about 50. I have recieved 4 back. The one person I'd like to get one back from, I probably won't. She hasn't contacted me in two years now, despite me writing three times a year. Even the kids have noticed. We hang the few we get on string around the walls

susan said...

My Christmas is not completed until my cards are sent out. I send over 250 cards every year..I start buying stamps in the summer when fuel bills are not there so by Dec. my stamps are ready. I have pen pals who gets one every year plus friends and relatives and anyone I met in the past year. I display my cards all around the archways and door frames and even on the French doors between my living room and dining room.+ Last year I was not able to send like I always did and there was a void in the holiday for all of us here. I got cards anyways but I also enjoy giving them. If you want a card to help your holiday along email me your address (snail address) and I will share the holiday with you. garysue@dejazzd.com susan Leech

Marianne Evans said...

I love getting and giving Christmas cards....it's so much fun - and a whole lot better than that pile of bills!! LOL! It's a form of connection and uplift, which is the point of the season. I'd miss not getting/giving Christmas cards! Great post!

Carol Ann said...

Clare, I'm sorry about your friend. Your idea of putting the cards on a string along the wall is a good one! Thanks for sharing that.
Susan, that is a lot of cards! What a great idea to start getting your stamps early in the year. It must take a long time to address that many, but I'm sure you are blessed with many beautiful cards from those whose lives you've touched.
Marianne, you are so right about cards being better than bills! I received another two cards today and what a joy to open them.

LoRee Peery said...

I love Christmas cards, especially the ones geared toward the real meaning rather than Santa or cartoons, or whatever. Every year, I think I won't send them, except to those who send one first. Then I change my mind and before you know it, I've sent out 40 (and receive 15). I think we need to carry on this tradition of cards. With Internet connections, most everyone knows what's going on, so the letter is moot. But, I LOVE receiving Christmas cards.