Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Card Junkie

Christmas is only TWO weeks away...! In some ways, that's still a long time of Christmassing considering there are four weeks of Advent.
(Of course, if you, like me, acknowledge the Epiphany, then Christmas actually extends past the 25th--Yay!) 

Everyone has their traditions and small things that make the season special and magical... The things that make it Christmas. For some people it begins with decorating: you do it a certain day... with certain people, in a certain order...

Or maybe it's the baking and cooking...
We always made fudge and cookies growing up. I remember getting older and life was busy with basketball schedules through the holiday season and sometimes we had to forego the fudge and it felt sinful!
(Reality: Nobody really needs that extra fudge!)

Giving back is a great tradition...
Whether it be specific events you partake in or just shopping that is donated or given away.

Shopping itself can have it's own special tradition.
For some that is Black Friday... Others it can be a weekend outing with friends.

Some traditions include hosting or heading to gatherings. 

I love it all... BUT...
...One of MY Christmas "things" that is part of making the season feel magical is sending Christmas cards.

I remember piles of envelopes and cards sitting on my mom's table as she worked through sending them out and I loved checking the mail to see how many cards we'd received each day. I usually tried to be the one to open them all and then help hang them in doorways as added decor. 

I remember mom once telling me she used to send some obscene number of cards and I thought it was ridiculous... But now I get it. I hate to leave anyone off my list. Simply my family and Mingus's family alone adds up... And that doesn't even begin on the list of close friends I want to be in touch with... 

And by 'close friends' this also includes friends I still hold dear to my heart even if I didn't see them once throughout the year.

And honestly, I don't just jump on the snail-mail band wagon for Christmas. (But I'm 100% OK with anyone who does!) I just sincerely love sending cards and mail. I've finally accepted that Mingus prefers not to sign every birthday and anniversary card I put in the mail, so I've let him off the hook and usually add his name along with the kids, but I do love to send birthday cards throughout the year as well as anniversary cards. I'm not the best at getting them there on time, but I try to remember nonetheless.

My Mom has always been an avid card-sender and it's obvious she learned from my Grandma, because all of her children have always been great with birthday and Christmas cards. Mom sends cards to all people for all reasons, so I grew up thinking it was only natural.

My love of snail mail came early when I was matched with a California Pen Pal through American Girl when I was in 6th grade. We probably corresponded longer than most matches. I think it was high school before our notes began to dwindle but even then we didn't forget. I am sure it had something to do with the fact we both actually enjoyed writing (and still do). I think we eventually swapped email addresses, but, believe it or not, we are still connected thanks to the social media world. We've never met face-to-face, but I think that day is still destined down the road.

Sorry for the side story... The point: I have always loved sending real mail.

Last year for Lent I chose to send daily mail. It was a great thing and I may do it again this year.

I can't remember when I started sending my own Christmas cards. I always did cards even in middle and high school to friends. One year shortly after college my roommates and I even set up a "family photo" and printed it for our friends that mailed out.

In some ways I think it's ridiculous the number of people on my list, but the truth is I love it. I usually don't get every person on that list but I sure try. I know all the rave is to have "photo cards" printed and I do love to receive them... But I'm a little old fashion. Maybe it's the old lady name, "Rita." I buy real cards and (now that I have kids) include a photo. I used to write a note in each card. (I tend to write novels in all cards... I confuse them with actual letters I suppose.) I've compromised and gone the route of the old school "Family Newsletter" insert and squeeze as many words onto a printed sheet of paper as possible in attempts to summarize the year.

So the card process is quite an ordeal:
- Make list of recipients
- Buy Cards
- Buy Stamps
- Take a kid photo
- Order photos prints
- Type year-in-review letter
- Print letter
- Write in each card
- Fold and stuff letter
- Stuff photo
- Address envelopes (after making sure address is up to date)
- Add stamp and return address

And when you have 100+ people on your list... It's quite a spread to work on!

The first batch went in the mail today... But I ran out of stamps! Hope I can get my hands on some more Snoopy ones soon!