Much of my writing time this month has been taken up by Christmas cards. While many holiday preparation tasks have been retired, evolved, or relegated to others over the years, I continue to make writing and sending cards one of my top priorities.
Perhaps due to absorbing the etiquette of my childhood, I still sign and address cards the old-fashioned way – by hand. On some cards, I also write notes. For the few to whom I write longer letters, I do resort to writing on the computer and printing out the enclosures.
Because I have a long-standing tendon problem with my writing arm, I have to pace myself, spreading the task over ten days or so to keep my arm functional. I take the time to choose a card that I think fits the recipient, and sign the card according to if the person knows me or my husband better, with the more familiar person’s name first. I even choose the postage stamp that I think the recipient will like – Madonna stamps for those who are more religiously observant and secular stamps for those who are more cultural observers of Christmas or who are non-Christians to whom I am sending New Year’s wishes.
This is sounding perhaps a bit obsessive, but it is important to me to connect to friends and family at this time of year, even if we can seldom, if ever, meet in person. My list has friends going back to our teen years, college friends, neighbors and former neighbors, friends from our adult decades, and relatives, only some of whom send cards to us, but all of whom it is important to me to reach out to at this time, to let them know that I am thinking of them and wishing them well.
This year was especially poignant for me as I needed to start a new Christmas address book after using my former one for ten years. As I copied addresses into my new book, I paused over the names of those I have lost, not just the elder generation who had passed away but also a couple of friends closer to my age. It reminds me that there is no guarantee that my recipients will be here next Christmas – or that I will be.
So, I will make the time, as long as I am able, to connect at this time of year and to send wishes of peace and love.
I wish a wonderful Christmas to those who observe it and peace, contentment, and love in 2014 to all!