Friday, December 7, 2007

The Importance of Christmas Cards

Did you know that there are 4 types of Christmas card senders? No? Well, read on because I'm fixing to enlighten you on these types. (Yes, guys. Words of Wisdom from Kari. Brace yourselves.)
Type 4 Card Senders, and by far the worst, are those who just don’t send them. Period. They have been afflicted with the “Bah-Humbug-I-Ain’t-Sending-Out-No-Stupid-Christmas-Cards” disease (okay, so that’s what it’s called in the south…perhaps other parts of the world call this disease a name that reflects better syntax, but I wouldn't know anything about that). These no-card-sending people totally and completely confuse me. Why would you not want to reach out and say "Hey - Merry Christmas - you've touched my life in some way and I appreciate it!"? How much effort does that really take? You know, if you're on a fixed income, I could see it. The cost of cards and postage could make sending Christmas cards a hardship. But other than that? Please. If you can afford dinner out more than once or twice a month, you can afford a box of Christmas cards and a book of stamps. (How's that for being judgmental during the holiday season? Yessir - leave it to me to do that!). Anywho, my point is, there's a reason behind sending Christmas cards and I think way too many people forget that. I send them because I want certain people to know that they impacted our lives in a good way and we don't want to forget that. Here's an example: I still send cards every year to Jim and Margaret down in Florida. I don't ever talk to these people, I never, ever see them these days and I have no idea what they do in their day to day lives. But they made an impact on my life way back when I was pregnant with Kaleb and then with Jacob. I used to work as a cashier at the Eglin NCO Club back in those days and Jim and Margaret were frequently at the club for dinner. They knew that Randey and I struggled as a young couple with little children - I had to work evenings and Randey worked days (he was active duty Air Force back then) just so we could save money on childcare expenses. Jim and Margaret had issues of their own. Their grown daughter was diagnosed with Lupus and she and her children had come home to live with them. One evening, they all came into the club for dinner and Jim and Margaret gave me a little package. In that package was a bundle of infant socks for my babies. Sure, that gift wasn't much, but it has always remained in my heart as a warm glow and a smile. These people, who didn't know me from anywhere outside of where I worked, were kind enough to think of my children and to give them those little socks as a gift. To this day, whenever I give someone a baby shower gift, I almost always include a pack of baby socks. It's my little tribute and thank you to Jim and Margaret for their kindness to my babies. And every year, just to say "I'm glad we touched each other's lives", we exchange Christmas cards.
Type 3 Christmas card senders are the ones who buy the pre-printed cards. I really, really, really don't like those cards. Not that I would refuse one, but I 'll tell you what it says to me. It says "Hey - we're very busy people here and are only going thru the motions of Christmas contact. Don't really have time to write our names, much less yours, but happy holidays anyway. Now don't bother me again until I want you to.". Okay, so maybe that's a pretty harsh interpretation but so what? That's what I feel like whenever we receive one of those cards. I mean really. I expect that kind of card from my insurance company (although honestly - they could save their money and not bother to send one. Maybe my rates would go down!)but not from my family and friends. The absolute worst of the pre-printed card senders are the ones who also use computer printed labels for the envelopes instead of writing out an address. Could you get any more impersonal with your Happy Holiday wishes? Sheesh! I know, I know. I've probably offended some of you with this particular viewpoint, but think it over for a minute, would you? You're supposed to be telling someone you're thinking of them. And you don't even write "Dear John and/or Jane, Hope you have a Merry Christmas!" in the card and sign it yourself. Yes, you could possibly suffer from a wicked case of writer's cramp if you actually wrote "So-and-so, Merry Christmas," and then sign your name in each and every card you sent out. Gosh, it might take you hours to recover. Then again, you'd have the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing you actually took the time to think of every person on your list personally. And that, my friends, is priceless!
Type 2 Christmas card senders are the Late Mailers. These are people who have good intentions but bad planning. Sure, they want to spread a little Christmas cheer, but gee whiz, life is hectic, time flies, there's not enough hours in the day...Blah. Blah. Blah. I am well aware of how much time it can take to address Christmas cards and sign each of them in turn. But it's time well spent because it's time you've spent thinking of other people. (In a good way, hopefully.) When I address my BFF Susan's card, I always picture her shaking her head at me sending cards out every year (Susan is a Type 4 Card Sender). When I think of Randey's brother, Andrew, opening their card, I always think of our little "competition" of who has gotten their cards in the mail first that year. When I write out my sister Sherri's card, I'm always thinking "is she going to get her cards mailed on time this year???" (Sherri is a Type 2 Card Sender most times. lol). When I was addressing the cards I sent to my blogging friends, I thought of each of you and how you have affected my life this past year, what we have in common, what about you I admire, what I think is funny about you and why our likenesses, as well as our differences, have drawn me towards you. I'm glad I took the time to write all these cards now, during the season, because that just adds to the Christmas Wonder I so love to experience every year.
Type 1 Christmas Card Senders are people like me, who feel like Christmas just isn't complete without sending out holiday greetings. As far as I'm concerned, sending and receiving Christmas cards is the best part of the season. I love it. It makes me smile to see the cards we've received displayed in our home. It makes me feel like we matter to other people. It means that other people have thought of us and have taken the time and effort to send us greetings. What better feeling can there be? I love that feeling so much that I want to give it to other people out there. After all is said and done, I'm glad that I took the time to make a card list, address each envelope and sign each card personally. Because it was time I spent thinking of the people who have touched my life. Christmas isn't just a day to me, it's a season. And all season long, I want to let some people know that I appreciate them. And that's why sending cards out on time is important to me. That is why I think that sending Christmas cards is worthwhile and not a matter of "commercialism" or "bother" or "bah-humbugging". It's also why people who don't do cards or do the least effort-causing cards or can't manage to get their cards out on time irk me so. Or maybe they just hurt my feelings. Yeah, that may be it. Actually, if I were to be honest about it, I'd say that was it. It hurts my feelings to know that my family and I aren't worthy enough in the eyes of some to send a card. Yes, there are those who think that's stupid. A card is just a card, right? I agree. Except during Christmas. And then a card becomes something magical and wonderful and warm and downright meaningful. So those of you who don't get that, how about you sending me a reason as to why Christmas cards just don't touch you as they touch me. I'd truly like to know what you think Christmas cards are all about. And why they mean so little to so many.

Oh heck. I've just re-read this post and it sounds like a flippin' plea for cards. That wasn't it at all. I don't subscribe to the "well, they sent me a card so now I have to send them one" school of thought. I believe in sending cards to people who mean something or have meant something to me in the past. And let's face it, it's a great way to keep up with addresses changes, etc. lol I'm also truly interested in knowing what other people think of Christmas cards. The older I get, the more mystified I am at their lack of importance and prevalence in our society today. Like so many other things in life, I. Just. Don't. Get. It. So educate me, people. Clue me in. Tell me why I'm crazy to put so much stock in a simple piece of paper. But I'll tell you in'll never convince me that a Christmas card isn't a magical and wondrous thing to receive and to give! 'Cause when I'm right about something, I just know it!
Have a Merry Christmas Everyone!

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  1. I have to admit (hanging my head in shame) that I've been a Type 4 in years past. No excuse given - I just didn't send cards.

    Then I started sending cards again. I agree, it's so nice to let people know that you're thinking of them and that they are special to you.

    I've never been a Type 3 - hate those cards with pre-printed names and no personal note. And I really try not to be a Type 2 sender.

    With that said, I'll be doing cards in the next few days!

    BTW Kari, I tagged you for a meme.

  2. First, i buy boxes of Christmas cards on clearance after 12/25. We buy a variety of cards.
    Second, I take a printed out list of addresses, cross out the ones I know are bad. I cross check with my wife to make sure there isn't anyone I'm forgetting or anyone we should specifically omit (Drama!).
    Then, I spend an evening addressing each envelope. Then, depending, I might fill out the return address on each envelope. That sometimes happens the next day (we had ~80 cards this year).
    Then, I sign all our names on the bottom of each card (or my wife does, because she seems to think her handwriting is better). Whoever signs them has to do this next step (for continuity).
    Then, just before we put a card in the envelope, we write a quick message to the recipient(s). This is also when we add "Love," just before our names for cards to family.
    Finally, we (usually me) lick the cards and put the stamps on.
    It's easy if you make it 2 or 3 day process. It's also esay if the workload is split between husband and wife.
    But you are awesome for handmaking cards. I can't imagine doing that. Certainly not for 80 people.

  3. Ouchie! LOL! I am guilty of not realizing the importance of a Christmas card. I had no idea that there was anyone who felt so passionately about them. Maybe I'll reform!

  4. Uh-oh, I'm a type 4 -- please don't hate me! I used to be a type 2 until I realized that something had to give. Either I was going to send cards or I was going to keep my sanity. Sanity won out (although that's entirely debatable!).

    I thought of you this past weekend, Kari. On a Christmas house tour, someone had an entire tree with a Star Wars theme. It was hung with figurines and ship models and trading cards. Way cool!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. I just happened to be doing my cards,,,,wanted to take a brake and read your blog. They will be in the mail this weekend. Send to people I do not see often, write a note most of the time and enjoy reciving them also........good post ........

  6. I absolutely LOVE getting Christmas cards in the mail.It is such a pleasure to open up a card and see the latest picture or letter--or just a sweet sentiment!

    I do send cards every year, but theyusually don't get out until the very last minute. But my fave tradition is writing a Christmas letter to go with the cards.It's not a "look how great my family is" card, though--talk about things that irk me!!--but I always try to do some sort of funny "spin" on the traditional letter. But I still haven't come up with what I'm doing! aargh!! I just haven't been inspired yet with "the" idea."

  7. And, oh, I also send out my Christmas letters by email to some people. Is THAT bad in your book? :-) I know it's not as personal, but at least they're getting there!

  8. I think you know how I feel! LOVED this post! I love your darling cursor. How did you do that?

  9. Kari, i don't know where I stand. Just screwed up lol. I used to send cards no matter what. I know Christmas is about giving,but you know how I am about just pisses me off to know end that people(I mean close) don't have time for a call or hello and then Christmas comes and it is Oh hey we love you.. I say bullcrap. Where were you when? Maybe it is just me...I send if I feel it in my heart. I also don't want a card just to get a card from someone that could careless.Do you understand me? I don't want it to come across wrong.
    I did send one out of spit ONCE. This lady that all felt was after my hubby I got her address and sent one with a family picture in it! hehe wished id been a fly on her wall. I mean bumble bee so I can sting her lol. Love you Ms. speak you mind =)

  10. No you aren't crazy--compassionate, caring, sensitive, loyal, the stuff true friends are made of -- yeah, that's it.

    I feel the same exact way!!! I don't care who sends cards back, I love to send cards out. Always hand write our names, and occasionally add a little message to special friends. Always hand write the address of the recepient. I do, however, put return address labels==not due to lack of time, but they are just so darn cute!!!
    In fact, I send cards ALOT during the year. Sometimes just to say "I think of you". Hallmark can count on me to be a supporter. I even have a difficult time disposing of cards--right now I have boxes of old "received" Christmas cards. To throw them out feels like throwing out friends!!!

    So, Kari, keep on sending those cards--there are those who "get it" and appreciate it!!!

  11. If I told you I just spent $52.00 in stamps, then you know I sent out a lot of cards! lol I love sending and receiving cards and I hope it never goes out of style because to me, opening a card and reading the inside of it and finding out who it's from just warms my's part of Christmas!! I don't have time to make my own cards but I do shop around until I find the ones I love the most...I make my own address labels so that's ok right?? lol xox

  12. I love sending cards and love getting them! Email cards are just not the same :-).

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying such nice things about the mosaic birdhouse I made for Kim at Daisy Cottage! It means alot to me!

  13. I love getting Christmas cards...any kind, even pre-printed ones. It's always nice to know someone thought of you.

    Christmas hugs!

  14. WoooHoooo....speaking of cards...I was delivered a very beautiful handmade Christmas card TODAY!!....I love it!! Thanks Kari...I loved the extra sparkle! I needed that today...

    Also, thanks for stopping by my blog and wishing me a "get well soon"...I don't think I have heard "good gravy" used in years...we used to say that all the time around our house growing up...and then again when the kids were little...then I think they changed it to "good grief"...hmmmm...I think I like gravy better...

    Anyhoo...loved my card, thanks for sending it...and YES cards are a wonderful thing to give and receive...I will confess right here and now...I have been #1, 2 & 4...but I have never been a 3...that's the pre-signed ones right...I don't even like my husband to use those through his business contacts...and he doesn't...he also doesn't address them, his secretary does...but he DOES sign each and every one of them...I'm going to be a 1 this year...but not as many as usual...just to really special people...probably just a few hundred or


  15. My newly married daughter's card is usually the very first we receive. She's a tad behind schedule this year. Perhaps she's waiting for photos.

    We're sitting down to do our cards on Monday. I have three different cards to send this year. Last year we sent a picture card, made with the photo at the bottom of my blog page.

    We love Christmas cards!

  16. and then there are those who are could you forget that? Doesn't Terri just crack you up? I think she's really from the South!!!Uncle Wallace says to tell you he is impressed with your blog...loves the whole thing!!!specially the Santa and Rudolph cursor'd ya do that ? Give!

  17. I just love the little doggie in the window. Your mall pictures are great and I love your Christmas card post! Had some trouble navigating Santa around so I'm putting it all here hehe.

  18. You are right...I admit it!!!
    Can't wait for my card :) I'm gonna shake it and see if anything falls out :)

  19. Hmmmm.....very interesting post! I always send out Christmas cards every year but hardly get any back and every year it gets worse and worse. So, this year I was thinking about just skipping the cards. Now of course you have brought things back into prosepctive for me so simply must send them out!!!!!
    Happy Holidays!

  20. I love getting cards. And I used to always send them out. But nowadays I fall under another category. The well-intentioned sender. I have good intentions of sending them...then something happens. I actually lost my cards a few years ago. Bought them, put them somewhere and forgot where. I found them this year. I need to work on them!


  21. Hi Kari,

    My friend Irene just wrote something like this also. I told her why I send preprinted ones too. It's because my writing looks like a 2nd grader. No, it's really bad and as I have gottten older, it's become more sloppy. I just sent out your card and I hand wrote the envelope but the card is pre printed(also because it's a picture) but just look at the envelope when you get it. It's bad stuff...LOL But I do understand what you're saying.

  22. Hi Kari, we love sending and receiving Christmas cards, computer generated, no way!! Not here!! A Christmas Card is a personal greeting, bet Jim and Margaret just love to receive your card each year! Great post to get us all thinking! Jenn and Jacqui

  23. Hi Kari (if you remember me!!!) This was a very interesting post, I think at some stage I've fallen into all your categories! But your card is safely in the post thanks to Tom, otherwise I would be one of those late with the card type of people!! I also just wanted to say thanks for the message you left me, it made me feel a tiny bit back in the blogging loop!! I'm only sorry it's taken me this long to get back to you! This is the first proper opportunity I've had to get online this week as we have restricted access at school and things at home have been hectic, as you know! My sister is slowly on the mend, although she is suffering from a virus, probably due to her immune system being down! But she's so glad to be home, she doesn't care!
    It's lovely being able to help out (though exhausting-I thought a class of 30 ten year olds was bad enough!!) and I'll take lots of photos of the babies to show you at a later date! Have a lovely week ahead, and your blog looks so fantastically Christmassy!!!
    Love your very errant blogger friend!!!xxxxxx

  24. I just got a beautiful one from someone named Kari!! All hand done and sparkly and gorgeous!
    Thank you !! I am working on WILL get one!! I am so slow this year and am so ashamed.
    I always used to make mine every year and always write a note inside.
    I usually include a pic of the kids too. WE usually do a letter too but I am not this year...I will get back to it next year. Mom being ill caught me off guard and I lost almost a month!
    But I agree with you sweetie!! I hate pre printed cards and ones that sign their first and last name and nothing else. No thought to who they are sending it to.
    I get fewer and fewer every year and that makes me sad. Some have died, some divorced and do not send anymore and some just do not send anymore. *sigh*

    But, you WILL get one from me!!! Of that I promise! And I LOVE yours!!!



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