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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Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Legend of the Christmas Spider

Have ya'll heard of the Legend of the Christmas Spider? I had not. Until yesterday afternoon, that is. That's when I opened a package from my friend Penny, that contained all of this: I love the set of nesting Santas. Aren't they great? Even greater was the little round white box (beautifully decorated, I might add) and the - dare I say it? - lovely spider ornament. Yes. Lovely. It really is. And the story that goes along with it explains the significance of a Christmas Spider.
By clicking on the above picture, I think you'll be able to read the legend yourself. If not, just google "Christmas Spider" and you'll be shocked at how many responses come up. As anybody who knows me can tell you, I am terrified of spiders. As in, I've been known to beat myself silly for thinking I had a spider on my chest and I will avoid an area of my house for weeks at a time if I've spotted a spider there and haven't seen its cold, dead, smushed corpse as proof that it won't eat me anytime in the near and/or distant future. But I'm going to make an exception with this spider. It's already hanging on my tree, right where it'll be every year from now on. Thank you, Penny. For introducing me to a new Christmas "legend" and for being kind enough to send me these gifts. I never did deserve you as a friend, but just like back in junior high - I'm grateful I know you!
In other news, the Christmas cards are done!! Woo-hoo! Yeah! Yippee! Etc., etc., etc.! lol I didn't think I would get it done, but I did. I so wanted to send out handmade cards this year. I don't know why I had such as urge...let's put it down to just one more of my many strange compulsions and leave it at that, shall we?The point is, I made cards, cards and more cards. If I can finish addressing the few I have left, they'll all be in the mail by tomorrow afternoon. And then it's on to wrapping packages and getting them under the tree.
Why is it that it's only the first week in December but I feel like I'm waaaaaay behind in everything already?
Merry Christmas!

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Today is our youngest son Jacob's birthday! He's 16 years old. I can't believe it - seems like just yesterday we were laughing at him for wearing his pull-ups on his head. Oh wait a minute, that was just yesterday. lol I kid, I kid...(now Jake's going to be ticked at me if he reads this!). Happy Birthday, Jacob. I love you, son.

Monday, December 3, 2007

To Those Whose Blogs I LOVE to Read!

Attention those on my Blogs I Love to Read list (come on guys, you know who you are. If your blogsite and/or name is listed there on the left side of my blog, then listen up!). I've just about abandoned all hope of finishing the Christmas cards I had planned to make, but that doesn't mean I don't plan on sending out Christmas cards this year. They'll just most likely be those ever-so-carefully chosen-ones I bought from the store (not pictured, by the way) instead of those ones so-lovingly-made-with-my-own-two-widdle-hands (that is to say; the ones that don't actually exist at this point) that I had originally intended to send. Anywho, I would dearly love to send you a card. Yes, you. The person who is currently reading this and is also on my Blogroll. I'm a big believer in Christmas cards (just ask Susan, my BFF - who is not a big believer in Christmas cards. Not that I hold that against her, the cranky grinch). In fact, I'll probably feel compelled at some point to write a big old long post about the value of Christmas card sending. But not today. Today I'm just looking for your addresses. Please, if you'd like to receive a card from my family to yours, e-mail me with your address. And rest assured that I will hold your addresses privately and will not give them out to anyone else. Well, except maybe my Aunt Sandi, a fellow blogger and friend to many of you, but that's because I know she's not an axe murderer or anything, okay?

Merry Christmas All!

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