On top of everything else, Christmas is card season! I do know a few families who send out their annual greetings at Easter or end of school year, but for most of us it's a perfect time to wish friends and family happy holidays and additionally inform and update on ourselves. This adds to the expense and time consumption of the season, but to me it's worth it.
We just started sending out Christmas cards 2 years ago, after Hazel was born. We went the easy route - picture card from shutterfly. A nice one-liner and you're done. But last year I so enjoyed the family letters we got from friends that I decided it's time for us to step it up. I also realized that I strongly preferred pictures that had all family members in them - not just the kids! As a parent who's put on some pounds - and wrinkles - over the years I definitely understand the preference to stay behind the camera, but come on, people! It's so fun to see my old friends, whatever condition they're in, and not just their kids who I've never met! So taking my own advice, this year we are sending out a regular family picture and a one-page letter. What I'd really like to do is send out something classy like this, but it will have to be another year.
Now the list. Ours is on an excel spreadsheet with 2 pages - Family and Friends. Family has all immediate family, all aunts, uncles, grandparents, and some cousins. Friends has three columns - the A, B and C lists. Each year names get shuffled among these, based on priority of new additions, returned cards the year before, how well we've kept in touch, etc. All said we're looking at about 90 going out this year - a number which surprised both me and Ed when we added it up. We know that many people? Guess so. When we reviewed the list he was also surprised - and disturbed - that most of the Friends were actually my friends, or friends we both had in Colorado. He does a terrible job of keeping in touch, and regrets it. So he racked his brain for high school, mission or work friends to track down and add to the list. We'll see how fruitful that exercise is.
Like almost everything else this year, I ordered my stamps online, so while I wait for them to arrive I've spent my evenings addressing envelopes in front of the TV. Friday night Ed came home at a reasonable hour so we divided up the list and stacks and got them all ready to go. When the stamps come in out they'll go.
Finally, what do we do with all the cards that come in? I love devoting a little time to each of my old friends as I read their updates or stare at their pictures. It's a great way to feel connected to people from the past, and also the present. But then what do you do with them? This year I bought a ribbon board to display the cards as they come, so we can look at them more than once and Ed can see what's come in when he comes home late at night. Eventually I'd like to get a nicer card holder, but that's another thing to plan on but put off. I read in a magazine of someone who cuts pictures from Christmas cards to make gift tags for next year, or to make Christmas books or collages with their kids. You hate to just throw them away, but you can't keep them around forever, either. I think I still have a stack from last year. What do you do?
So, that's it - what are your thoughts, habits, preferences, opinions on Christmas cards?