I spend every November handwriting personalized notes in my holiday cards. By doing a few a day, I am able to easily finish by the day after Thanksgiving, which is when I deliver the whole lot to the postal service. Not so surprisingly, the post office is pretty empty on Black Friday.
Each year the number of cards I receive in return becomes a little smaller, and that honestly doesn’t bother me. Some of my friends have explained that health issues prevent them from sending out cards; for others life is simply getting in the way. What all of them have told me, however, is that they look forward to receiving my cards. They see them the same way as they are intended: a gift of myself. I don’t expect reciprocity. Knowing that they make people smile warms my heart and keeps the tradition alive.
In the past I’ve always simply picked up inexpensive cards, thinking the message inside was all that mattered. Barbara (whose website is fabulous – go check it out), had a post last year about some fabulous cards she found. They were like treasures all by themselves. That got me thinking about how the package itself counts as well.
Ever since I can remember, there has been a recurring joke in my family that if something was wrapped so anyone could obviously figure out what it was (a record album, for example), we would always look at it and exclaim, “A football!” Because of that, I spent years trying to disguise the gift until I saw an ad that changed it all. More than a decade ago, there was an ad that showed all of a family’s gifts wrapped to show exactly what was inside – including a dog, whose tail was wagging.
Ever since that ad I have prided myself on wrapping a gift to show its contents. My favorite wrapping jobs have been of actual footballs and of cases of beer, with cutouts in the paper for the handles.
Despite my love of careful, obvious wrapping, I’d never connected the dots to making sure my holiday cards, the “wrapping” of my messages, were nice. This year I splurged and got some beautiful cards – Sierra Club winter animal shots and some of Japanese winter scenes.They make me smile to look at them. After Christmas this year I’ll buy next year’s cards to please my frugal side.
Does anyone else remember the wrapped dog commercial? or How many of my readers send out holiday cards?