Packaging

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.

Holdiay Card List

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?

8 thoughts on “Packaging”

  1. You know, Tammy, this is a nice way to think about cards. I struggle with them – in most years recently, I’ve had good intentions, but life gets way too crazy and they never happen. This year, with the job change, they may actually happen. But spending money on them and thinking about the paper that gets used (and then tossed) makes my heart hurt. I think I will likely use whatever leftovers are in my cupboard and then do as you plan – look after the holidays for clearance on next year’s, scouting for recycled paper products.

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    1. We both went through career changes this year. I hope your change will grant you the free time and the emotional well being to be able to send some cards out.

      I also struggle with the thought that the cards will be thrown away. What helps with that is I know at least 80% of my friends recycle. I like your idea of adding “recycled” paper to the requirements for my day after Christmas cards.

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      1. I’ve seen so many good ideas for recycling/reusing holiday cards. I had an aunt who used to cut the fronts off and make them into postcards for the next year. Depression Era thinking, but so wise!

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  2. Tammy I think this is the big secret to getting those monumental tasks done – 10 minutes here or there add up to accomplishing and checking off large tasks. I use it with my writing, with my quilting and now with my exercise too. I’ve been doing the Barre3 workouts on line that are 10 minutes long – so if I do 3 or 4 of them, or some days even just one – I’m moving and stretching and working my core – because 10 minutes isn’t that big a commitment. And I’m so glad to hear you send out real live cards. I do too. And I know people are doing it less and less – but folks like you and me? We’ll keep the personal notes circulating.

    Oh – and thank you for the shout out link. You are too kind.

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    1. We are secretly sisters!

      The whole idea of sending cards out started to seem completely overwhelming a few years ago until I realized the spreading it out trick. I now love it. I was able to crank out six today in what otherwise would have been dead time between activities. I love it!

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  3. The wrapped dog! I remember that. It really reminded me of growing up because we didn’t try to hide what was in packages very much when I was little. I could always tell what was a video game and what wasn’t. I could always figure out what was a book since it was shaped like one. Then one year, I got a video game in a shoe box which threw me off completely. That uncle got me! It was a great surprise though.

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