I’ve noticed a steady decline in the amount of Christmas cards that appear in my mailbox. In fact, each year it seems as though there are fewer and fewer. I remember a time when they would start arriving right after Thanksgiving, continuing to show up in a steady stream until finally slowing down a day or two before Christmas. There were always one or two that showed up after Christmas Day though, those that put a smile on my face as I imagined the sender hastily signing them and rushing them to the post office while hoping against hope for them to arrive on time, knowing deep down that they never would.
Over the years, Christmas cards have allowed me to watch families grow as friends from far away took this opportunity to send updated photos along with their yearly family newsletters. It was fun to read each one, and I found myself anticipating them year after year.
I still send Christmas cards in the mail, like the actual snail mail. And here are the reasons why.
Christmas cards help us to really connect with each other
There’s really no need for Christmas cards being sent in the mail anymore. We have a virtual window into the homes of most of our friends and family, a window that’s available on the same social media sites where we share our daily lives as well.
But Christmas is the time when we want to connect in a more personal way. There’s something deeply comforting about opening your mailbox and pulling out a stack of cards from friends and family, knowing they chose to send their best wishes from their home to yours. There’s something special about sitting down and opening each one before displaying them. There’s even something about keeping those cards long after you’ve taken all the decorations down, returning your home to the way it was before the season of Christmas took over. Only the cards remain, lingering behind after the new year has come, helping Christmas stay alive in more than just our memories.
The cards hold memories
For years, I saved all my Christmas cards. I kept them in the boxes where our ornaments are kept January through November. Every year, after Thanksgiving, when I pulled out the decorations, taking a few minutes to look through last year’s cards, I knew Christmas had arrived. As I prepared to sign and send a new box of cards, I found myself remembering old friends while reflecting on my memories, getting lost in the past for a few precious moments.
It’s been a while since any of that has even been necessary. I can go on Facebook whenever I want to these days and, by typing in a name, enter the world of most people who make up my Christmas card list. And I know everyone can do that for my family too. But sending Christmas cards is too special to let go of, too important to give up.
For about a month every December, I choose to tape up cards in our home where everyone can see them. We frequently look at them, allowing them to help us to remember our loved ones near and dear. We are prompted to share stories about them, pray for them, and keep their memories as part of our everyday life.
Even when I take all those cards down, I typically leave the stack somewhere we can see them, allowing them to prompt us to pray for the lovely people who sent them to us.
Christmas cards are thoughtful
You see, when someone sends a Christmas card to our address, they had to first think about us before taking the time to write a message in it, address the envelope, and mail it off. They’re sending us more than a slip of paper with a few words written on it. They’re sending us their love, letting us know they value us, showing us that they’re thinking of us. This is what we receive every time we open our mailbox and pull out a stack of cards.
And when we, in turn, pull out our new box of Christmas cards and address book each year, we’re doing the same for them. From the trip to the store to choose the cards that not only represent us but also ones we think our friends and family will enjoy to going to the post office to select the best Christmas stamps of the year to the act of sitting down at our kitchen table where we pull out the names of our loved ones and carefully write personal messages on each card, we’re showing others how much they mean to us.
Even in this digital age, I’m going to send Christmas cards
Everyone loves to receive mail, but when we send Christmas cards to others it’s about so much more. When we take the time to send a tiny expression of love through the mail, we’re letting others know we’re thinking about them, letting them know how much we care.
So, even in this digital age when there really is no need to put any time or effort into reaching out to others, a time when social media is always just a few seconds away, I choose to send Christmas cards. I choose to show up in mailboxes all across the country, letting my friends and family know that I wish I was there, that I want to let them know that I love them and am thinking of them.