For twenty years or so, I sent out Christmas cards and for three years or so I contemplated cutting that ritual from my season. I used to take a picture and send it together with a two or three page typed letter letting all and sundry know my doings for the last year and then hand write in the cards a more personal note. I used to think of people gathering some sort of joy from receiving my card. That tiny present. A picture. A letter. A note. It took effort.
Although I still feel it's my job to-spread-joy-throughout-the-world, I put my efforts into other things these days.
The year before I stopped sending out cards en mass, I advised many of my Christmas Card recipients in the handwritten note of my thoughts regarding discontinuing this ritual. I received three entreaties to continue.
A "friend" from high school days and I had exchanged cards every year since. Twenty years. That's a long time. I always mailed my cards very early. I was excited. I wanted the season to begin. My friend's card was always written as they were driving to some ski resort or to visit her parents or his parents or on their way to the airport or some such thing and then mailed on December 26th or so. Her card often arrived after I'd dismantled my home of Christmas paraphernalia. She always apologized for her handwriting in that they were travelling. (At the worst of times her handwriting was better than mine.) Many times I was envious of the holiday they were heading to as described in her cards.
Three years before I stopped sending out cards en mass I mailed my high school friend her Christmas "package" and I noticed when I received her card that she had copied some of my writing mannerisms. She wrote to me in that card to the effect that she was surprised after all these years it was beginning to look as if we might have something in common. I couldn't help but wonder, knowing her all through high school and then maintaining a Christmas Card relationship all those years after high school, what she felt we might be beginning to have in common.
The next year when I wrote my card to her we were travelling in Dowager. I described to her the trip we were taking and apologized for my handwriting. (I wrote to her during some very high seas.) I never received a card from her that year. The next year I didn't send her a card and warned the rest of my Christmas list I was contemplating ceasing the ritual. The year after that I started making my own cards and sending them only to people who I though would appreciate the child like hand made card. It cut my Christmas list down.
Peace and Goodwill.
Way back when, I lost Christmas for awhile. My Dad, falling into the Christmas tree, drunk. My Mom angry, arms crossed over her chest. These images helped me to miss-place Christmas. When I had children of my own, I tried really hard to get it back. Took awhile but I figure I'm getting there.
Peace and Goodwill.