I’m mailing out my Christmas cards today.
That means I spent hours last night, painstakingly choosing the perfect card from the five different styles I purchased so each and every recipient on my list will get exactly the right one.
After all, you can’t send a card with Jesus in the manger to your Jewish friends or that card with the menorah on it to your neighborhood nun.
Jewish, Christian, whatever—it doesn’t matter. If you’re in my book with a valid mailing address, you get a card from me (at least, if I can afford the postage that year—stamps ain’t cheap and a freelance writer’s budget doesn’t always stretch very far).
I send Christmas cards every year. And I’ll tell you: It was a LOT more fun when I used to do it with a glass (okay, a bottle) of red wine. Now that I’m trying to be healthier, the worst thing I drink at the holidays (at least when I’m alone) is a stiff mug of hot chocolate—and it does NOT take the edge off that cramp you get from writing out dozens of cards by hand the way wine used to do.
So why do I do it?
I’d like to say it’s for the friendship, the love, the pure holiday spirit filling my being. But if anything, the feeling I get from sending Christmas cards is pretty much the opposite of love. Almost nobody, other than my mother (who doesn’t count—no offense, Mom!), ever bothers to send me a card in return.
Even people who used to send me a card back when I was married have stopped now—almost like I’m no longer worth the 49-cent stamp (when did THAT happen, by the way?!?).
Gotta say—it makes a person feel terrific.
So, do I send Christmas cards out of a sense of tradition?
Maybe a little. I DO like tradition. I love the idea of certain things having meaning for you, being important enough to do over and over again, year after year (even if other people think they’re silly).
But if my cards were JUST about tradition, I’d still be sending them only to the same ten people I did back when I was in grade school (and a lot of those folks are dead . . .). So, no, it’s not just about tradition for me.
Then why do I do it?
Because it makes me feel good.
I know, I know. It sounds crazy. I just told you how rejected I feel when I don’t get cards back and how frustrating, painful, and time-consuming the process of getting the cards ready to mail can be.
How in the world does any of that make me feel GOOD?
I guess it’s the same way exercise makes me feel good. Or eating healthy. Both of those things are a pain in the butt, but I do them anyway.
I do my Christmas cards for myself (not for anybody else, not even the people whose names get I hand-write on the envelopes). I send them because they make me feel good.
So join me, won’t you? Send a Christmas card this year. It may not make you feel as awesome as a 5-mile run, but it WILL make you feel good. Especially if you have some wine . . .