Responses to the holiday season and the customary cards that accompany it tend to fall at either end of the spectrum. Some cringe at the onslaught of colorful cardstock cramming into their mailbox, others take little delight in the idea of writing, addressing, licking, stamping, sorting, stuffing, and finally sending all of their holiday correspondence, but I can also think of one other response to a Christmas card that shows it truly can be one of the best Christmas presents.
Christmas cards often include multiple generations in their story from sender to recipient. The elderly can receive them from children, grandchildren, and extended family sometimes scattered around the globe. Parents retrieve them from the mailbox and find spangled, glue sodden construction paper cutout classroom projects from their children offering Christmas greetings. Other adults can discover the yearly update from a distanced sibling or family member with information and pictures of events from the year that serve to share lives and build connection with new stories that show a picture of the year ranging from tragic to humorous and heartwarming.
In many ways, a letter is the most personal mode of long distance communication. We treasure personal correspondence like Christmas letters because they take time and effort – not only to sit and write but also to craft and create something unique that the other person will enjoy reading. Oftentimes we let Hallmark craft these clever anecdotes or Biblical saying for us in beautiful gold script along with a picture that epitomizes the holiday spirit.
While the time and effort put into a letter can increase its worth, perfection does not dictate satisfaction and enjoyment. As with some oddities in life, it can be the flaws that make cards great. Poor grammar and imperfect language accompanied by a child’s scrawl at the bottom of the page can be as lovely as that same gold script telling of live and peace for all mankind. The handprint of a two-year-old niece and granddaughter carries a personal message of love that card companies fail to duplicate.
Finally, here is your Christmas gift from us – all this pleasure and family joy is nearly entirely free! Forty-five cents will suffice to send a holiday gift that can brighten a day and bring joy in the cold, harsh, snowy weather. And as its destination is reached, you can rest assured, you have brought a sparkle of joy to another’s life with one of the best Christmas gifts around.