Hold-it-in-your-frosty-paws holiday greetings


Some folks dream of fame and riches, others of sexy cars or roomy mansions.

Me? I’ve long daydreamed about . . . family Christmas cards.

I grew up with a caring mom who paid attention to details — especially at the holidays. Come mid-November, we were always preparing for our big, old-fashioned family photo for the holiday greetings she would send in early December. Mom usually wrote a letter to accompany the card — a precursor to Facebook updates, you know — and still does.

Though I am an unabashed mail geek, I always found something so sweet and cozy about getting a photo card with loved ones’ faces: smiling at Disney World, celebrating the first day of school, posed with Santa. Kids feature prominently but the adults are there, too, holding a hand or lifting into an embrace.

As soon as Spencer and I began dating, I started imagining our Christmas card. I’m obsessed with stationery and postage, so coming up with mock greetings was . . . well, sort of a pastime. I have a sample card I made in 2010 — the year we met — and saved somewhere in a dusty computer file. It was never ordered or sent, of course; it was too soon for that. But I liked creating it. It was fun knowing it was there.

When we married, I knew Christmas cards would be my first order of business. Since our wedding took place in November, I worried about having to send thank-you cards at the same time as holiday notes . . . and even contemplated combining the two into one piece of mail.

And then I realized that is crazy. Who can get too much mail?!

Last year’s card — our first — was especially fun, given we were fresh newlyweds. I spent forever debating various photos and designs, let me tell you. This year’s was awesome, too, because it included that special announcement from us! And Spencer in a Santa hat, which is a rare sight indeed.

Us at Christmas

Most folks might have already heard about the baby through phone calls, email or social media — but, you know. Everyone knows it’s not official until it’s on cardstock.

I love everything about the card-sending process. Gathering addresses, choosing stamps, sitting down with a Sharpie, finding elegant seals and stickers . . . it’s a whole thing for me, and I can’t imagine giving it up. When I was sick as all heck two weeks ago, I stayed in on a Friday to watch a cheesy Hallmark movie and get all my cards prepped. Minus all the nose-blowing, it’s a pretty sweet memory.

Though I love the Internet (hi!), nothing can replace the warmth of getting a real, tangible, hold-it-in-your-frosty-paws Christmas card in your mailbox. This is the one time of year I fight Spence to the end of the long driveway, wanting to be the first to uncover whatever arrived that afternoon. We haven’t received too many greetings just yet, but the season is still (relatively) young.

And I’ll never stop checking.

That’s what mail lovers do: we send. And we hope.

Do you send out cards at the holidays, either with or without personal snapshots? Is it a family tradition for you, too?

15 thoughts on “Hold-it-in-your-frosty-paws holiday greetings

  1. I, too, was so excited to send out our first Christmas card as newlyweds. We have a 3 year old daughter, so now it is a way to send an updated photo of her to family and friends spread across the world. She now helps in the process…I love snail mail. So fun!


  2. Like you I love snail mail and would rather write a letter to someone then call them on the phone. My family also always sends Christmas cards out every year! Even if sometimes we don’t get them out the first week of December! It is a tradition for us too. When I was younger it was just my mom doing exactly what you are doing! She’d either find a picture she loved of the whole family during the year or we would all stand in the living room on Thanksgiving and take picture after picture until we got one right! Then she’d order them, write thoughtful notes or updates on them and then send them out. This year the whole family got more involved so my mom, my sister and I are sending them all out together! There is just something about getting a card in the mail!


  3. In college and while I was single out of college I would scoff at the cards my newlywed friends sent or the first Christmas baby photo but deep down I know I was only jealous because who wants a photo of a single girl with a Santa hat on and a mug of spiked egg nog in their Christmas card?! But now that I’ve been in a 4 year relationship, new-ish-ly engaged I can’t wait to be married to send my own! You’re right, there is something about the hope that comes along with sending out a card. And congrats to you and your husband!!


  4. Such a cute photo! Love it!

    We sent one last year because we had gotten married in October and used one of our wedding pictures. We skipped this year but will definitely do one next year since it will be our baby’s first Christmas!


  5. I always stress myself out over the cards, but in my heart I do love sending them. This year my kids refused to have their pictures taken (yeah, teenagers just wait) so I grabbed some various separate shots I took this year and made do. Back when I started the blog and decided I didn’t SUCK at writing, I started writing a letter as well. Once the kids leave, we will still continue to do it, only I guess we will have to be in the picture. With animals. Just wait until your card next year!


  6. When I was little, I remember my parents did send out Christmas cards, but they weren’t personalised ones, just the ones you can buy in bulk in a box. We haven’t sent anything out for years, though. My parents are last-minute kind of people, and often end up sending out an email to everyone with a nice message and a pretty picture they took at some point that year (and which more often than not has nothing to do with Christmas). A last minute email is definitely not the same as an actual Christmas card, though. I don’t live at home anymore, but I don’t have the money to be sending out Christmas cards on my own to everyone I know. But once I’m all grown up (haha), I’d love to make it a tradition of my own (with or without significant other). 🙂


  7. Now that I’m sort-of on my own, I’m just beginning my Christmas card traditions. I’m not too much of a photo person myself, but I’m all about a handwritten note.


  8. I am the worst at sending cards for anything, but this year my wife and I designed a holiday card featuring the Little Reader (of course) and I’m so excited to have sent them. It’s crazy photo heavy because I am super biased abt how cute my baby is! Also, did I miss the announcement?? If so, CONGRATS!! If I hadn’t, forgive me — new mom brain! Either way, so happy for you — it’s worth it (says the mom who has had 2.5 hrs of sleep last night!). 🙂


  9. I wasn’t going to send one this year because we don’t have any big announcements, or weddings, or much to celebrate – but the thought of missing one year in a lifetime of Christmas cards – just couldn’t do it!!


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