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.
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?