How many Christmas cards made to your mailbox this year? If you’re thinking, “Not many,” I’m with you.
Paper cards sent with postage stamps have gone the way of the wired phone…or have they?
On a pre-Christmas post office run last month, I saw a friend in line ahead of me buying 300 Christmas stamps. 300!!! Curious, I asked him if he really sent 300 cards. “Oh yeah. That’s down from 500.” Really? Really.
He’s a remarkable active 80ish year old whose married to a second wife (after he lost the first one). He explained that he designs the card and his wife writes the poem inside. Wow. Together they have collected family, friends and acquaintances from travels and work and lives well lived. They take time at Christmas to keep in touch. It’s an important part of their holiday celebration.
I didn’t ask him how many cards they receive in return. I’m not sure he cares.
That chance meeting made me think about all the people and relationships, I have let slip away—bosses and co-workers who were important in my life; friends who moved or those I moved away from; distant, distant cousins; teachers; college friends; fellow volunteers from the past. The list is endless really.
The reasons I’m not in touch is equally endless. Moving, lost addresses, lost connections, living a busy, ‘cardless’ sending life for a few years. They are excuses, not reasons.
This year I sent 40. After my post office encounter, a new promise was born. I will begin adding those lost people back on my Christmas card list until I hit 200. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. These can’t be people for the sake of numbers, but people that counted to me at one time, people who helped shape my life. I’m certain there are many more than 200, but it’s a start.
I am doing this without expectations. I’m doing it because simply by adding each name, I am remembering what each added to my life (and in some cases what I was able to add to theirs). Each of those memories is a little gift to me. Hopefully the card will be a gift to them.
How easy it is for us to forget how we got where we are and all the people we met along our journey. It’s our own history. This is the way I will start keeping mine alive.
What about you? Do memories of people and adventures from the past bring you joy? Are people out there in the world that made a big impact on your life? Do you recall those that gave you just what you needed when you needed it most or better yet, people you were able to comfort at the just the right time? A simple paper card with a stamp once a year can remind us of our shared history.
Just thinking about it makes me smile.