Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Card ritual

We picked up our Christmas cards last night, so after Zoe was tucked into bed I settled on the couch with the lap desk, a snuggly blanket, favorite pen, and a stack of envelopes.

I forget each year how important it is to me to write these out by hand. Every year I contemplate using my Excel spreadsheet in true geeky fashion and creating a mail merge to print labels. I consider what clipart I could use, or if I could make one of my images teeny tiny and still capture what I'm trying to convey. I let my mind wander through fonts, deciding which I'd use this year.

And then, when it comes down to it, I give up the merge idea and start to handwrite simply because it's easier than messing with formatting in Office.

And once I begin, I remember why it's so important that I do this each year.

Things change. I mean, there are always huge changes to reflect upon that happen in the course of just one year.

People move. Couples get married. Babies are born. We lose loved ones.

Writing out each address by hand reminds me to slow down and think of everyone with intention. Sometimes I laugh, remembering how much fun we had at this wedding or that. Sometimes I cry, slowly striking off my list those who passed away. With each name comes memories. I mail a card to my 7th grade teacher who meant so much to me during a difficult time, and this year, to my new friends gained during the incredible experience of Camp Shutter Sisters. Old family friends we see only once a year but who are held in special places in our hearts, and new friends found on the sidelines of kindergarten soccer games. Former colleagues with whom we waged corporate battles and endured layoffs and budget cuts. I always send a card to the phenomenal group of women at P.A.R.I.N.T.S., an organization dedicated to helping couples conceive. This one simple act each year, writing out their address, reminds me once again of how much we struggled to get our darling girl, and how every agonizing second of that experience was so worth it.

The cards are almost ready to go now. Everything is addressed save for one, and I just need to seal, stamp, and return-address label them. I'm thankful for this opportunity to look at my year in review while relaxing by the fireplace with my beloved nearby and my girl warm and snug in her bed. I am determined to savor everything good about this holiday season, and this was a great start.


Anonymous Tifferz said...

Um, I hope you werent referring to my cards...I was proud to find and upload my excel spreadsheet :) Plus my handwriting stinks!

9:06 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

No no! I'm not saying it's bad for anyone to use a mail merge program. I'm just saying that it's good for me to use this opportunity as a chance to slow down and think about people in my life. I don't often do that, so this little ritual is important to help me maintain perspective and remember what (actually, WHO) is important! If I didn't hand write my addresses, there are people who would get cards that I'd go years without really thinking about - which is a pretty sad commentary on my life, actually. :-)

11:40 AM  
Blogger Val Foltz said...

i was just thinking about this last night as i was finishing up some of the stragglers. i'm so glad you wrote about this process. thank you.

5:40 AM  

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