Each year we ask ourselves that most difficult question: Are we going to send cards this Christmas?
Before social media, a card or a newsletter was how we kept up-to-date with friends and family. If nothing else, it provided a current address of where they could find us if they needed us. The ability to condense twelve months of family life onto an 8-1/2x11 piece of holiday letterhead (with proper indentions to avoid printing over a Christmas tree or Santa) became an art. Now all you have to do is search my social media profile page and you can relive the magic of the past year.
But, again this year, we caved to peer pressure and prepared a newsletter--mostly for friends and family who are not on social media. Think of it as a reward for not succumbing to the pressures of society. We throw in a few select family members just so they can add another picture to their refrigerator or the shoebox they keep on the top shelf of their most remote closet. Still, what we sent this year is only a small fraction of what we used to do twenty years ago.
One of the most difficult tasks of preparing to send cards is going through last year’s list and updating it for those who have passed away. It is bitter sweet. We grieve all over again for the loss, we think about the survivors and how different this year will be for them, and we remember sweet memories of the deceased.
So last week I drafted the 2023 edition, gained Jenni’s approval, and then let it sit for a few days—just in case something changed or we remembered some huge unforgettable moment previously omitted. A few days later, we turned off Judge Judy and turned on Pandora with Christmas music. Then it was time to battle the printer, which really wasn’t that bad this year other than trying to remember which way to insert the holiday letterhead. Yep, got it wrong. So we had to strike one person off our mailing list. If you expected to get one and did not, well, sorry. We still love you.
We used to send the envelopes through the printer after doing a mail merge of our address list. At some point in the past that felt so impersonal that we changed the font from Calibri to Lucida Handwriting for that more personal touch. But last year the printer jammed so many times that we agreed it was easier to cut a few more names (Sorry, again) and then divide the list and handwrite the envelopes. Yes, I know some people send their mailing lists to an online service which prints the envelopes for them in whatever font they choose and mails them. I’m happy for those who have done this. I only found out this week that Insta Cart delivers groceries up here on the mountain so I’m a little behind with some of the technological advances.
Instead of using a service, I chose to stop in at my local, favorite Cleveland Post Office and purchase Christmas stamps. While I peeled and stuck stamps, I had a great conversation with Stacey who runs that branch. I had been there the day before to mail a book. She asked me then if I needed anything else and I said no. This time, after buying enough sheets of stamps, she asked if I needed anything else. I explained that I only plan one day at a time so this would do me for the time being.
If you didn’t get one of our newsletters this year, I assure you it was mostly about our granddaughter Emma, then our van Wanda, my new book Wanda 2, our dog Annie, our kids, and a little about us. Try not to take it personally—I’m thrilled that Jenni and I even made it into the letter!
And have a Merry Christmas!