Thursday, December 20, 2007

Keeping Connected - The Christmas Card Tradition

From the time I left home, I've sent out Christmas cards. Out of the last 37 years there have only been a couple where I did not send out my cards. I keep a big list. You see . . . if you get on my Christmas card list, you almost never get taken off. I lose people when they move and don't leave a forwarding address. And, yes, sometimes people drift off my list as I like to send cards to people I'm doing things with, and so as my activities change, there are changes to "the list."

But Christmas cards are important to me. I grew up in Amarillo, but moved to the Austin area after my first year of college. I had good friends in high school - both through the school and through my church. I wanted to keep up with them. I met new friends those first years in college. I've kept up with several of them as well.

I've automated my system over the years. Instead of hand addressing them, I now use computer generated labels. And I finally started added a Christmas letter . . . but that only goes into the cards that I think the people would enjoy hearing our news. People I see all the time know what is going on. But I still take time to write notes into a very few of the cards for people I really don't get to see that have been special in my life.

As the years have gone by, we've lost people on the list as the generation ahead of us died. And we've had some casualties in our own age group as well. I used to use a Christmas Card Address book - I ended up marking it as these older relatives died. So as I addressed my cards . . . I would have an opportunity to bring them back to mind. With the computer generated list, I try to update it each year. But this year, I have several cards that I'll need to hand address - we lost friends and family again this year. Plus, I've got a few names to add that did not get added before I printed out the labels.

But my Christmas cards help me remember those special people. And I look forward to hearing from them, getting their Christmas letters that keep me aware of what has happened with them this year.

The last few years, I've been doing my own cards from photographs I've taken.

So for my readers who have not yet made it on my Christmas card list: I wish you an old fashioned Christmas filled with love, joy, and peace!

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