Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Opportunities # 2 and #3

I love Christmas cards. I love sending them and I especially love receiving them. I love the colors and the artwork and the way they look all grouped together. I love the photos of families and I even (mostly) love the newsletters that come with some of them. Some of my friends and family members are extra creative and make their own and I look forward to seeing what they chose to do this year. I used to make my own, but haven't in a while, though I want to get back to doing it again.

Email cards are convenient, and for those who have small children, multiple jobs, busy lives, I understand the advantage. But when Tandi and I go out to the mailbox, and I reach in and pull out a hand-addressed envelope, I'm tearing it open before I get back to the porch, eager to see what lovelies have been sent our way, and what bits of family news might be there. I know we should be staying in touch throughout the year, but if we don't, then I'm glad Christmas cards are there to remind us to at least touch base once during the year.

Every year I exchange cards with a couple I assisted when I used to do Workers' Comp case management--and I haven't done that work since 1993. One year, he sent me a signed copy of a book he wrote about the Inn in Bethlehem. I love it. And I send a card each year to the parents of a 32-yr-old breast cancer victim I cared for who died in 2005. We shared many hugs and tears over several months, and that family really touched my heart.

When we nurses get an occasional thank-you card or Christmas card from former patients and/or their families, we invariably smile and melt just a little. It's nice to hear they are doing better, or even that their loved ones are coping with their loss. So I imagine the staff at my doctor's office or my vet's office, or even my dentist's office feel the same way. (Chocolate is always appreciated, too, but let's not get greedy.)

I'm even sending one to my trash pickup service this year. It's a couple-owned business, (in my area, we have to contract with a garbage service of our own, as we are in a "village", not part of the city) and I doubt they get many thanks. I mean, how do you give them fudge or cookies? And I DO appreciate what they do. Boy, do I appreciate them!

As part of my Take Christmas Back effort this season, I decided to buy faith-based cards to send out. There are many things I enjoy about the season--Santas and trees and angels and candles--but without the birth of Jesus, we'd only be celebrating "happy holidays" or "winter" or some such nonsense. I'm not out to offend anyone, and I'll wish Happy Hannukah to my Jewish friends, but I celebrate Christmas, and I'm not ashamed to say so.

Besides the ones I bought this year, we've received blank cards from organizations hoping for donations, and I have a few stray cards left from years past. The American Red Cross has a program entitled Holiday Mail for Heroes, in which they are aiming for one million cards sent "to American service members, veterans and their families in the US and around the world." So I have put a short message in 8 cards and will be dropping these off at the Post Office today, as they need to be postmarked by tomorrow.

Sure, it takes time and effort to write a note, address and stamp envelopes and get a few dozen cards into the mail in this busy season, but for a few hours each year, it is nice to slow down and think about specific friends and families and acquaintances and what they mean to me.

Edited to add: I guess the cards had to be individually postmarked by 12/10--meaning they need to be ready to send out from Maryland tomorrow--because the post office couldn't pull up a zip code for the address on the site. I'm going to search online and see if there is somewhere I can send these out myself, probably individually.


HarryJack's Mom said...

Oh, thank you for this post - as I take a break from writing because my hand is cramping. I was just debating whether I should send a card to my nurse from 6 years ago...hoping she appreciates it as much as you do. I feel exactly as you described when I receive cards, and just a little sad when there is nothing handwritten. If you want one from our house, just email me :-) Merriest Christmas!

Anonymous said...


You totally encouraged me to write Christmas cards again, Stephanie!

It's been nearly 7 years since I sent any out. After Angel died, I just didn't want to. I somehow associated that pain with certain holidays and traditions (Easter is especially difficult), but I think I'm moving past it.

I'll let you know if I get them out in time! ...or even if I get them out late. Hey, it's better than not doing it at all.

Thanks for this post.
I love getting them from the people I love, too.

MightyMom said...

bring on the cards and the carols!!

I love them so!

I tape every card we get to the wall above our door. now Sonshine keeps asking me for more cards up there...so far there's only 2. But I know they'll get here in another week.

Sadly I still haven't gotten my cards ready to mail yet. I'm just coasting this year for some reason. Gotta get that box (yes darling, just one) out. :-)

Don't we nurses just LOVE knowing our patients remember us???