I am not the Grinch, I promise - but I have to tell you why I am not sending Christmas cards. For years, Brian and I have sent out Christmas cards to 100+ of our closest and dearest friends and family.
This holiday season we are really trying to start our own traditions, reduce the stress, minimize all of the unnecessary pressures and get back to the real meaning of Christmas. So, I decided that we are not sending cards out this year.
Every year I look at my list and decide what new friends "make the cut." I ask Brian, "Should I send one to that new girl that works at your office? or "Should I keep sending one to your great uncle, what's his name?" This year we are asking ourselves different questions such as "What are we trying to say with this Christmas card?", "Does sending Christmas cards bring us closer to the holiday spirit?" and "Is all of this really necessary?"
1. Are paper cards kinda like e-cards now? First, let's chat about the cards available out there. Holy overwhelm. Big business, my friends. You could pick up a few boxes of cards from Target or Wal-Mart with scenes of happy kids in the snow or Mickey Mouse dressed in red and green. Or you can order one online where you upload the best, most professional, most put-together picture of you, your hubby and your perfect children.
Don't get me wrong, it is fun receiving the cards. However, they don't feel personal anymore so I question if sending a generic paper card is pretty much like doing a holiday e-card?
Brian and I started sending out Christmas cards back in 2009 when Madilyn was born and our Christmas cards have been pictures of the kids ever since. This year, as I was looking through the millions of card options on Minted and MPix and Shutterfly, I got an icky feeling in the pit of my stomach. It just didn't feel right. I turned to Brian and said, "You know what? I am not doing cards this year." He smiled. He totally got what I was feeling.
A few weeks ago, we did what we do every year in the fall - we struggle through family photos with two unhappy kiddos. I planned our outfits for weeks. The weather doesn't really cooperate. One kiddo doesn't want to smile. One kiddo doesn't want to keep her hat on. Brian just wants to get it over with and get dinner, for goodness sake. All of this so we can get the perfect picture worthy of making the front of the Christmas card. As I was looking through all of the pictures that the photographer sent, I started to feel guilty, embarrassed and let's be honest, boastful. At this moment, Brian and I are incredibly blessed. We are healthy. The girls are healthy. Do I really need to send a photo of all of us to our friends and family to celebrate Christmas? Can't I just post a few pictures on my blog and on social media (because let's face it, everyone is there anyway!).
I wish I could send everyone in my life a personal, handwritten note. However, unless I figure out a way to clone myself, that is just not happening. I might order a couple for really close family and friends and write a message on the back and hand deliver. We will see!
I remember the year I had my miscarriage. I remember receiving cards from friends and family with perfectly healthy babies. Of course, I was happy for them but of course, it was a reminder of what I had lost. I think about all of the wonderful women in my life right now who are struggling with getting pregnant or who have lost a child or are going through a marriage separation. We live in a world where loads and loads of photos are shared on blogs and social media. Sometimes it just feels boastful. I am guilty as well. There is a fine line.
I guess every person, every family has a unique journey and if sharing happy, smiling photos of ourselves and our kids help spread joy, then great. However, I think that spending a ton of money to send cards out may not be the only way to spread that holiday joy. Christmas time can be a sad time for many people. It may trigger sad memories and bring on depression and loneliness like no other time of the year. My wish is that you do what feels right to you. No pressure. No expectations. No judgement.
2. How does one decide who makes the list? It just feels so strange. As a blogger and health coach who spends a lot of time online for my business, I feel like I make new friends every day! I wish I could send a card to everyone but that is just not possible. Therefore, I am treating this blog post as my Christmas card this year. As I type, I am thinking about the hundreds of women who sign up for every single program I offer. I am thinking about the new mom who sent me an email thanking me for my post about my struggles with postpartum depression. I am thinking about the moms out there who work two jobs just to make ends meet. No one needs the added pressure this holiday season. I give you permission to say no to whatever is causing you stress.
3. Is it worth the cost, time, pressure and environmental footprint? For us this year, it's not. Next year? Who knows. Maybe it will be. I will have to reevaluate. Instead, we are taking some of that money this year and making a donation to a charity. Also, think about all the paper that is used and thrown away every Christmas. Yikes.
Christmas is a special time to celebrate love and faith. It is a special time to be grateful for the people who love and believe in you. As my readers and fans, I am so grateful to you. Happy Holidays. This is my holiday card to you. I wish you a holiday season full of magic, love, faith, happiness and simplicity. Thank you for being so great and supportive. I hope that this post relieves some of the holiday pressure. I give you permission to say NO to some of those expectations. Instead, relax, breathe and enjoy the magic.
Photos by Amy Wilson Photography
Fast forward to 2017 and I still made my crew get holiday pictures taken yet the Christmas cards didn't happen yet again. You know what? That is OK. Happy holidays to you all!
Photo by Christy Lee Pagac
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