I love the holidays. Holiday music, baking opportunities, community events, Christmas lights–all of it makes me smile. I don’t enjoy shopping during the holidays at all, though. The crowds give me headaches, so I’m usually done procuring gifts well before Thanksgiving.
One of my favourite activities at the end of the year is sending out holiday cards. Since becoming a mother, I haven’t been nearly as good at keeping in touch with friends around the world, and our holiday greetings are an annual opportunity to remind the people we care about that we love them. For nearly six years, I maintained a public blog, but there are plenty of folks for whom the blogosphere is a huge mystery. The act of addressing and stamping envelopes, filling them with our family’s good wishes, is very satisfying. I know that Christmas cards end up being a chore for many people, and I’m very glad that I find the whole experience to be fun!
I usually order photo cards with a photo from the year. When my husband is home for the holidays, I send out a family photo, but more often the picture is of our twin daughters alone. After all, my husband and I look pretty much the same year after year. Getting nice family photos is a challenge all its own, and after the first year, I elected to leave it to the professionals. A couple of years ago, we invested in an amazing photo shoot with the talented Brandi Nellis, but most years, we just hit up the Sears or JC Penney photo studio.
Although our nuclear family celebrates Christmas’s religious significance, we have many relatives who are Muslim, several friends who are Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist, and many more friends and relatives who are altogether secular. I try to pick a winter-themed photo card rather than a Christmas one, and add a handwritten note to recipients who we know will be celebrating Christmas or Eid, if it happens to fall in the winter.
Along with the photo card, I include a family letter, describing the highlights of our year. The majority of the letter usually ends up being about the children’s interests, milestones and accomplishments. This year, I invited our daughters to make their own contributions to the annual letter, and they each drew a picture and wrote a few sentences about the holiday season this year. It was pretty amazing to see them as excited about reaching out through the mail as I am every year.
How do you handle holiday greetings, and do you include your children in your efforts?
Sadia, her husband and their 5-year-old girls, M and J, send their holiday greetings from El Paso, TX, where they have just experienced their first Texas desert snow. Sadia’s husband told her about desert snow during his first tour of duty in Iraq, but it has to be seen to believed.