Vivian uses a common sense approach to explore the social issues of today.
Nothing says you’re unimportant and unworthy of time and effort than receiving a blanket Christmas greeting through Facebook or Instagram. With one click, followers and friends receive generic well wishes from acquaintances who have forgotten how to connect authentically with people in the real world. If are you intending to post your holiday greetings online this year, don’t bother. Even if you don’t mind avoiding human interaction and squandering your life in the artificial world of screens and social media, those of us who haven’t exchanged our souls for digital reality don’t appreciate the phony sham of sincerity.
Why should you take the time from your hectic holiday schedule to pen thoughtful greetings, and what elements should be included?
Choosing the Perfect Card
Christmas is not about family, random acts of kindness, presents, pretty decorations, and peace on Earth, even though such elements are included in the subtext of the season. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Period. God became flesh and dwelt among us as part of His salvation plan. With that in mind, it makes the most sense to select greeting cards that commemorate the true meaning of the season. Dayspring offers inspiring, faith-filled Christmas cards you can find at Walmart ranging from $5.00 to $10.00 per box. Interestingly, Pew Research Center finds approximately 81% of non-Christians also celebrate Christmas as a tradition or cultural event. It’s no wonder shelves are filled with cutesy greeting cards with woodland scenes and other non-religious themes, but such cards miss the point of the entire observance and are empty and meaningless.
Choosing Your Recipients
You may remember the comical Bob Rivers parody from 1990 entitled The Twelve Pains of Christmas. The fourth day of Christmas deals with the frustration of sending so many cards. I don’t even KNOW half these people! the exasperated performer laments. When you consider people “friend” on Facebook anyone they meet for three seconds and never see again, it’s no wonder their Christmas mailing lists are too daunting to tackle. It’s time to pare down your list. Who should make the cut? Close relatives, co-workers, bosom buddies, or long-distance pals you still cherish even though you don’t see them all qualify. Don’t worry about offending those on the chopping block. Chances are, they will be relieved. They never understand why you keep sending them cards anyway and will no longer feel pressured to reciprocate. Just be sure to buy more cards than you need in case you receive one unexpectedly and feel compelled to respond.
Make It Personal
After e-posts, the title for second place in the indifferent greeting card category goes to those who sign their cards without including a personal note. You might argue the card expresses your sentiment better than you ever could. It doesn’t matter. People appreciate handwritten notes. It’s what you say, not how you say it, that your recipients value. Penning Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! doesn’t count as a personal greeting, if that is all you write. Share some highlights of the past year of your life; offer them an encouraging word about a difficult situation they are in; remind them of a shared memory that will make them nostalgic. Many people choose to save time by writing an annual newsletter and including a copy in each card.
Sending small gifts inside your Christmas cards is also a great way to personalize them, even though this is entirely optional. Pictures of your family are the most desired mementos. Even though most people keep up with your photos on social media, they love having something they can hold and keep. In fact, the current trend for many is to convert their family photo into their Christmas card. This lacks the personal touch of a handwritten note, but it’s definitely a step up from an online greeting. Other possibilities for card inserts include scriptures, magnets, coupons, and bookmarks.
Decorate the envelopes to look cheery! Mailboxes are too often stuffed with advertisements and bills. Peeking inside your box to find a bedecked Christmas greeting is exciting—finally, fun mail! Simple Christmas stickers and festive stamps are all you need to embellish your cards to make the receiver smile with delight.
The Right Time to Send
There’s always that one friend who is so Christmas crazy their greeting card winds up in your box the day after Thanksgiving, but don’t feel obligated to mail yours quite so soon. As long as your card is delivered before Christmas, it’s sufficient. Expect snail mail to be unusually sluggish this time of year though and plan accordingly.
You may never know how your painstaking efforts to send tailored, personal greetings touches the hearts of the people on your mailing list—the widow who aches for her spouse, the mom whose child just moved away, the friend who needs to hear hope still exists. In a technological world of impersonal communication, people yearn to be noticed and valued. This year, don’t hurriedly click send on your keyboard or phone—take the time to show people they are special and worth the effort of a traditional holiday greeting. Add the spices of faith, hope, love, and laughter to your inscriptions, and you will warm hearts and make them twinkle more than any e-card ever could.
© 2018 Vivian Coblentz