One unhappy trend that I notice as I get older, is that fewer and fewer people seem to be writing Christmas cards these days – or at least, that’s the case among the circles of people that I interact with. What’s a shame is that as this decline has been happening, I, personally, have found myself drawn to them more and more. I have a quality street tin of cards that friends have given me and I’ll look over them from time to time. I’m especially fond of the ones where people go out of their way to write a short paragraph.
In terms of what people can give me at Christmas time, there’s a clear hierarchy in my mind. Number one, of course, is their time. I’ll never appreciate anything more than a person taking the time to see me for a dinner or a lunch. Number two, then, is Christmas cards, because though I may not see a person, it is nice for them to share their emotions in some way. Third is presents – which can also be very nice, but which rarely provide the same level of emotional satisfaction as cards or time.
Of course, I don’t want to imply that Christmas is all about what other people can give you. The focus should always be on what you can give other people at this time of year – and do you know what my favourite thing to give is? Well, it’s time, of course, but I also get a great deal of satisfaction from writing my Christmas cards. When else do you get the opportunity to lavish your friends with affection without seeming needy? Not often! It’s nice that love and sentimentality are encouraged at at least one time in the year.
This year, I am particularly happy that two people have told me that my cards brought tears to their eyes – and it wasn’t because I was insulting them! I think it would be very hard to evoke that response with a simple gift. To me, this is when it’s important to let people know they are valued. As I write the many cards (and letters) that I send out each Christmas, I always look forward to the happy reactions of the people who will receive them. Nothing makes me feel as good as making people feel good – which is actually very selfish.
So, basically, the point of that unstructured selection of paragraphs is that I love Christmas cards and I wish more people loved them as much as me.