One important Christmas tradition from my childhood was the sending of Christmas cards. Weeks before Christmas, I remember my mom buying boxes of cards, personalizing each one, and addressing all of the envelopes by hand. My handwriting was never neat enough, so the only job I had was to add the stamps. It seemed like a lot of time was spent on the whole process, and it felt like a lot of work to me.
Then, the magic happened. Every day for weeks on end, there were Christmas cards in the mailbox! Many of these were from people I didn’t know or remember, but my mom could always tell me something about the sender. My grandma had an even bigger stack of cards at her house, coming from people spread across the country. It was always fun to see the variety and hear about all of these people who were important to my family.
Reflecting back on that tradition, I now understand that Christmas is a time to reconnect. Even if we only heard from people once per year, we knew they were still thinking about us. It was a deliberate decision to write out the name and address on each and every card that was sent. People took the time, even in a busy season, because staying in touch was such a priority.
The modern variations of email, social media, and even e-cards definitely make it faster and cheaper to connect with people, but they don’t demonstrate the dedication it took to address all of those envelopes by hand and pay for both the cards and the stamps to mail them. Even though it’s actually easier to send out Christmas messages now than in the past, it seems that people do so less frequently.
As we try to be intentional about reconnecting this year, maybe it’s time to bring back the tradition of holiday greetings to friends and family near and far. Perhaps your family can find a way to check in with people you haven’t heard from in a while. There are lots of options and plenty of days left before Christmas.