One of the things I love most about the holiday season is Christmas cards. Especially after the strange and isolating year we have had, checking the mail each day, waiting to see if there was a card, getting updates on friends and family, it’s been medicine for my soul.
This year’s cards looked a little different. Instead of just matching pajamas, matching masks were also in vogue. I quietly read each one, looking over the photos and smiling at all the toothy grins from all my friends’ kids. Then, I taped each card to the kitchen cabinets to display for the Christmas season. Taking them down in January made me kind of sad.
But, it got me thinking.
I love getting letters and cards in the mail. It brings me such joy that maybe this year, I won’t wait to send some cheer out to my Christmas list until December. Maybe I’ll start a letter-writing campaign.
I got the idea from my aunt. She recently sent around an email with handwritten letters attached. They were drafted by my great-aunts and sent to her in 1979 when she was a young, new mom, living away from home for the first time. The notes made me instantly miss these wise old women — pseudo grandmas — who have long since passed. (My grandpa had 5 sisters and 4 brothers and they were a big part of my life growing up.)
But hearing their voices and seeing their writing again gave me pause. In today’s digital age, a handwritten note is becoming a lost art. And so, that is just what I am doing. As part of my New Years resolutions, I am reaching out to my circle in writing. It may not mean anything to anyone else. But it fills that place in my heart that desperately needs connection.
I decided on the following three categories:
The Simple Hello
I am sending notes to those special people in my life who could use a reminder that they are on my mind. I have family in care facilities that have endured one of their hardest, most isolated years ever, and I am writing letters to them just to say hi. Sometimes they are written in big, bold letters with little more than a quick “Hello,” but hopefully will be enough to let them know I am thinking of them.
Letters to my Christmas Card List
Secondly, I plan to write each person on my Christmas list an actual letter. I’ll tell them of my mission to reach out and thank them for the annual card. I know how expensive and time-consuming writing Christmas cards can be, but I truly do love the updates and well wishes, they warm my heart all season.
Finally, for the special kids in my life, I have started writing them silly stories, mailed one chapter at a time. With each chapter I send a fun little gift to accompany the letters, each one described in the story and weaved into the adventures of the main characters.
I am starting with my nieces, whom I have been unable to see as frequently this last year as I would have normally and I want them to know I love them, miss them and am thinking of them. I know they love getting to open packages that come in the mail addressed just to them and I hope it will be a good way to stay connected. Each chapter will be mailed two weeks apart to keep them engaged and to span the time I think we’ll have to continue to stay apart until we are safe to visit again.
This story is about a little girl who steals rainbows (like the rainbow marshmallows from her sisters’ Lucky Charms) until she learns how to make them and gives them a way to spread joy.
No matter what the format the correspondence comes in, I hope it brings a little joy to the recipient and reminds them someone out there is thinking of them.
What are you doing to stay connected? Do you send handwritten letters?