When we first got married I thought sending Christmas cards was the good wifely thing to do but as years passed I had such a hard time justifying it. When the kids were little, money was often still a factor but there was that thing about keeping up with addresses when I couldn’t even keep up with sippy cups. A few years ago I came to the realization that Christmas cards and I needed to part ways.
My friend Lori asked me for our address recently and when I sent it to her she said it was the one she already had. I told her that was pretty amazing. We’ve actually been in the same house for two years in a row. She also lives a nomadic lifestyle so she totally understood.
Several friends have asked me for our address over the last couple of months to send us a Christmas card. They have to ask because we don’t typically stay put for very long so it’s always a good thing to check with us. We had a different address for our first five Christmases. We’ve had a bunch more since then.
I gladly give my friends our address because I love getting their cards. But I feel compelled to tell them that they won’t be getting one back, because, “Sorry, I don’t send out Christmas cards.”
I tried for years to make it work out. I went through a season where I thought it’d be cool to only use cards that I bought from our local children’s home or from a non-profit or something. I did that for a while. It still stressed me out and cost too much. So several years back, I quit. Gave it up and graced myself. I can promise you that my husband and kids were totally fine with me not being stressed out about doing something that wasn’t the best use of my time and our money.
Giving myself Christmas card grace was giving a gift to myself.
Life is too short to spend our time and money on things we don’t enjoy doing that aren’t life-sustaining. Does that sound harsh? I don’t mean it to but if sending Christmas cards is not something you love to do, consider quitting. You won’t die and no one else will either. I’m still here, aren’t I? If you aren’t made of money and would rather give the extra you have to an organization that provides clean water to the thirsty, then do it. Reevaluate what you do during this busy season and make necessary adjustments. If it’s not life-sustaining and you don’t enjoy it, if it’s not something you get excited about doing then chances are it’s not a gift of your love. I’ve said this a million times if I’ve said it once, but whatever we say “yes” to comes with a “no” to something else. It’s so easy to lose sight of all the things we’re neglecting that we love by filling our time with so many things we don’t. Give yourself the gift of Christmas card grace.
Along with my apology for not sending them a card back, I tell my friends that I do love getting theirs. I appreciate that they would send one to me. I feel loved and thought of when I get something in the mail just like the next person. I also tell them that I keep them out and pull them out randomly throughout the year and pray for them. If you send me a card, it is not wasted. I promise. I have gallon Ziplocs with all of the Christmas cards and pictures that have been sent to us over the years. I treasure them. I really do.
Is this a good time for you to reevaluate what you are spending your time and resources on? Is there something you need to give yourself the gift of grace and quit doing? Something you’ve been saying “yes” to that you don’t love that has kept you from saying “yes” to something that you do love? We’d love to hear about it.
P.S. If you haven’t ever seen the Christmas Letter episode from Everybody Loves Raymond, you need to! It’s one of my all time favorites this time of year. Season 6, Episode 12. You’re welcome.