© Another Day in the Country
I’m terrible at throwing away Christmas cards. It seems like such a waste to just read them once and throw them in the trash, so I keep them around.
It used to be that I would keep them until New Year’s Eve. Then I’d read them again, slowly, thoughtfully, and bless the people who sent them. Then I’d throw them away. But something changed.
It was a pull toward California, where I actually was needed by my family during the holidays to babysit my one and only grandchild while his parents were working.
That meant I wasn’t home to get cards and read them as they arrived. It also meant I wasn’t here on New Year’s to send subliminal good wishes to my friends and family who’d sent cards.
Things are about to change again because my grandson is getting older. These days, he probably does more babysitting of me than I do for him.
Last year, when I got home to read my mail, I stuck the cards into one of the boxes with Christmas decorations, which meant that I was procrastinating on throwing them away.
When the decorations came out this year, I found myself reading last year’s cards while this year’s cards were arriving in the mail.
For some folks, there was progress in their Christmas message. For others, the cards sounded pretty much the same. I mean, how much information is contained in a signature?
But it’s the thought that counts — just like the yearly blessing I give them that they know nothing about. I like to think that things go smoother for them when I send loving wishes their direction.
I get a kick out of doing odd things as Christmas cards. One year, Jess and I made up a coloring book about what happened during the year and sent these “cards” out with miniature boxes of crayons.
Another year, we sent out a card that resembled a toothpaste tube with the message on the back, “Squeeze as much as you can out of life.”
Last year, every card was a little watercolor painting, each one original. That took some time, but my sister and I had fun — like little kids, adding glitter.
This year, it’s just cards, cute but not extravagant — boxed cards, several different messages and shapes. There’s this voice in my head that says, “Pat, you are slipping. Why didn’t you do something really creative?”
To make up for the store-bought, rather generic cards, we decided to add a newsletter. Do you read these? Do you like them? We didn’t want the letter to be boring. We wanted it to be uplifting, so we decided we’d do some tips for 2023.
Do you like getting tips? What kind, you may ask. I’m talking about people telling you about a good book they’ve read that they think you might like. It’s a tip.
Maybe they tell you about a funny show like the sitcom, “Married,” on Hulu.
Since I don’t have you on my mailing list, I decided to share a tip from our Christmas newsletter with you.
When you’ve watched so much on Netflix that you can’t find something interesting, here’s one I’ve enjoyed.
David Letterman has a show where he interviews rather widely-known people.
I always learn something from these interviews and especially enjoyed what I think is his latest: Letterman interviewed Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Watch it!
I sometimes get discouraged about people’s attitudes, taking our democracy for granted, and I think, what has to happen? Do we have to go to war with some common enemy for people to band together as citizens of our country, willing to sacrifice, cooperate, and do their part?
I know what happens in little towns. Bickering is forgotten when there’s an emergency, and help springs out of the woodwork. Do we really need a disaster to wake up?
Listening to Zelenskyy talk, I realized once again how lucky we are not to have war on our doorstep. Even though the threat is always there, our biggest gift, this Christmas, is that we live in relative peace.
Prices might be high, but we have electricity. Things are more expensive to buy, but we still can find something to give! Even on a sparse budget we can count our blessings, and I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than spending another day in our country.