As we celebrate Thanksgiving the minds of many is already on what has to be done in preparation for Christmas…the shopping, baking, decorating, and the traditional Christmas card mailing.
I have noticed over the years that the number of cards received has dropped tremendously. Is it because people are too busy to bother? Is it because people think an email “Happy Holidays” is as good as a traditional snail mail greeting? Is it because the price of Christmas cards has become so outrageous, and then once bought and prepared the postage still has to be purchased?
It could be any or all of those reasons, but I tend to believe the cost of cards has had a huge impact on the traditional sending of the card. The last time I purchased cards, which was several years ago, it was over fifty dollars just for the cards. I had always sent the traditional card with a newsletter on our happenings for the past year typed and included, and usually a bit of a handwritten personal note on the card as well. Then life happenings put me in a position to change all that.
In 2010 I did not get my traditional cards bought and the holiday crept up on me. Still I did not want to miss the traditional sending of the holiday greetings, so I did it with a twist. I used my Publisher program to make a Christmas Greetings newsletter. I set it up to read like a newspaper with various topics and column headings and included a few pictures of the family as well. A separate column was set up where I wrote about each of my adult children and my grandchildren. Other topics might have been travel, house remodeling/upgrades, and other such items. I then mailed the newsletter, with no card, in regular #10 envelopes. I folded them so that the “Christmas Greetings” header was visible when it was pulled from the envelope to give it a bit of holiday feel.
My newsletter was well received. People enjoyed getting lots of news on the family. I also heard that the newsletter format was liked because it was a rather long letter, but they were able to pick up and read various columns and then sit it down and finish later without loosing where they had been. I have not purchased any Christmas cards since then. Every year I continue to do the Christmas newsletter. It is printed back-to-back, which cuts down on paper. Some years it is one sheet (2 pages), other years it has been 2 sheets (4 pages).
What has happened over the years since I started this? Last year I received three “letters only” Christmas greetings. So far I am the only one using newspaper format, the others were written in the traditional letter style, but they were full of information and happenings from throughout the year. I enjoy receiving Christmas newsletters. It is nice to hear about what people you are away from are doing, and it is more personal than a standard card. It shows you took time, put effort into the greeting, even if it is a letter that has been printed and photo copied. It still took a bit of time to compose that newsletter.
As we enter the holiday frenzy I challenge you to do tradition with a twist. If you have already purchased your Christmas cards, then enclose a short newsletter about the past year inside each. If you have not purchased cards, consider composing a Christmas Greetings newsletter and mail those out to family and friends instead. You may find, as I did, that in a couple years you start getting those in return as well. Tradition with a Twist!