A Christmas Card For You

I’ve been rethinking my Christmas traditions this year. A bit like closet cleaning, I want to ensure that I thoughtfully keep what is meaningful, retire what no longer fits, and make room for new traditions that will add value and substance.

When thinking about Christmas cards, I researched the history of Christmas card sending. (Why? Because I’m me!) The first printed Christmas card, 1843 (shown above) depicted the importance of generations of family celebrating together, service to others, as well as symbols of eternity (sprigs of holly ) and of faithfulness/God’s path (ivy). Source I love the timelessness of this message. After all, isn’t this what the core of this holiday season is all about? Okay, okay…you looked closely! So, the card also depicts a child being served wine (while the other children dig into their plum pudding). Maybe this just means that we should never take ourselves too seriously. Or maybe the controversy caused helped to sell more cards! Either way, the timelessness of the message remains.

For many, many years I sent out handwritten cards with personalized greetings. Despite my best efforts, there were always people that I missed…and despite me sending early, there were often mail delays. For a few years, I tried e-cards. They did allow me to reach more people (and on-time), but every year several cards were left unopened. (With all of the confidence that I can muster, I am hoping that this is a statement of e-cards themselves and not of my friendship with those individuals!) Short of smoke signals, carrier pigeons or an insanely large banner in the sky, I tried to find a creative and heartfelt way to get my message out to you. You, who are so generously keeping in touch.

I wanted the perfect message. A message that would fully express how much I appreciate you. A heartfelt thank you for your extra efforts to keep in touch (and for following this blog!). And finally, a message that sends positive thoughts across the miles. I also wanted to send along some goofy Christmas photos…Yup, I dragged Richard out for another Christmas photo shoot….this time with a twist!

It was a tall order. My search through the internet at first trapped me in the ‘terrible toos’. The sample verses that I found were too general, too corny, too mushy or too artificial. Unlike many Christmas messages or letters, I don’t need to fill you in on key events in my life for this past year. By virtue of scrolling down, you have this information at your fingertips!

I then came across the following writing by Oren Arnold, novelist and journalist (b. 1900 – d.1980).

Christmas gift ideas / suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

Arnold’s words completely resonated with me. They so eloquently stated the core of what I wish to express in this post.

And so, I have wrapped up Oren Arnold’s powerful message in my own heartfelt words. I send them with sincere wishes of peace, love, and gratitude across the miles. May we all be more like the Whos down in Whoville — loving life, rejoicing in what we have, overlooking insult and joyfully celebrating community. Our vision becomes filled with what we put in our focus. If we all keep our visions fixed on these values, we CAN tilt our world towards peace. Undeniably.

Thank you for following along with me during 2016. I greatly look forward to remaining in touch in 2017! And now for those photos…

Sources:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1336459/Worlds-Christmas-cards-London-1843-arrive-auction-NY.html
https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/tag/first-christmas-card
http://mentalfloss.com/article/26650/first-christmas-card-was-sent-1843
http://www.signology.org/religious-symbols/xmas-symbols.htm
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/history-christmas-card-180957487
http://www.thefactsite.com/2009/12/why-do-we-send-christmas-card.html
http://www.victoriana.com/christmas/card1st-99.htm
http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/cards.shtml

Featured Photo – Image of the Firstchristmascard. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Remaining photos are from Donna & Richard’s 2016 Christmas Card Photo Shoot!

27 Replies to “A Christmas Card For You”

    1. Oh man, that is such a great question! I am hoping that other readers will read this comment and respond. I’d love to see their answers.

      Merry Christmas Helen, Enrico, Merlin & Owen. Missing you across the miles!

  1. I love that message by Oren Arnold! It perfectly sums up the spirit of the season, and one I hope we can all remember well past February. I especially like the last line. There is a world of difference between self-indulgence and self-respect.

    Merry Christmas, Donna, and best wishes for many happy adventures in the new year ahead!!

    1. Hi, Jo-Anne: Thank you for adding these important reminders.
      Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy 2017…and a very peaceful year (without the shenanigans of the monkey)!

    1. Hi, Kate. You and I were commenting on each others’ blogs at the exact same time. I love synchronized blogging! Wishing a very happy holiday season to you and your family as well.
      PS – Richard is a great sport…and most of the photos were his idea!

  2. Donna….Merry Christmas to you and Richard and all the best for 2017…..I think for husband and wife. ….the last one fits respect! For who they are differences and all….with respect I think comes love at all levels. All the best for 2017 and keep on blogging I love reading them.
    Georgia

    1. Hi, Georgia – Thank you for answering Helen’s question. I agree that respect and love are the greatest gifts of all.
      I greatly appreciate your regular comments on this blog — thank you!!
      Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and peaceful 2017. Enjoy Palm Springs!

  3. “Our vision becomes filled with what we put in our focus.” I needed that this morning.

    A very Merry Christmas to you & Richard! May the new year be filled with health & happiness.

    P.S. Love the yoga in the snow picture. I am sticking with yoga…just bought a 20 class pass! Hoping to do 2 a week. Even bought new boots so I can walk there in the snow. (Yoga studio is 4 blocks from my house. ) Paying in advance for classes is a great way for me to commit!

    1. Thanks, Pat: Receiving on-line inspiration from each other is my favorite part about blogging. So glad that you have committed to yoga. I actually made it to 30 yoga classes in November. This past month I have struggled to get their twice a week!
      Wishing you and your family a warm and tranquil holiday season. Enjoy your new boots!

  4. What a fun photo shoot, Richard is a good sport indeed! There is no way I would get my Mark out in the cold like that. Even in the tropics, it was hard for me to shoot photos of him. 🙂 I love your selected Christmas message as well. It makes so much sense. If everyone would just care for each other, and be kind and understanding… the world would be a better place. It sounds so simple.

    Now that we are on land, I have picked up hand writing a few cards to friends and family again, each with a personal message.

    As far as spouses go… I think that there needs to be a connection to make it work. Being a team in any situation makes for a strong relationship. Oren could have said: “To a spouse, connection” or even better “presence”. 🙂

    Happy holidays to you both!

  5. A wonderful sentiment to share, thanks so much for that. Desperately needed right now. Great pics, and a tip of the hat to Richard. Anyone who can plop his ass down on a wet, snowy bench WITH a beer is my kind of guy. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you, Donna.

  6. Love this and love the Arnold quote. A good reminder when so many are running around looking for the PERFECT gift. Do we really need more things, or do we need more forgiveness, tolerance, heart, service, charity, good examples, respect, and, of course, love. I finally made myself sit down this morning and complete the few Christmas cards I send. My list gets smaller each year, mostly because I stay in touch with many people in other ways throughout the year. Those that I see or contact with rarely – but are still important to me – get a card.

    Funny pictures… I love a man who doesn’t take himself too seriously!

    The happiest of holidays to you both!

    1. I fully agree with your values list, Janis. Like Liesbet said, it makes so much sense doesn’t it?
      Happy Holidays to you and your family. I look forward to staying in touch.

    1. Although I LOVED sending handwritten Christmas cards, I too was looking for a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to keep in touch.

    1. Hi, Terry – Thanks for sharing this post. And thank you for a hosting such a great link-up. I just visited again and found the ‘Christmas in the Philippines’ post, which I greatly enjoyed!

  7. What a beautiful and reflective message – something we could all use, at this time of the year! Thank you. We hope you and your family have a wonderful, Canadian Christmas and best wishes for a great new year. With holiday hugs from the UK:)

    1. Hi, Catherine – Thank you so much for keeping in touch. I appreciate it greatly! Wishing you, Andy, Betsy and Kiera a happy and healthy holiday season!

  8. Thank you, Donna, for the lovely Christmas message, and delightful pictures! Hope you and Rich are building your own Canadian Christmas traditions now, and will enjoy them for many years to come. Merry Christmas to you and Richard, too!

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