Every year, I always write handwritten holiday cards to my loved ones.
No matter how busy I am, I make sure to prioritize this one thing during the holiday season above all. I know, I know, the holidays are so hectic and it feels like you're always crunched for time.
So why do I go through such effort?
Think about how nice it is to open your mailbox to get a handwritten note via snail mail these days. Nowadays, in the time of infinite texts, snapchats, and other fleeting technological communication, those things feel more disposable. A handwritten card is much more personal, thoughtful, and you physically have something pretty to keep on your desk to perk up your day.
I can't take credit for this practice though. My mom drilled me on writing birthday cards, thank you notes, and basically any type of occasion that you might write a card for, she made me write one. And these were not allowed to be short and generic cards-- they had to be personal and lines longer than Hallmark writes in for you on the card.
I used to roll my eyes and grumble, saying that the person who I was writing the card for already knew I was thankful or that obviously I wish them well, so why did I have to write longer cards until my hand cramped?
But then as I grew up, I realized how meaningful this very simple act can be and how much I cherished being on the receiving end of it. There's a little box in my closet where I still keep all of my favorite cards I've received, from all the way back 12+ years. It's the only thing I hoard! So now I make a concerted effort to pass that love along.
What it really boils down to though, is that while we should be appreciating our loved ones every day of the year, we usually don't expressly say it nearly often enough. So the holidays give us the perfect opportunity to let your loved ones know just how much they mean to you, and all the reasons why.
Whether it be that a friend helped you through an especially hard time in your life, a parent that deserves special love and recognition, a person who maybe doesn't realize how much they've inspired you, a friend that perhaps doesn't know just how much they mean to you--
NOW is the time to put a pen to paper, and share it with them.
If you're one of those people that says, "oh I'm such a terrible card-writer" or "I just never know what to really say" or "that's Hallmark's job...."
Well, I frankly disagree with you, and I don't believe anyone is incapable of writing a wonderfully touching card. Trust me, it'll especially mean a lot coming from those who normally aren't so expressive with their love through words!
To help you out, I'm sharing the general thought process I go through when writing a card for someone, to make sure I'm getting the message across. You can almost think of it like a sandwich.
1. First layer of bread: GREETING
For a holiday card, obviously addressing who the person is and wishing them a happy holiday that they're celebrating, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.
2. The meat: THE WHY, HOW, WHAT, AND WHY AGAIN
Why are you writing this card for this person specifically?
How has this person impacted your life this year?
What do you appreciate about this person and your relationship with them?
Why do you admire and love their presence in your life?
Seriously though, just ask yourself these very simple questions, reflect, and I promise answers will automatically flow. Don't stress, it's not a novel! Even one sentence for each of those is plenty wonderful.
3. The top layer of bread: CLOSING
What do you wish for them in this new year around the corner? Wishing them well, and sign off with some expression of love or care, and your name.