If your marriage is like mine, you find yourself falling into different roles, dividing all of life’s duties. In my marriage I rarely get the mail. When Jonathan leaves town he has to remind me so it doesn’t overflow in the mailbox. I don’t like sorting through the junk mail and the bills. My financial planner husband is better suited for those decisions so he saves me from the annoyance. On the rare occasions when a real letter arrives, Jonathan sets it aside on the kitchen table unopened until I can come home and find it. Even if it is addressed to both of us, he saves it knowing I find pure joy in a handwritten card.
Between email and Instagram we have such ease in dropping each other quick notes. Websites allow us to upload a family photo with the perfect lighting filter. We can make a digital Christmas card that the company can mail for us using our electronic address books. Life is full and the ease of this is sometimes necessary. Those cards still hold great joy and I won’t deny how much I love to see those special pictures arrive in the mail. While I am thankful for technology, something about this year has reminded me just how much I miss handwritten cards.
When I’ve had a difficult day or season, one of my strategies to rebalance and find perspective is to think of someone who deserves some encouragement and write them a note. This practice never fails to bring me joy. When a class full of students are misbehaving, there is always one who deserves a shout out. When one colleague is hurtful, there are a handful around the corner who are truly crushing it and would love a note cheering them on. When life gets me down, I am always cheered up when I write someone a nice note.
This year I am transferring this strategy to Christmas. I just couldn’t bring myself to print a photo card this year. I’ve been shopping local more often because I believe those businesses have been hit hardest by the Pandemic. I also trust that shopping amongst my neighbors and friends means I’m among a smaller population and will hopefully spread less germs. Etsy is also a perfect place to support a small business while still ordering from the comfort of home. In my favorite local spots I’m finding charming cards that celebrate our Gurney love of nature and leave ample space for me to slow down and write direct messages to those I love.
I want to do this because I believe people need a real note directly from my heart. Selfishly I’m also doing it for me. I want to slow down, sit with a cup of tea and write personally to my loved ones while my favorite Christmas movies play. This is one of the small ways I’m stealing back some joy during the holiday season.
Like many of you, I am learning to love the slower pace of a pandemic. While work demands far more of me, I can also see the things in life that just aren’t important anymore. I am finding time for more peaceful, soulful living. Maybe these handwritten Christmas cards will be a turning point for Christmases to come. Maybe this year will teach me to ignore outward demands and pay more attention to what’s most important.
Wishing you a holiday filled with joy and time to honor the ones you love.
Peace to you,
I will keep posting about life as an educator, books, and healthy recipes for autoimmune folks like me. Follow me on Instagram @GreenGurneys or like our Green Gurneys Facebook page for more education thoughts and good book recommendations.
Here you can read about my favorite Christmas stocking stuffers. I like to fill my family up with clean cosmetics, cold and flu remedies, and sweet treats with real ingredients.