A friend of mine spends Christmas Day writing her cards. For one thing, this spares her from re-mailing cards to people who have moved. Another friend sends his cards in July. That way his card gets more attention and also reminds people of the Savior in the summer. Whether you purchase Christmas cards or create them yourself, Christmas cards can be a way to spread the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, at Christmas time. Although a card with a cute reindeer or a lovely snow scene may be appealing, art and a Scripture verse related to the nativity event keep the focus on Christ. Likewise for stamps. Fortunately religious stamps are still available for Christmas. Do you decorate your envelopes with stickers? Why not use religious ones for this religious feast day? Since we pay almost a half a dollar to send each card, we can get our money’s worth by tucking something inside, such as a small flat gift, or a Christmas prayer or reflection. We might also give the gift of our time and write a note on the card or a duplicated letter with a personal note added. After all, Christmas might be the only time we are in touch with most people. Don’t you appreciate cards more when they include more than a signature? Writing others at Christmas gives more joy to those who receive our cards.
What about the many Christmas cards we receive? Display them for sure: Stand them on shelves or tape them around doorways. Each day your family might take one card and say a prayer for the person or family who sent it. Save photo cards in a special album. Recycle other cards by sending them to an organization that can use them. Here is one: St. Jude’s Ranch for Children Recycled Card Program, 100 St. Jude’s Street Boulder City, NV 89005. The children make new cards from all kinds of greeting cards and sell them to raise money for various programs. Send only fronts of cards that have blank backs. Cards from Hallmark, Disney, and American Greetings can’t be used.
You might recycle cards yourself by using them to make your own cards, gift tags, bookmarks, coasters, place mats, place cards, or jigsaw puzzles. Another option is to cut out pieces from them and use them to decorate gift boxes and scrapbooks.
A bit of history: Christmas cards originated in 1843 in Victorian England. In those days, people were obliged to answer letters. Sir Henry Cole received a daunting stack of letters at Christmas because he had many friends. In addition, postage was only a penny! To solve the problem of answering all of these letters, he hired J.C. Horsley, an artist, to paint a Christmas picture. Cole had this picture printed on stiff paper and sent out a postcards. In 1915, a company that would become Hallmark, realized people wanted more room to write, so the posted cards were replaced by book-like cards. By the way, notice that on both sides of Cole’s original card are scenes of people helping the needy.
What special Christmas card customs do you have?