Here & there: The power of Christmas cards

Background photo by Todd Arena / Hemera / Getty Images Plus; St. George News

OPINION — Tryptophan hangovers and Black Friday deals behind us, Christmas now lies full steam ahead. Four weeks ahead to be exact.

Four weeks of busy streets and crowded stores.  Four weeks of ugly sweater parties and ginger bread house decorating.  Four weeks of tree trimming and neighborhood caroling.  Four weeks of Johnny Mathis, the Carpenters and Bing Crosby. (Not to mention four weeks of that darned “The Christmas Shoes” song.)

And four lovely weeks of Christmas cards.

Christmas cards are one of my very favorite things about this season. When I think of them filling up mailboxes, instead of the bills and mailers that usually dominate, I get a little flutter of joy in my belly.

Cards connect people in a way that Facebook and Instagram just can’t. They are a one-to-one transaction, not a post for all. And cards don’t require any likes or shares. They can simply be appreciated and enjoyed in our own way.

For me, that means in the tub – with a cup of tea.

I love pulling out the cards from their envelopes, thumbing the images of people I love and their offspring and reading about highlights and struggles from their year. I laugh and cry – and I am proud of the accomplishments of their people.

Once I’ve read and adored them, the cards get taped up on a wall adjacent to the mudroom, the main thoroughfare of our home, so every time we go in and out, my family is greeted by the smiling faces of loved ones.

I put the people my children know at their eye level. When my kids were younger, you could always tell which cards they looked at the most because of the grease marks and bent edges.

I don’t just love receiving Christmas cards, but I also love sending them out. It takes time and effort to do them, but that’s kind of the point.

I labor over the right picture to include, the design and what facts to share with our friends. I try to be real and candid, not to show just the best things about our lives but who we really are as people and as a family. That usually means our cards are a little irreverent – just like us.

Last year, half our cards featured a (blurred) image of four naked male bottoms taken moments before my husband and sons skinny dipped in the runoff waters of the Zebra Slot Canyon outside of Escalante. That icy swim was one of the highlights of their year and it captured the streak of wildness that is so indicative of my family of boys.

Read more: Here & there: Wild swimming around the world, good versus bad naked

When I submitted the image to the online card website, with the request for blurred out buns, I thought the designer was going to either laugh out loud or report me.  Apparently, she laughed. As I hope our friends and family did who received the card.

After designing the cards, then comes the addressing, stamping and mailing. I usually spend several nights in front of warm fire doing just that. I think about the relationships I have with each person as I write their names on the outside of the envelope.

It takes time and effort. Sending an email or posting on Facebook would be so much easier. But then, of course, it isn’t the same.

The ironic thing is that when the Victorian socialite Henry Cole first invented the Christmas card in 1843, it was his way of saving time.

Today, however, it’s quite the opposite. I send out Christmas cards to slow things down. I send them to keep the frenzy of the season at bay. I send them to remind myself of all of the good around me.

And when I open my mailbox during this season, it all comes right back, one card at a time.

Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected] | [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • Craig November 27, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Very nice article

  • .... November 27, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Great article very interesting reading don’t see stores doing much in Xmas card sales anymore

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