Posted in Holidays

The Christmas Card

Opening the mailbox and pulling out a pretty envelope brings a childlike feeling of wonder to the season. I do love Christmas cards. In the era of social media, when we all know most of what is going on in each other’s life already, a card seems moot. Less and less folks send Christmas cards each year. It seems to be a dying art, much like letter writing, or visits in person. I enjoy seeing actual handwriting. Hand written notes that perhaps didn’t make it on social media. Not phony, bragging Christmas letters; just a nice old fashioned note from people we care about. A card is a hug sent through the mail.

Cards decorate walls for the holiday and next year the fronts can be torn off and used as gift tags on gifts.

The point is not necessarily to get a card in return, but to send, by means of a simple, lovely card, a silent memento that speaks of your care for the person. And that is something we need much more of in the world.

In the writing world, it is how we make more friends. If you would like to send me a card, I would be thrilled to send you one in return. And who knows, it may end up being a lifetime of letter writing and friendship.

Mrs. Katie Sanders, 790 9th St, Penrose, CO 81240

Posted in So You Want to Be a Homesteader Series

Homemade Gifts, Cards, and Letter Writing (Homesteading #23)

Homesteading is about living on less so that you can work less, do what you love more, and attain financial security.  Homesteading is about doing more yourself because the pride that comes from the work of your own hands is unprecedented and you can control your own environment.  What you put on your skin, in your body, how you treat the soil, it all matters.


Homesteading brings with it a peace of mind that we have mostly lost in our fast paced, make money, do everything lifestyles.  Our ancestors worked hard but they also did methodical, slow work where one can get their mind right.  Slowly stirring curds to make cheese, hanging clothes on the line in the fresh air, planting seeds that will feed the family through winter in jars on root cellar shelves.  Doug chops wood when he is upset with me.  There was one winter that we had a lot of wood!

Another beautiful aspect of homesteading is homemade gifts and cards.  Really, the mass marketed, big box store, kids in China made crap has got to stop.  No one wants a skirt that will fray in a month, or appliances they will never use, or heaven forbid, tchotchkes.  We have to dust enough!


A bar of goat’s milk soap, a jar of preserves, chokecherry gin, pickles, or chutney.  Hand written recipes, a wheel of cheese, a plant for the garden, or saved seeds with a story.  Or something really special like a quilt, or something woven.  A hand poured candle, or a keep sake box.  Jacob, my daughter’s boyfriend, welded together parts to make a snowman for me for Christmas.  I love it.


Hand painted cards are a lovely surprise, or have a child draw out the card.  Write personal notes.  Don’t depend on the card company’s catchy phrases.

Make a phone call.  Write a letter.  Send a card just because.


I am anxious this fall to get out the sewing machine and the crochet hook and start creating skirts, shawls, and quilts.  To set up my paints and be ready to paint a canvas or use watercolors to create cards to send to my pen pals.

These things come from the heart.  And heart is the very soul of homesteading,

Would you like to be my pen pal?  There is nothing like opening the mailbox to find a letter, neatly addressed and stamped.  I love to put it in my apron pocket and then sit with a cup of tea and savor both.

Mrs. Katie Sanders, 1901 Brown Ave, Pueblo, CO 81004

Here are a few more ideas:

Simple Gifts and Spiral Notebooks

Painted Letters

Posted in Holidays

The Magic of a Yuletide Card

Thanksgiving eve.  There is always so much to be thankful for.  Health, family, security, home, and an inspired life.  These things I think of and am thankful for each day of the year.  As a vegetarian and a history lover, Thanksgiving isn’t really my favorite holiday.  And this year my children will be other places.  So, I have put up my Christmas houses and am clearing a place for the tree.  Yes, Yule is my very favorite holiday of the year.  The lights, the charity, the music, the wrappings, the trimmings, the beauty and joy that surrounds Yuletide is intoxicating for me.

My grandparents with their great, great granddaughters. So much to be thankful for.

Now, I feel like we are all old friends here.  Just like you are over for coffee this pretty morning and I am telling you about how I, on a whim, just registered for a full load of classes to pursue a teaching degree (yes, I did that the other night) or am showing you photographs of my new granddaughter.  Over the years we’ve have had some laughs, we’ve had some tears, we’ve had some wine.  But I like the tangible as well.  I would love to be on your Christmas card list this year and I will add you to mine.  Let us pen old fashioned wishes and hopes for the new year.  I love hearing from readers and responding.  It makes us friends out there in this big, small world.


Christmas cards may seem old fashioned, but they are a link and a wish to family and friends, old and new, and a moment of your time and love.  There is no greater gift than that.  Christmas cards have led to a few really fabulous pen pals for me.  I enjoy so much that moment of peeking in the mailbox and finding a card or letter.  Placing the envelope in my apron pocket as I make a cup of tea.  Sitting down to savor every word.  To be there.  To listen.  To read.  To pull out a few pieces of beautiful stationary and respond.  Yes, it is one of my favorite things.  Send me a card and I will send you one as well filled with good wishes and cheer, from my cozy home to yours.

Mrs. Katie Sanders

(new address updated 12/20)

790 9th st, Penrose, CO 81240

Wishing you a joyous Thanksgiving and a happy beginning to your Yuletide festivities.

Posted in Holidays

The Power of Letters and Holiday Cards

letterOpening the mailbox, I peek inside, hoping for the seasonal item that I adore, a holiday card.  This time of year as we skip to the mailbox there are more than just bills and advertisements, there are notes and photos and messages of love and good tidings.  Someone took a moment out of their busy day to scribble your address and send you a message of love for the season.  That is indeed special.

Each year I give you my postal address.  I invite you to send me a card and I shall do the same to you.  Such a beautiful tradition, Christmas cards.  Some of these cards have turned into pen pals that I have had and adored for years.  It makes it fun to go to the mailbox all year round if a hand scribed letter should be delivered.  If you would like to exchange letters, please include one!

A letter in someone’s stocking or sent via post simply stating all of the things you love and honor them for can bring an unexpected twist to someone’s day, or life.  We do not hear enough the things that are positive.  Consider in your gift giving taking the time to write someone a letter.  It would surely mean more than any tchotchke that you could come across. letter

In the age of quick messages via media, a hand written letter, note, or Yuletide card is indeed fine.  The carrier walked away with a large stack of mine.  I hope to hear from you!

Mrs. Katie Sanders

1901 Brown Ave

Pueblo, CO 81004

Posted in Holidays

The Art of the Christmas Card (starting early to make it special)

It is two and a half weeks until Thanksgiving, what on earth am I doing writing about Christmas cards? you might ask.  There is an art to Christmas cards and one that takes time.  I am writing in defense of the good, old fashioned Christmas card and the proper how-to of a meaningful missive.  And so, two and a half weeks before I will be cooking my first turkey I bought Christmas cards.

card 1

Christmas cards began in the mid 1800’s as a way to get more folks to use the new postal service in Europe.  It did catch on but for the most part, in the Americas and in Europe, the cards were too expensive for common people to send.  In the early part of the 1900’s home made cards started to become popular and were typically given directly to the recipient.  I have several post cards that I have collected from the 1800’s and early 1900’s that wish family a Merry Christmas.  I think Christmas cards in this day and age are more important than ever.

Sure, we message, text, call, or see people on social media every day.  We can keep in touch with family across the globe, send pictures, see funny quotes, and not miss a moment.  However, there is a sort of veil over all of that type of communication.  A falsity or feeling of disconnect.  There is nothing like opening a beautifully etched card, colorful and festive, and to find special words intended only for you in a script that cannot be duplicated on computers and machines.  A photograph, a wish, a blessing.

card 2

The problem with today’s Christmas cards is that folks have become so dreadfully busy so a scribbled signature beneath printed words is all one might receive from the mailbox.  This card carries little soul but the script of the sender.  A mindful card to send will add joy and meaningfulness back to the holiday at hand.

Step 1- Choose a card that appeals to you.

I get bored easily so I get two boxes of many types of cards.  I love western art so I opt for the Leaning Tree cards.  There are artsy cards out there, animal cards, funny cards, gold foiled, glittered, or home made…don’t just get what’s on sale, find your signature card.  And do it earlier than later because cards do not get restocked.  If you find it and love it, get it.

Step 2- Make a list. 

Every year I write down who I received a card from to make sure I don’t miss anyone.  I send a lot of cards and every year I end up adding ten or so more names to the list of recipients.  It matters not if you receive a card in return.  Send a card to those that have a place in your heart, your life, or have been meaningful to you in the past year.  It is easy to fall into the, “Oh I have to send a card to so and so…”  No you don’t.  This is not supposed to be a chore.  Send to those you want to.

card 3

Step 3- Make sure you have all of your addresses current. 

Send inconspicuous texts or calls to find out up to date information before it is time to address envelopes.

(Do you see now why we start so early?) 

Step 4- Decide what you want to slip inside. 

Do you want to send photographs?  A poem?  A Christmas letter?  Start designing that now.  I like to send photos of the children but they are all grown now and we don’t have school pictures.  I pull together my favorite photos of them over the year and their significant other, one photo of each family unit, a fun one of our granddaughter, one of us, maybe a fun farm one….until Doug tells me that is enough!  He can only fit so many photos on one 3×5 photo card.  He is quite brilliant on the computer (that makes one of us) and enjoys putting these holiday photo cards together.  I make sure the cards I picked are big enough to accommodate.

If you are going to send a Christmas letter make sure it is an entertaining missive.  I have received ones that bragged incessantly about all of their year’s charity work and children (no one really wants to hear straight bragging), some humorous and tongue in cheek (talking about how their goldfish were doing!), some that highlight various family members.  Make sure it has a photo and some humor or interest to it.  Those close to you already know what has been going on.  My great-aunt’s Christmas letter serves to educate the rest of the family on various cousins’ happenings and we always look and see if we made the letter!


Step 5- Address the envelopes.

This is the most tedious of tasks to me.  I like to do it early and take my time.  Addressing one or two here and there.  Purchase holiday stamps and stickers to affix to the front flap of the card.  This assures it won’t open during shipment and adds a special touch to an ordinary envelope.  Plus, who doesn’t miss using stickers?

Step 6- Fill out card.

Turn on Christmas music, drink eggnog…maybe a little brandy in it, don’t think you have to do it all at once.  This is typically my last step and is done right after the Christmas tree is set up.  I like to get my cards out early.  I can’t wait to send them.  Each card should have a personal message written in it to the recipient.  Do not just quickly sign your name and send it off.  That took no heart at all.  And these are essentially small gifts.  Over the years we had the children sign their own names and draw a small picture.  Folks loved receiving these and each year the children’s handwriting changed and the pictures got better and then the kids moved out so we sign their name for them now.  I miss those little pictures they drew.  We have also always signed the names of our animals.  It started with cats and a few dogs and people thought it humorous and mentioned how they loved that Snuggles was still around or that we got two new kittens, or just thought it was quirky (if not weird) that all the animals signed the card.  When we started a farm I didn’t do it one year.  People feared that all of our animals were dead.  It might be silly, but it is one thing that distinguishes our card from others.  Not every day does one receive a card from twenty four chickens and three goats.  Make your card your own.  The idea, after all, of a Christmas card is to make someone smile while opening your card to them.  That you took the time to write them.  That you thought of them at this blessed season.


Step 7- Complete card.

Insert whatever you are sending into card.  Make sure recipient matches envelope.  Place card in envelope.  Seal.  Put sticker on.  Make sure you have it stamped and properly addressed.  Mail.  Enjoy cards that were given to you.  Remember, someone took time from their busy schedule to send you a card.  You were thought of, are missed, are cared for.

Now, I need to find a turkey recipe.

I would love to hear from you!  If you would like to send us a card for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I would be ever so thrilled and I will send one back!

Mr. and Mrs. Doug Sanders

P.O. Box 2012

Elizabeth, Colorado 80107