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.

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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.

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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

1901 Brown Ave

Pueblo, CO 81004

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

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

Bringing Christmas Cards to Life

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Every year we have sent Christmas cards.  When the children were little they drew adorable pictures on the cards.  As they grew older, our farm was growing and we cheekily signed each and every farm animal’s name.  The chickens, cats, goats, dogs, ducks, sheep, alpacas, the whole troupe were displayed on the card along with the kids’ names.  Last year we found ourselves without children at home or farm animals and from our friend’s basement we penned just a few cards and sent them out.  This year we are sending quite a few!

Are Christmas cards important anymore?  We have instant correspondence with friends and family any where in the world.  Social media, texts, or good old fashioned phone calls are all ways to stay in touch.  But Christmas cards are different.  A bit of yourself in the design of the card.  A sweet note inside.  A sign that one took time out of busy schedules to sit and pen a note of love for the season.  That feeling of finding an envelope with card stock in the mailbox, the heavy feel, the glossy stamp, the sound of the envelope opening.  A note of cheer inside.  Yes, Christmas cards are still important.

Now, take care that you don’t just purchase a box of cheap cards and hastily scribble names.  A simple little note, photo, or heart brings that same card to life.  Sad or bragging Christmas letters are out, notes of cheer and personal touches are in.  Just as they were all those years ago when the Christmas card began.  A way to let the homefolks know all was well.

Every year our card list changes.  Turning pages of the address book show a life of friends and family that venture in and out of our days, those that have passed, those we wonder what happened to, new friends that have entered.

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This is what I have learned over the years, send cards to who you want.  Include a photo.  Write a personal note.  Sign your pets’ names if you wish.  Affix a sticker to the front of the envelope.  Use pretty stamps and your best penmanship.  Send a little love and cheer.  It is just one way to make the world a slightly sweeter place.

I’d love to exchange a card with you or even an old fashioned letter.  Mrs. Katie Sanders, P.O. Box 2012, Elizabeth, CO 80107.

Happy Holidays everyone!

The Beauty of Letter Writing

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I am a huge proponent of letter writing.  To see script fine and scribbled across sheets of paper at an angle with words of hope, wisdom, fear, joy, loss, success, and friendship enclosed within its realm from far away is a delight to behold, to retrieve from the mailbox, to read with a cup of tea, to savor and respond.

We were able to get our old post office box back.  It was oddly comforting.  To know we have returned to our place in the world, our community, our town, and are starting over with our old address is strangely affirming.

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I first wrote about pen pals a few years back and still have a strong pen pal from that post (click here to read).  I wrote again last year about customizing Christmas cards (here) and how a few personal words can transform the card into a real gift of the season.  I invited folks to send me a card and I would reciprocate.  Again, I have received beautiful letters and correspondence from around the world and some of my favorite friends I have not met in person but behind script.

So, I again write you looking for pen pals and Christmas cards and I will be ever so happy to write back.  Here is my new/old address.

Mrs. Katie Sanders

P.O. Box 2012

Elizabeth, CO 80107

 

Memorizing Moments and Merry Christmas

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The night is surprisingly cold and calm. The snowstorm has passed and the late sky is crisp and stars are just twinkling through.  The prairie is beautifully dark.  Exhilaratingly so.  I am walking the path east into the swell of ebony towards the mailboxes.  The path is faintly lit with the bluish street light behind the farmhouse.  Christmas lights dance in the frosted windows.  In the distance a thick darkness lay and I can just make out the happy dog prancing in front of me, her sleek black coat blending into the void.  Wood smoke flows through the air from the stove pipe promising a warm kitchen upon my return.  Behind us, in the distance, dark mountains fold into the night as city lights glitter.  The wind chills us and makes us shiver as we quicken our walk and say goodnight to the day on this ordinarily beautiful winter eve.

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I recorded this after my walk last night.  We are caring for the neighbor’s dog, Serina, and we were walking to the mailboxes to retrieve Christmas cards and such.  An ordinary moment, walking a dog in the dark, getting the mail, inhaling the crisp night air; I want to live these photographic moments more vividly in the coming year starting with Christmas.

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This year was difficult it seems for everyone, a lot of good souls called home, and financial worries.  I want to think more on moments.  Make each day count.  I want to take a mental photograph of ordinary moments.  This Christmas, won’t you look around and memorize the sounds; the laughter, the pots clinking, the paper being opened.  The smells of fresh coffee and Grandpa’s cologne.  Memorize people’s faces.  For there are no guarantees that any one person of any age will be with us come next holiday.  Love, hug, smile, relax, memorize, and mentally photograph each moment.

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Thank you for reading my life this year and for your sweet cards, notes, emails, uplifting words in person, and for supporting me in my writing and in our homesteading adventures.

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From my family to yours, Merry, Merry Christmas!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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