“What are you doing, Doug?” Stephanie asked.
I was sitting on our living room floor in front of the coffee table watching the NFL games. I had a pen in my hand to keep an eye out for my fantasy football statistics and I was writing out our annual Christmas cards.
“Writing out our Christmas cards.”
“It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, Doug, don’t you think you’re being a little obsessive?”
“I have been writing out my Christmas cards the weekend before Thanksgiving for years.”
“I know and I have always thought it was a little obsessive. I never said anything but we’re married now. Can’t we send out our cards in the middle of December like normal people?”
“But December is one of the busiest times of the year for me at work.”
I was miffed at her insinuation that I was being “obsessive.” I felt like I was being conscientious. I knew I wouldn’t have the time in December to work on our Holiday cards, so I always wrote them out early.
Christmas cards are important to me. With each passing year, there seems to be less time to spend with the people we care about. So I made it a priority to make sure my cards went out early every year. I didn’t want the task to become another chore in the middle of December. But I also didn’t want to forget to mail them. So as Stephanie and I debated whether or not my holiday routine was obsessive, we came to an agreement. I would complete the cards and she would mail them in the middle of December.
A week later the phone calls started. “Has Doug been in an accident?” “Is Doug okay?” “Has he been hurt?” And every day, more and more concerned phone calls were received at our little apartment. My friends and family members thought that something horrible had happened to me because they did not receive their Christmas card the day after Thanksgiving.
Stephanie couldn’t believe that so many people had called her to make sure that I was okay. And with each conversation she had about my “health status,” my beautiful wife learned something about my “obsessive” Christmas card ritual. My Christmas card was the start of the holiday season for every single one of my friends and family members!
It was strange to think that a ritual that had been created as a time saving strategy had actually become a holiday staple for my friends. It was also reassuring to see how many people cared enough to call and check up on me when my card had not arrived at their house on Black Friday. And to be honest, it felt good to be cared for by so many people.
Stephanie finally acquiesced and took the Christmas cards to our local post office and as the days passed, the phone calls subsided. Our card had been delivered and everything was right with the world again. And every year since that first Christmas we spent together back in 1996, our card has been mailed out the day before Thanksgiving.
People hate sending Holiday cards. They complain that there isn’t enough time to get them done with everything else going on in December. It’s a chore that most people wish they could forego and I completely understand the sentiment. Filling out Christmas cards can be a pain in the tuckus. But they mean so much to the people we send them to and they remind our loved ones about how much we truly care about them.
For now, our card is still the first Christmas card that people get during the Holiday season. We don’t want a repeat scare of 1996! But sometime in the future, maybe in fifty or sixty years, our friends and family members are going to walk out to their mailboxes the day after Thanksgiving and find that our card is not there. But until then, we are happy to continue the tradition of welcoming in the holiday season with a small blessing from our family:
Faith, Hope, Love, Family!
May your lives be blessed with peace, love and prosperity for the Holidays and in the New Year!
Happy Holidays! And God Bless!