…or my way. Or a different way. Call it whatever you want, really. Every year I get cards from friends and family and they make me all fuzzy inside at the thought that they took the time to buy the card and write me a nice wish on it and then go to the post office to mail it. I’m sure many of you feel the same when you see the envelope in your mail pile. It almost has a glitter around it (especially if your pile of mail is composed mostly of bills). If you are like me, you put it in a nice place dedicated to cards, where it stays the whole Christmas, somewhere near a window so you can see it from all angles and the neighbors will know you have friends! Also, if you are like me you put them in a box after the holidays are over, because you are thinking when you reach 80 you will hold your grandchildren on your tired knee and show them your lovely card collection. (Quick confession: I only keep the really nice ones). But year after year I realize nobody in their right mind has such a box. I also realize that in the eventuality in which I will reach 80 I will have much better things to show and talk to my grandchildren than Christmas cards (because if that’s the case I’ve obviously lived a very sad life). Most of the people throw these cards. From the bin- to the garbage truck- to the nice fire- ending up as ashes. It’s the cruel reality, I’m afraid. So what do you do if you want to do something special and unique that doesn’t end up in the pretty flames? Something that makes the person remember the gesture? That has that…je ne sais quoi? Here are my suggestions:
1. What I do. A couple of years ago, a friend on my Facebook did this and I thought it was brilliant. Instead of buying and sending cards, donate the money you would spend on that to a charity. Me and my boyfriend decided to follow her example and this year is the second time we are doing this instead of sending cards. We have many friends abroad and our Christmas cards money is not at all a negligible sum because of the postage fees. Instead of wasting it on cards that will, I’m sure, end up in the bin, we decided to go to the SOS-Barnbyran (a Swedish charity that tries to help children in need from all over the world) and buy one of their many packages (ranges from school utensils, medicine, clothes, depending what the need in that specific country is) that would do a world of good to someone. We let our friends and family know that this is the reason why they were not going to get a card from us that year and that, in a way, they contributed to it too (since it was money that we would have used for their cards). There is no point in explaining how these money can save lives and how the fuzzy feeling I was talking about earlier fades in comparison to that. This year we have decided to donate to the pancreatic cancer research foundation http://www.lustgarten.org/
If I got you curious about the packages one can buy for children in need, they are to be found here, and to be understood if you happen to know Swedish: http://www.sos-barnbyar.se/stod-oss/
2. More than a card. Candlestick Press prints these wonderful pamphlets called The Twelve Poems of Christmas (now at volume five). They are very elegant and come with an envelope and a very discrete card where you can write your wishes. Not only they contain a great selection of poetry but part of the money go to a charity ( it differs every year; the latest one goes to The Samaritans). You can bet that the receiver of this very special pamphlet will not throw it (unless, you know, they really hate poetry). Candlestick Press has a range of such pamphlets for many occasions that would normally call for a card. You can find more about them and see the complete titles list here: http://www.candlestickpress.co.uk/pamphlet/the-twelve-poems-of-christmas-volume-five/
3. Make your own. With love, dedication, and lots of patience. I lack the latter and the time to do it. My mother, however, decided to make her own cards, which were rather successful against all odds. If you are feeling creative there are many lovely guides on the internet that can help you find inspiration or guide you step by step. If you are feeling extra creative why not write a small verse especially for the person who you are sending it to, or draw them something nice on the card if you so inclined. What can you do best? What does the person likes best? Do you have a common hobby? Tactics!
On a side note, I think today is the day when many people officially enter vacation and I hope you will have great holidays. Try and take it easy (or party like an animal if that’s your thing), enjoy the presents and the yummy food, and make some really good New Year resolutions that you know you will break. I will try to check everything on that list while studying for incoming exams, so wish me luck!
Merry Christmas everyone!