|Artist credit:Amy Payne of minted.marketplace.com|
It's Sunita here.
Once the Thanksgiving leftovers are all eaten and the turkey platter has been put back in the china closet, I look forward to receiving my friend Tracey's holiday card. She is always the first to mail her cards and opening her envelope and seeing her beautiful girls picture officially starts the season for me.
I don't know about you, but years ago, I used to get very stressed around November. Either my cards had not been ordered or bought, or my mailing list was outdated, or my time was stretched in a million different directions by then. Whatever the reason, I would feel very overwhelmed by this 'task'. It would cause heart palpitations and frankly some resentment at 'having' to send out Christmas cards.
Until I changed how I was approaching my life.
I decided to be truthful about my feelings.
And that included my feelings about those that were on my list. That released the obligation part of the process and allowed me to focus on the 'why' of sending out our family's greetings at this wonderful time of the year.
I looked carefully at our list and recognized names of friends and family that had not only never reciprocated with a card, but had never even acknowledged receiving our holiday card and note. Nor had they contacted us any other time during the year to catch up and make an effort to include us in their life.
They were crossed off the list.
Next were those that I knew were on the list only because they sent us a card or had been on the list for years. Kind of like being grandfathered in. I felt it was disingenuous of me to do the same, when I did not necessarily feel like making the effort to mail them a card. I realized the insincerity of me doing that. I must admit that crossing them off took a lot more courage than I thought it would. I felt 'not nice'. But after some honest conversation with myself I realized that that feeling was in response to my perceived expectations of others.
So I crossed out those names from my list.
After this editing process, I consciously decided how I wanted to be guided in this tradition of ours. I wanted to feel happy inside and smile every time I addressed an envelope. I wanted to be able to visualize the faces of those whose names I was writing on the cards and feel a desire to enclose a warm hug or a genuinely interested 'how are you guys doing' along with our greeting. I wanted this tradition to be a reflection of a conscious and authentic choice that I was making to connect with the people that are a significant part of our life.
I wanted to find joy in this ritual of connecting with those that add meaning to our life and use it as an opportunity to express that sentiment to them.
I must say that the list gets edited every year because life is dynamic and that is reflected in the edits. I still use the yardsticks mentioned above to keep my list manageable but it's sad for me to cross off names because people have passed on. When that raw emotion hits me, I take that moment to sit and think about them and reflect on how they enriched my life. I also make sure that we add names to the list of those that have joined our life in beautiful ways that year.
And then I move on to the next name...
So you see how sending out our Holiday Card become a beautiful opportunity for me (the person who writes the cards and mails them) and us as a family (we design our cards and work on the list together) to enjoy and cherish our relationships. The celebration of our loved ones through this communication connects us to them.
And that makes it an act of Self Love Self Care First.
We haven't got the list down to a science because that would be impossible. It is a work in progress. Just like we are. And just like our relationships are.
If someone is not on our Holiday List that does not mean that they are not important to us. It's just that we had to scale things down to the point where we could eliminate the stress and instead enjoy the process and add meaning to it.
That made all the difference.
So here's to a magical hot cocoa or hot toddy evening of writing cards, while you listen to your favorite music and visit your list,
Be well Do well Live well,
What Amy Payne says about herself
I am a loving wife and mother of four cute kids. I am a lifetime resident of Pacific Northwest. Before falling in love with stationery design, I studied and worked as a food scientist making ice cream and yogurt favors! My designs are typically inspired by my beautiful surroundings in Washington. I love cool greens, blues, and grays and always gravitate towards simplicity.
I hope you will take a moment to visit Amy's page
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