J and I decided a few months ago to skip Christmas cards this year. Every year, we make about 50 copies of our favorite picture from the year, and send it out to our friends and family with the ‘what we’ve been up to’ letter, and usually handmade cards. All told, it probably costs about $100, and quite a few hours of my time. We felt pretty happy about our decision to give the whole thing up. We’d pretty much gotten rid of all Christmas stress over the last few years already. We don’t do presents for each other, and we only exchange gifts with a very small number of people – you can count our list on one hand. We’re not religious, we don’t have kids yet, and there’s very little we have to do at Christmas other than enjoy other peoples’ lights.
So we decided to just send everyone an e-mail at Christmas and be done with it. J was on the phone with his mother last week, and she commented that we must have gotten some good Christmas-card-worthy pictures while we were in Hawaii. J told her that we had decided not to do Christmas cards this year, and that we’d just send her an e-mail link to our online picture account. He told me about the call later, and all of a sudden I pictured his mother – someone I really care about – in her motorhome with Christmas card pictures of all her family and friends stuck all around the top of the walls. She puts them up every December and leaves them there until the following December, when she gets new ones. It’s how she takes the people she loves with her on her travels. Her three children always get the center spot on the RV wall.
And then I thought of all the family we have who proudly display Christmas card photos of their loved ones on a door or mantle throughout the holiday season. And I decided to quit being such a cheap scrooge. I am scrapping the letter and homemade card idea this year, but we picked out our favorite picture from Hawaii and ordered it as a ready-to-send card. I think J’s mother was a bit bummed when he told her our grinch idea, and I think she’ll be thrilled to get our card next month. Could we have just e-mailed everyone and saved some money? Absolutely, especially since e-mail is free. But sometimes it’s ok to spend money. And I have to admit, my no-frills-Christmas self had a blast picking out the card background for our picture.