• Writing Holiday Cards as Self Care

    Yes, I'm totally serious! Holiday card writing doesn't have to be another chore on your list of joyless tasks to complete this holiday season! You can make card writing a little more meaningful by making it uncomplicated this year. We're all tired of the same photo cards in boring cookie-cutter online templates sent to us from the internet via an uploaded excel file. 

    I love writing out my holiday cards every year. I know I'm in the minority (but I do own a couple little card shops, so it would be weird if I didn't like writing holiday cards, right?) but I think it's a nice way to not only reflect back on the year we've had, but also to think about what big events have happened in the lives of my friends and family.

    Here are some of my tips for making card writing something you'll enjoy instead of something to cross off your list at the last possible minute: 

    1. Make your list. You don't need to send a card to everyone you've ever met, so think about who's on your recipient list and why. It's okay to whittle down the list! Maybe you don't need to send a card to your kid's soccer coach from 4 years ago or maybe you set a happy hour date with a friend you don't see often enough instead of sending a card. About a week before you plan to send your cards, text any friends or family members that might have moved or bought a house, etc, to make sure you have their current address. (People usually respond quickly to these texts, because everyone likes the promise of snail mail!)
    2. Treat yourself to some beautiful cards. "But you own a card shop!" you say. "Of course buying cards is tip number two!". And I hear you, I hear you! But hear me out - not everyone on your list needs to get the same card! You can totally pick up a couple of different boxes (at different price points, if you'd like) and then tier out your list. This way the people on your list that you know will be over the moon to get your handwritten card will get the prettiest, maybe the glittery-est, most special cards. Think Aunt Eloise who doesn't get out much anymore - how special will a really pretty card feel to her? Then maybe your favorite sarcastic roommate from college and your book club friends might get that funny card with the perfect amount of snark, because you know they'll love it. You can (and should!) tailor the cards you send to the recipient! Otherwise, what's the point?
    3. Treat yourself to an uninterrupted 90 minutes to relax and write them out. Again, I can hear you thinking "Sure, but she doesn't have dirty dishes and laundry and a work deadline." Except that I do! But here's the thing - you probably find time to rewatch at least one of your favorite classic holiday movies each year. So my favorite thing to do is combine the two. Late one night, put on your favorite Christmas movie (Elf is a classic, obviously, but A Christmas Story is my personal fave) that you've seen a few dozen times, set yourself up on the coffee table, and get writing. 
    4. Fancy pens and a little washi tape never hurt. If a decorative stamp, a fun colored pen or some holiday washi tape get you excited, by all means treat yourself! Make it enjoyable by picking up something that you'll look forward to using when you write the cards. 
    5. Set the mood. Pour yourself a glass of wine or mug of hot chocolate or whatever else will make you feel in the holiday spirit. Light a scented candle. Really go nuts, is what I'm saying. This is self-care, people!
    6. Figure out what to say. I hear over and over again that this is the hardest part of writing out a traditional holiday card. I'm here to tell you: Do not overthink this!
      If it's someone you don't see often, think of one good thing that happened this year - maybe it's something big (You got married! You bought a house! You took a trip! You didn't lose a single sock to the Bermuda triangle in the dryer!). Let them know 2018 was a good year for you because of this big thing.
      Or if it's someone you see a couple times a year, think of a fun experience you shared - a happy shared memory is a perfect thing to mention. They'll probably enjoy reading about this memory as much as you enjoyed recalling it. 
      Now think of what you think is going on in the recipient's life - is there a new dog or new baby or retirement or something happening for them? Definitely mention it! The holiday card isn't just about you! It's a perfect opportunity to express congratulations or best wishes! Try to steer clear of being a downer (ie, send a separate card for a loss) but spend some time thinking about who you're writing to.
      I'll share a secret - this is what makes writing out cards by hand so nice. Thinking about the year that has passed, and thinking about times you've shared with friends, and thinking about all the people you love. That's the reason we send cards in the first place.
    7. Don't be so hard on yourself if you don't get them out on time. It's just as nice to receive a thoughtful, hard-written card in early (or mid, or late) January as it is during the busy holiday season. Choose a style that's more of a Happy New Year sentiment if you know you'll have more time during that last week of the year! Sending a card a few days later is better than not sending a card at all. 

    And that's it! Treat this little to-do item as something to look forward to, a little self-care, some time to spend with yourself, and I promise you'll find it more enjoyable.