Updated: Dec 29, 2022
By Rogene "Jeanne" McPherson
Every year one of my favorite traditions is sending Christmas cards to family and friends. Each year I have a few names to delete since my address book doesn’t include a P.O. Box number for heaven. For every good-bye I’ve said, I soon have a new friend, not to replace, but to relish a different relationship. Thus, the number of cards I send remains about the same. What changes is the cost of postage. At sixty cents for each stamp, the postage is far greater than the cost of the card.
Many of my acquaintances send holiday greeting photo cards of their children, grandchildren, and/or pets. I am envious because they have been able to successfully round up their family for a photo. I won’t send a photo of myself. I suppose my wrinkles, age-spots, and sagging body parts would make the receiver feel better about themselves, but for a variety of reasons I still prefer sending a card and a letter.
For more than fifty years, I’ve made an effort to send the best, but I have to admit there are some beautiful cards now printed by companies other than the national brands. My favorites, though, have cut-outs, embossing, or glitter. And, I’ve saved everyone in a notebook. I always hope those receiving my card know I appreciate a continued relationship filled with joyful memories.
Sending a card is a simple gesture, but the letter inside is the real gift. I don’t personalize each letter but I spend a considerable amount of time writing, not just about me and my family, but with a purpose. My intent is to make it a joy to read. And, if I have succeeded in making someone laugh or at least smile, then I count it a gift.
My first book, Meet Me at the Manger, began as a Christmas letter. I wrote a story about a dove visiting the Christ Child with an emphasis on making Christmas a peaceful time of year. The next year I wrote about another animal at the manger, until I realized I was really describing a Fruit of the Spirit like love, kindness, goodness and so forth.
Choosing a theme for my Christmas letter continues even into the decorations I choose. I can’t possibly put out what’s in storage eleven months of the year. Sometimes, it’s angels or poinsettias or snowmen. This year my decorations include an emphasis on Santa Claus with most of the ornaments on the tree featuring the big guy. Of my seven grandchildren, five are under ten. We plan for Santa receiving cookies and Rudolph a paper bag of hay, maybe even a candy cane.
Having this background, I’ll share about my Christmas letter this year. It began, “Dear Santa Claus,” and ends with:
"One last thought, Santa. Please be careful how many cookies you eat this Christmas, unless you have a magical way of making calories disappear. If so, then that’s what I want for Christmas."
I realize this would make more sense if you could read the entire letter, but suffice it to suggest that Santa should forget me as there are so many children needing practical things in their stocking, like an actual pair of stockings and new underwear. My work with the sheriff’s office and charities reveal this need.
My grandchildren will receive less this year and my children will probably see their gifts as white elephants, priceless not in price, but in memories. The laughter will make for better memories, and Santa will have granted my wish to have my immediate family together to celebrate a gift of Christmas. Or should I say, the gift of Christmas.