Embracing my love-hate relationship with Christmas cards

I love Christmas cards.  I love the thoughtfulness.  I love the deliberateness.  I love the creativity.

I hate Christmas cards.  I hate the pressure.  I hate the expectation.  I hate the reminder that so many people I know, even those much busier or more overwhelmed than I, find the time to send a meaningful card. 

I received a Christmas card from my husband’s grandmother who has been in the hospital the entire of month of December.  If that’s not humbling, I don’t know what is.

The truth is I want to be a Christmas card sender.  I really do.  I have done it twice.  The first time was 2009- the year I got married.  Our wedding was in July, and by the end of November, I still hadn’t sent thank you notes yet.  (For the same reasons that I struggle to send Christmas cards obviously.)  At that point, I had three choices: 1) Send regular thank you notes at the same time others are sending Christmas cards, 2) send a Christmas card that can double as a thank you note, or 3) climb into a hole to further avoid the pressure of both and slowly alienate myself from all meaningful relationships. So I sent Christmas thank you cards. (A serious etiquette violation, I am sure.)

Fast-forward to 2012.  My family underwent significant changes, culminating in the adoption of our son.  Our year had been so rich and full of blessings, and we received so much support and encouragement during that time from our family and friends.  It only seemed right to send Christmas cards.  I wanted to.  I had a second motive for that card, too.  (You notice a theme here?  I really like to “kill two birds with one stone” if I can).  Although my husband and I tried to be open about our process of becoming parents, we hadn’t had the opportunity to really share our story with a lot of people in our extended support networks.  I was concerned that some of our older relatives without Facebook might see our Christmas card and be extremely perplexed at the sudden presence of an adorable 4-year-old boy.  I also felt ready to share more of the story, and this seemed like the perfect time and venue.  I included an insert in the Christmas cards about our journey toward parenthood that culminated in the finalization of Josh’s adoption on December 12.  It was a year worth celebrating.  It was most certainly Christmas card-worthy.

I thought this would be the start of the new me.  The Christmas card-sending version of Karin.  I knew it would take energy and time, but it felt worth it.  So as the holiday season approached again, the plan was in motion.  We had scheduled to take family pictures with a photographer friend of mine, Linda Bainter, on December 12th-the first anniversary of our adoption finalization.  It was a beautiful day filled with love and cute poses.  I couldn’t wait to put the pictures on our Christmas card.  I knew I would be cutting it close since we decided to wait until our adoption day to do the photo shoot, but I felt ready for it.  I was embracing my identity as a Christmas card sender.

Well, here I am.  2014 has begun, and no Christmas card.  We just completed a whirlwind 12-day extended family and friends holiday tour, and now I am sitting down on my couch, heavy with the realization that I didn’t do it and contemplating how late one can send out Happy New Year cards.

Since the start of a new year is a good time to make changes, I thought about making it my New Year’s Resolution: Become someone who sends Christmas cards.  In fact, let’s throw in birthday cards and thank you cards, too.  But as  I thought more about it, I realized I had already told myself that before and it didn’t seem to work.  I realized I was missing something in this resolution.  I needed to dig deeper.  So instead, I decided I want 2014 to be the year of thoughtfulness.  Maybe that means thanking someone (in writing) for a sweet gift.  Maybe it means sending more letters (by hand) to dear friends who are far away.  Maybe it means calling someone instead of texting to say hi.  Hopefully, it means sending Christmas cards next year.  Not because I have to or feel obligated to, but because I want to be someone who can slow down and be thoughtful enough to remember and honor people in my life.  I truly do want to Wish them a Merry Christmas and send Love, Joy and Peace and say Happy Holidays.  I also enjoy the opportunity to celebrate my own family and invite others to celebrate with us.

It’s the start of a new year, and I want to start this year off on the right foot.  I resolve to be more thoughtful and deliberate this year.  I resolve to value relationships over expectations and performance.  And I resolve to continue to use this blog as a way to share my heart and connect with others.  Thank you for all the support and encouragement you have given me through this vessel.  It means more than I could say.  Whether you are family, a friend or an internet stranger, you are blessing to me.

So to all of you who take the time to read my posts, here is my Christmas card.

I hope you had a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and I wish you love, joy and peace in 2014.  I pray that each one of us will continue to grow more fully into the person we were meant to be this year and every year of our lives. God bless.

Fields Family Web Sz-5592 Fields Family Web Sz-5904 Fields Family Web Sz-5947  Fields Family Web Sz-5316Fields Family Web Sz-5518 Fields Family Web Sz-5299

A very special thanks to Linda Bainter at Lovin’ the Light for capturing the spirit of our adoption day.  My son keeps asking when we can play with you again. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Embracing my love-hate relationship with Christmas cards

  1. Tracey Konopka

    Karin,
    I loved your blog. I too didn’t send out Christmas cards this year. Partly because we were so busy and partly because I get overwhelmed by the amount of family we have and I don’t like it feeling like an obligation or a race to get it done. I want it to come from my heart. I considered Happy New Year’s card, but here it is the 2nd and i haven’t done it. I am enjoying getting to know you and your family through your blogs. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love the pictures and especially the one where you and Dave are looking down at Josh. That one is priceless. Happy New Year to you. May your year be filled with an abundance of blessings.
    Tracey

    Reply
  2. Mar

    I’m sorry for calling you out for not sending me a Christmas card! Had I known you were so conflicted about it, I never would have mentioned the Fields Family missing from my 2013 collection. 😉 Also, I wouldn’t sweat the card thing too much. Everyone has different ways of showing thoughtfulness, and while it’s great to make it a focus of 2014, you are already unbelievably thoughtful. I love you and that family of yours! 🙂

    PS. I know this sounds like Mom, but I would like a copy of the one with you two looking at Josh. He looks so angelic and sweet staring up at the camera. I would also like the one of you hugging Josh. (Or…just send me the digital versions, and I’ll make my own.)

    Reply
  3. JC

    How do you continually pick the issues that plague us all. I too will make a resolution to be more thoughtful with cards and greetings, but I’m notorious for breaking my resolutions, but am I am presently (in the here and now) thinking about being better! Please continue to help me think about the things I need to work on, and please continue to blog!!! Love YA!!!

    Reply

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