I just received a card yesterday from a woman who lived below my husband and I when my oldest son was born 22 years ago. Through the exchange of yearly Christmas cards, we have maintained our connection and grown richer as I have shared my life with her and her with me. I have enjoyed hearing about her children's successes and more recently, those of her grandchildren's.
I still exchange cards with friends from high school, roommates from college, co-workers from long ago, and friends from every one of the eight or so states my husband and I have lived in. These cards remind me of the community of people I have in my life, especially when I am new to an area and it is easy to feel disconnected. These cards, arriving at my door, bridge the distance between my friend and I and make me think of the time we once spent together.
So, even though it takes lots of effort to get out the pen and address the cards and to line my kids up to take a Christmas picture, I do it. Not so much because I want to share my news, but more so because I know if I do, I will hear back from my friends about theirs. As our news has changed over the years from sharing the births of our children, to sending them off to college, now it is shifting to our children getting married and having children of their own.
Time passes, but some things never change I hope. In this fast paced era of emails, sending holiday cards allows for a tangible form of connection that is hard to beat. Holding a card in your hand, gazing at a picture of your friend and their family, or just reading their handwritten sentiments, makes me feel special and brightens my day. A simple gift that carries a big punch.