The Christmas Card I Did Not Send

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I apologize friends and family. I did not send a Christmas card this year. I love to receive cards and letters from from friends and family. I even love to read the cards and letters my parents receive. I love to catch up with friends old and new. I appreciate being in touch with friends from along life’s winding path. This year a Christmas card and letter has not happened.

I have not sent Christmas cards for several years. I used to send Christmas cards every year with elaborate letters that recounted the events of the year. Now, I have let my mailing list grow out of date. I have moved so much I am no longer on the mailing list of many of my friends that send cards. To make it worse, I even ordered a box of beautiful personalized cards and did not manage to send them.

There may be a few reasons why I have stopped sending Christmas cards.

I always feel a bit weird not being able to send the quintessential family Christmas card. Children with Santa. Families in front of Christmas trees wearing different combinations of green and red. I could take a picture with my cats, but I am not sure it would have the same appeal. My cats don’t change that much from year to year, making the need for a picture less important.

I am not sure anything that has happened this year rises to the level of being card worthy. The majority of my time is spent at work. I am a Research Associate at the University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center. I started at the Center in April of 2011, so I am approaching my two year anniversary. That seems kind of mundane to talk about. I am truly thankful for my job. I get to do some interesting work on important issues, but I am not sure if I want to toot my work horn. I have an astronomer friend who was on a team of researchers that discovered a new galaxy this year. Now that kicks ass.

The last time I sent a Christmas card was 2007. I made a collage of my trip to New Zealand. At the center of the collage was a picture of me with my arms raised standing on top of a glacier. I have never felt so powerful. Awe does not adequately describe the moment. I wrote about how the blue of the ice met the blue of the sky. That whole year was about pushing boundaries. I started blogging that year. I started working on my book that year. I took three writing classes that year. I hosted my writing group that year. I volunteered at church that year. That was a year of no excuses. Perhaps I don’t send cards now because I am making too many excuses.

If I had sent a card this year, I would have shared a few things. I am definitely grateful for the time I get to spend with my family in Louisville. Having lived so far away for so long, it has been wonderful to be more involved in their lives. You don’t get to experience volleyball games, 5th grade graduations, 8 year-old or 94 year-old birthday parties when you live hundreds of miles away. I turned 41 in October. This year has been quite a bit about searching for the fabulousness that was supposed to have emerged at 40 when I would instantly know myself and have my shit together. In the prophetic words of Robert Earl Keen, “The road goes on forever and the party never ends.” (Are Christmas cards the place for questioning and angst? Aren’t we only supposed to share bumper stickers of our best selves? I wonder.) I had a two week vacation visiting friends on the East Coast. I got to see my friend Kathy in Brooklyn, experiencing the energy of that amazing place for the first time. I got to meet my friend Tahra’s daughter when she was just two weeks old, and play with her toddler son during my time at her Carmel, New York home. I got to visit DC and see friends and visit favorite haunts there. It was a wonderful vacation. I got to spend a November weekend in West Virginia with friends from my DC writing group. We even got to go to a glass studio and make art. I am currently averaging over 200 unique visitors a month on my blog. I am running 4X/week in training for the Flying Pig in April. All is well.

On balance, it has been a good year. I am thankful beyond words for blessings big and small. I am definitely headed into 2013 feeling inspired.  I just replied to a Facebook post asking me to choose one word for next year. I chose the word deciduous. I want to be like a tree that lives tall and strong and sheds the leaves it no longer needs when the season is right. Writing this reflection has made me think about what excuses I will not make in the future. Writing this post has made me think about times when fear has crept in on little cat feet. Maybe next year, I will actually send an old fashioned Christmas card.

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