To the sender

Soldiers enjoy Christmas Cards from school children in Norman, Oklahoma, 2012. CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Soldiers enjoy Christmas CardsΒ sent by school children in Norman, Oklahoma, 2012.
CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“While we tend to focus on the benefits of cards and letters to those who receive them, possibly the greatest benefit is to the sender…As I address and sign cards, I take a few moments to remember people who have played some role in my life, major or minor. I call to mind memories of places and events that I might not otherwise ponder. As I do so, I smile, laugh, or maybe cry….Ultimately, even if my recipient never reciprocates, or tosses my card and letter in the trash with nary a glance, the act of writing and sending it helped make me more human.”Cheryl Magness

There are probably as many good reasons NOT to send holiday cards as there are to send them. I get that. Still, some of us were born to correspond in writing, and most of that admittedly small (and getting smaller) group tends to prefer paper and ink. If you are among those who do, I’ll be happy to send you a card in the postal mail! Just send your address to me at (and I promise not to use it for anything else, or sell it or distribute it or do anything tacky like that).

But if you are the type who wants to go digital with everything, here is an online card for you.

And if you are the type who doesn’t like ANY sort of cards, bless your heart (as we say in the South). I send you good wishes anyway, which you may delete, return unopened, or throw away. As Magness says, the greatest benefit is to the sender, so it’s a joy no matter what. Happy holidays, or if you don’t celebrate this season, have a great (generic) day!


  1. Amy

    I love mail. I get a whole lot less these days because people email or text or call but I still love to get it. I did take a look at the lovely JL card too. I love their stuff. Hoping you finally get a free moment to send a note to those you love and that it brings many warm memories to you. I love you. Merry Christmas.

    • Amy, do you remember that you are the one who introduced me to Jacquie Lawson, many years ago when you lived an ocean away? Since that first card of hers that you sent me, I have been a fan of hers — and your fan for years before that!! ❀

      • Amy

        Yes I did remember how much you loved her and asked about the web site. Such beautiful cards and so easy to do. Maybe you’ll get one this year. πŸ™‚ Love ya.

        • I’ll enjoy it! I haven’t used my subscription much but I always renew it, in part because I like what Jacquie and company do, and appreciate their approach.

  2. What a beautiful way to celebrate Christmas. Giving is what it’s all about but the giving of yourself is the ultimate gift. I realize that not everyone celebrates holidays the same and that is fine, “to each his/her own”. The celebration for me is actually the birthday of my Lord who has given his life for me and for all. When I was a child we would sing Happy Birthday to Jesus around the manger each year. My mom baked a birthday cake that read Happy Birthday Jesus. We ate the cake of course but it instilled in us what celebrating the day was really all about.
    I am now 73 and still silently every year I sing that song. I did pass the tradition along to my children but I don’t know if they have continued it in the fast paced society that we now live. I hope they do. I know they are all kind and giving people. They were my best and most beautiful gift to the world. Better than any book I or anyone has written or will ever write.

    Your post has filled my heart with joy and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and Happy New Year filled with love, joy and success. I will be thinking about you on Christmas day and remembering this post with much joy.

    • Patricia, thank you for sharing this beautifully personal Christmas tradition, and the photo of your tree. I am so happy you liked my post. I am always cheered to see your smiling face (via your Gravatar) here. I will think of you on Christmas too! Our own celebrations will have much in common, I feel sure. Merry Christmas!

  3. Carol Hoyos

    Dear Julia, I’m a post behind so would like to send a thought about the Christmas tree. One year when we were struggling with a health issue I mentioned to a wise woman (my Mom) we weren’t going to put up a tree….we weren’t in the mood. My Mom said to me that nothing wouldn’t stop the birth of Christ and no matter how “we felt” the story and events of Christmas would proceed. I won’t say whether we did or didn’t get a tree that year but will tell you it gave us a different perspective. πŸŽ„ xo

    • Thank you, Carol. I do appreciate that perspective. I have always valued the tree and felt that the time I put into setting it up and taking it down was a labor of love. In 1985, the Christmas after Matt was born, I didn’t do a tree and realized that had been a mistake. Even though we were out of town for part of the season, it was so sad to be home on Christmas without any decorations for us. I called the boys’ caregiver to discuss the schedule for the holidays, and they invited us to come over on Christmas Eve for a visit. It was a family from church we felt close to, and I think they could tell I was feeling blue. I realized it had been a mistake not to do a tree, and I said I would not make that mistake again. So we had a tree — quite a lovely one — every year from then until 2012. Sometimes even if I wasn’t in the mood for the tree, the tree itself created the mood, like magic. πŸ™‚ Thanks for being here and sharing. Hope your Christmas is full of blessings!

  4. Harry Sims

    I visit your blog site every morning and have been doing so since very near its inception.

    “The things that really count are those which can’t be counted”.


    • Harry, thanks so much for being here. I’m glad you have shared this journey with all of us. Many blessings to you this Christmas!

  5. Thanks, Julia!! Merry Christmas! Love you. ❀

    • Merry Christmas, Barb! Love you too!!

  6. Well, I think you know how I feel about cards and notes in the mail. You will never pry me from my paper and pen, no matter how much I also love the internet. I love paper cards, e-cards, emails: in short, I like the connection. Love to you, Julia.

    • Alys, so true…many of the people who most love online connectivity also are great at staying in touch via old-fashioned postal mail. Somehow, connecting through written words, whether online or on paper, seems so much less superficial than most social chit-chat. Not that there is no place for getting together in groups; so many happy memories are made that way, but reading and writing letters and cards is a totally different experience. I’m happy (and lucky!) that you enjoy it too! ❀

  7. I think, no matter how crazy priced I think Canada Post is, they’ll always find a customer in me. It’s just plain fun to find something from a dear friend in the mail. Plus, the Indian man that owns the postal store I use is just a delight. I saw him today and even though the parcels were piled a mile high and the line up seemed to never end, he was friendly in words and spirit. We must endeaver to keep these fine folks working. If everyone goes digital, there goes more jobs. I’d like to see things arrive quicker in New Zealand (last year it was a three month journey), but I suppose it is the other side of the world, so patience is to be expected πŸ˜€ I’m sorry to say, your parcel shall arrive tardy. Perhaps this will work in my favour as I’m hoping you and Matt will be with Drew, Megan and the boys for Christmas. xo sending a ton of love, Kelly

    • K, how wonderful that anything is coming at all! I shall celebrate Ukrainian Christmas (didn’t you say it is a bit later?) and til then I will be super excited just to see whatever you send me. Your mail art labels are so much fun that everyone along the way enjoys them. That’s another advantage (and risk) to postal mail. En route, it goes through many sets of human hands. Digital stuff is all in the “hands” of machines. I like the human chain better. Hope you and your loved ones have a fabulous holiday!!! Sending a ton of love right back to you from us, along with special kitty hugs for P & B.

      • I hope you’re fast asleep as it’s 12:32 here but thank you for the kitty hugs and Christmas wishes too! I just typed a message on your post of Dec 19th….LOL before I knew it, it was so long….sorry xoxox

        • I loved it, every word. Have a magical holiday season!!!

  8. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. I refuse to call this “Miserable Monday” although I saw that description for today because of the weather. We were at Willow Tree for the weekend which seems to be happening less these days. While at the laundromat there and making small talk with another camper, I mentioned to her the referenced term. She said, “Monday will be whatever your prayer wants it to be.” With that, she was gone. Her words have stayed with me, many times. Weather (whatever it is) can be enjoyed! I’m starting my day with you, before java!β˜•οΈ I came home yesterday and was watering a few small house plants that I carry to the sink. I have a little silk butterfly (your Momma) that rests on one, just because. Later, returning to the kitchen, it had fluttered to the floor unnoticed. I picked it up and it looked as though the little wing was broken. I just placed it on my kitchen window sill to heal, and thought of you! I, too, hope it’s ok to send a few things your way if you’re staying home. Love crosses the miles everyday from Garden City, my friend! πŸ’›πŸŽ„ Sheila

    • Thank you Sheila. I love reading these details about your day. It’s almost like being there with you for just a very brief time. I also love the icons you use and wish I could figure out how to use them. I’ve gone searching for the instructions online, but can’t seem to make it work in WordPress; probably if used my cell phone to respond to comments, it would work, but I do not like small screens. By now you know my schedule. Watch for some Southern surprises. Love those Garden City smiles!! πŸ˜€ ❀

  9. I’m not a great fan of cards, but I do love letters… written on real paper with real ink. I try to write a few every month to keep in touch with friends. In fact, I even have a pen-pal!

    • Aren’t letters wonderful? They are like a gift, and an increasingly rare one at that. I too have a pen pal. She lives in Essex, England and we have been writing to one another since 1990, having met in person only once, in 2001. We have exchanged letters through many milestones and changes; the birth of two grandsons each, job changes, vacations, medical issues among family members, the loss of loved ones, and everyday joys such as day trips, gardening and lovely weather. When I visited her in 2001 she made me some hearty English tea at the end of a chilly day we spent outdoors sightseeing, and that increased my emerging love of tea exponentially. My enjoyment of several cups of tea beside her fireside remains one of my most treasured memories. And it all began with letters…

  10. Tech Company Casts Doubt On DHS/FBI Russian Hacking Report

    Code identified by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation as being used by Russian intelligence services is an outdated malware developed by Ukrainians that can be downloaded online, according to a blog post by the founder of WordFence.

    WordFence is a plug-in designed to protect users of WordPress that has been downloaded over 1 million times. The report released last Thursday by the DHS and FBI, titled β€œGrizzly Steppe,” contains a PHP malware sample which WordFence employees analyzed.

    β€œOur security analysts spend a lot of time analyzing PHP malware, because WordPress is powered by PHP,” the blog post written by WordFence founder and CEO Mark Maunder said in a post Friday…

    (note from Julia – further details edited for length; for more see

    • This is interesting. WordPress has become so large and influential, I’m not surprised they have such plug-ins. From what I could tell, WordFence can’t be used on (which hosts this blog) but as with many useful plug-ins, they are only available for the self-hosted blogs at Thanks for the info. I had never heard of WordFence.

  11. I’m late here but had to read anyway. I will always be a card sender. I love the idea of connecting with people everywhere, anytime, for any reason. I will send digital to those who prefer them or don’t want to share an address. But I love physical cards. You are correct, sending them makes me feel better. I’m not sure what affect it has on the receiver but that’s none of my business. Have a wonderfilled week ahead. Hugs.

    • Marlene, this is one of those comments that convince me we are twins separated at birth. I totally love your remark “but that’s none of my business.” SO TRUE but so hard for most of us to grasp. One thing I love about sending cards is that they received can discard it unopened if they don’t want it (just as people can read the blog, or not, without one whit of guilt about it). As with all forms of giving or connecting with other people, the benefit is to the giver. Having said that, I have been intending for a long time to send you a card via postal mail. Don’t hold your breath, but eventually…:D

      • Most of us are still bogged down with after holiday work. I’m still trying to put away Christmas and see how much I can give away in the process. Cards and notes will wait a couple more weeks. You don’t want to be at my house right now. A hurricane hit and the cleanup has ensued. 😦 I’ve learned that what you think of me is none of my business too. If you don’t like who I am, I’m not going to try and change your mind. Just keep being the best person I know how. That realization came later in life but at least I got there. πŸ™‚

        • Marlene, I’m still working on getting there, but I’m making progress. πŸ™‚

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