The internet has changed how we share love with our family and friends. Click a button and send a card via the magic of the computer. Foooosh! Very convenient, that's for sure, but somehow a card on the computer screen doesn't do it for me.
Sure, I appreciate that my friend or family member was thinking of me, but I'd much rather have a "real" card--in the mailbox! I LOVE looking at and holding a card in my hands, reading the hand-written salutation and signature of my loved ones.
Saved and treasured cards mark the passage of the seasons, as our families change and grow. The charming block printed signature of a kindergartener, the sweet bubble-hearts dotting the i's of pre-teen girls--sweet beyond words! The hurried slash of the son with an adventure calling him! Those signatures are like footprints across wet concrete.
To Make Life Easier
Buy greeting cards in bulk. I get mine from Oshkosh Church Supply in Wisconsin; themed cards are in boxes of 12 or 16 and much less than I'd spend at a card-shop or even at a dollar store. OCS sends a catalog so I stock up once or twice a year. (Check out their website-- http://greetingcardsource.com/ It's not as user friendly as other "professional" sites but you can request a catalog there. They also have holiday cards, napkins, and two-year calendars for your purse.)
Stash cards in a desk drawer, organized to quickly access them. Once a month (usually near the end of the month) I pull out my handy-dandy perpetual calendar where I have recorded all the special dates for family and friends (birthday, anniversary, confirmation, graduation, deaths). Try one of these: http://papergraces.com/calendars/perpetual-calendars Referring to my "date book," I pull cards for each person. For relatives who have died, I usually send the surviving spouse a "thinking of you" card so s/he receives a cheerful note at an otherwise sad time, when most people over-look them.
Address all the envelopes, add a greeting at the bottom of the card for the whole family, then add your own signature. My personal John Hancock -- on the inside of the front flap -- is something like t his: "Hugs & Kisses from Aunt Deb" and sometimes when I'm feeling especially silly I put on some red lipstick and "kiss" the card where I've signed it. This is usually for my nieces and nephews! "A smooch from Aunt Deb!"
Insert the back half of the card into the envelope, so the cards are ready and easy to sign. This also keeps them from getting separated from their envelope.
Stack the cards in chronological order and get the rest of your family to sign them. Ours go on our dining room table, and over the next day or two before or after dinner, my family members sign the cards.
Get the cards ready to mail. I jazz up the envelopes with my rubber stamps or with a wax seal/imprint on the back flap. Postage stamps and return address labels on the front, ready to be stacked near the front door--and mailed a few days to a week before the loved one's birthday.
OR . . . leave the postage stamp off and jot a "mail by" date in that corner (it'll be covered by the stamp).
Special Treatment Options: Send your envelopes to one of the Post Offices below, where they'll get a special post-mark, too. Put three or four of your cards at one time (already addressed and stamped) inside another, larger envelope addressed to Postmaster, General Delivery, with the city, state and zip code listed below. To ensure that your envelope gets the right post-mark be sure to write on the back of the Postmaster envelope "hand cancel, please"--otherwise it might go to the large distribution center for that particular area.
Inside the card, near your signature, you maybe want to add a tiny note that asks, "What did you think when you saw this card with THAT postmark?" This will ensure that your efforts will not go unnoticed! And will touch the heart of the recipient even more!
My list is only started. I have a paperback Zip Code Directory and some evenings when we're mindlessly watching TV, I go through it (state by state!) and look for interesting locations: family names, hobbies, vacation spots. Our country has some very cool city names! Did you know there is a post office in Dairy Farm, California? Or that there is a Tomato, Arizona? Embarrass, Wisconsin. Chicken, Alaska! Wouldn't it be fun to get an envelope with one of those postmarks!?
Post Office Names for Holidays
Blessing TX 77419
Challenge CA 95925
Cool CA 95614
Freedom CA 95019
Friendship AR 71942
Happy Camp CA 96039
Hope AK 99605
Hope AR 71801
Independence CA 93526
Inspiration AZ 85537
Okay AR 71854
Shamrock OK 74068
Smartville CA 95977
Sunflower AL 36581
Success AR 72470
Sweet Home AR 72164
Loveland CO 80537
Loveland OH 45140
Loveland OK 73553
Loving NM 88256
Loving TX 78062
Romance AR 72136
Romance WV 25175
Valentine AZ 86437
Valentine NE 69201
Valentine VA 23887
"Be filled with the Spirit.
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:18-20 NIV
God's love and richest blessings
as you celebrate another day of His grace!