To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing. ~Eva Young
Yesterday, I mailed out our last holiday card. Yes, the last card was mailed out on January 4th, after the holidays ended.
There was a time when I was extremely organized, and our family ran like a well-oiled machine. I’d have our family pictures taken by October, cards would be selected, ordered and addressed by the beginning of November. The cards would then be mailed out by the end of November.
I loved the feeling of depositing the big stack of cards into the mailbox, knowing that they would be received well before the December holidays.
For the last two years, I had skipped cards altogether. In 2016, I wasn’t in the holiday spirit: that September I was busy replying to the stack of sympathy cards I received after my Mom’s death. In October I was knee-deep in handling the details of the estate with the attorney. In November, it was too late to take a family photo and order the cards and by the time December rolled around, I was in the throes of the holiday shopping.
The following year, I thought about our holiday card in September, then again in October but never got around to coordinating a family photo. Once again, the holidays came and went without us taking a family photo and me creating our annual letter.
This year, it bothered me that I hadn’t sent out cards the previous two years, not because it is required or expected, but because I felt like something was missing.
I am grateful for the holiday cards that came our way from family and friends. I love the photocards of my friend’s children and families; I love holiday letters and finding out what is happening in everyone’s lives, and I love the feeling of connection.
The lack of sending out holiday cards in 2016 and 2017, meant I had missed out on the opportunity to make memories of creating our holiday photo. I had missed writing the recap of our year and recounting the memories of events that had happened over the year. I missed the connection with my family because I had been so caught up in making sure the cards went out on time: before the holidays ended.
Last month, I stopped thinking about a timeline and what was expected. We took our photos, laughing and joking during the process. I wrote out a short recap of our year and hand-addressed each envelope as time permitted. By removing the pressure of getting the cards out “on time”, sending holiday cards went from being a process to an enjoyable experience. By procrastinating for so long, I took away the need for perfection and that suits me just fine.