Sunday, December 8, 2013

Frugal Move -- Doing Away With Holiday Cards

An internal debate had been waging in my mind over the past weeks -- to do, or not to do holiday cards this year?  On one side was the frugal argument -- postage, cards, time to fill them out, it all consumes resources. And the other side -- it has been a favorite tradition of mine for nearly two decades.  I loved it!  The key word there is "loved".

There once was a time when Thanksgiving weekend would arrive, and then on Friday evening I would open a bottle of wine and tackle my holiday card list.  Music played in the background, and it was a wonderful feeling of connection to friends I'd known for years to those recently made.  And then life marched on.  First there was the acquisition of a husband -- doubling the names on the holiday list.  For our first two years of marriage we followed my pattern.  The Friday after Thanksgiving we'd sit down with a bottle of wine, his cards in one stack, mine in the other.  And then the kids arrived, and the cards went out later and later each year. What had been calm and relaxing activity, had become a labored task performed by sleep deprived parents.  This year the pure crush of being a sandwich generation adult has caused me to say good-bye to this tradition.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, at about 5:30pm, I received a call from my mother's medical alert company. She'd fallen, and I was needed.  After a quick call to her I realized it was 911 that was needed.  The call was placed, and I dashed off to let them in so that they didn't have to break the door down.  After a week at the hospital it was decided she'd move to a nursing home.  Being widowed and having only one child, an endless line of questions came my way. Coordinate a cat sitter, what about snow removal, transportation to the facility - on and on.  And in the crush of the rush I knew that this year there would be no holiday cards. Instead I will slowly send out the adorable school photos of the children to the people who will treasure them.  Cards may be for Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, etc.  Beyond that, I'll be using my Facebook page to send a holiday greeting.  And there you have it, frugal wins.  Many people are ones I see at book club or gatherings.  I'll save on postage by handing them a card with the photos.  For those more remote, I plan to make a homemade card during the routine coloring sessions the kids hold after school on weekdays.  Yes, this frugal move feels right.  Sometimes it is just time to say good-bye to past traditions and embrace reality!

Our frugal art studio!

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