One of the things I like most this time of year is receiving Christmas cards from friends and family. We send out a lot and receive an abundance in return. Last year, I received an especially thoughtful card from my friend Cathy O. She’s a gifted writer who took the time to write a several-page letter specifically to our family.
Cathy’s letter wasn’t a routine newsletter or a form letter with fill-in-the-blank stuff. It was written just for us–one of a kind. I had sent her a picture and our standard Smith Family Top 10 card with a quick note written on it. She, in kind, had sent me a truly personal message. It meant so much to me. Out of all the Christmas cards, hers was the one I read and re-read.
We hadn’t experienced extenuating circumstances when Cathy chose to write us. She did it just because. I have no idea how many of those personal letters she sent. My Christmas card list is long–and I hate to trim it. Everyone on the list is special to our family. So I still need to send the majority of people the picture, Top 10 list, and a quick note. But I decided to look over my list closely and really think about each individual or family. Then I chose three friends who had experienced a difficult year. Two had lost spouses and another family had endured extensive legal trials. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write personal notes to them. I wanted them to know that our family is thinking of them, that we truly care, and that we want to help in any way needed. I didn’t write pages, as my friend had done for me, but I put heartfelt effort into a few meaningful paragraphs.
You don’t have to be an eloquent writer to say the right things to a friend. You also don’t have to write a lot. Something as simple as: “I imagine this time of year might be tough for you. Please know that I’m thinking of you and am available to visit if you’d like. You are often in my thoughts and prayers.”
If it helps, you might also include this thoughtful insert I’ve made. It’s 4×6, and you can print it on cardstock or have it printed on photo paper. It’s a keepsake they can frame; put on the fridge; or tuck away in a photo box, to be pulled out and cherished when most needed. Click here to download. This poem is my original. I retain the copyright. You may use it free for noncommercial use.
Christmas can be a rough time for people who are grieving. They should know that we remember them and are specifically thinking of them this time of year. Considering sending a few words of encouragement to those who really need it. Your effort to truly care might be one of the best Christmas gifts they’ll receive this season.