As a Pastor I receive a number of Christmas cards every year. I receive them from the people where I serve now, from people in churches I have served through the years, from family and from friends. I get a number of cards and some of them have even become special to me. Through the years I have come to appreciate a great Christmas card and what makes them great – at least to me. So if you are going to send a card this year to show someone you care, here are my suggestions to you.
1. Pick a nice card. I usually can tell when I open the card if much thought was put into it. Many people send cheap cards that only communicate that they really don’t care about what they are doing.
2. Write something personal. DON’T JUST SIGN YOUR NAME. A cheap card can be redeemed with a nice personal note. A cheap card with only your name tells me that you sent this out of obligation and to clear your conscience. Take the time to write anything from a line to a paragraph to express your feelings and thoughts at the time.
3. A picture card is nice. With places like snapfish and winkflash and even Wal-mart you can get a nice picture card to send out that I can hang on my fridge. These might be my favorite for their enduring quality.
4. A family update letter is okay. Many people type up a letter that they print off and put in their card. It tells people what has happened in their life in a generic way. I like the idea but it can come off very generic. The other problem is that it is all about the people sending it (at least it can be). I would suggest that if you do these types of letters to try to hand write a personal line at the bottom of the page for the person receiving it.
5. “Including a gift card can be nice, but …” When did gift cards become a suitable gift? Usually a gift card costs me money. I mean I have to spend money over the amount of the card you gave me to use up the card. You are also forcing me to go some where I might not choose to go on my own. Anyway, they are definitely nice gestures but I am even more happy when I get cash:-) No wait, I mean I would rather you take the time to pick out a nice card and write a nice personal note to me and then include a picture of your family for my fridge (and not in a Christmas costume). The more thought and effort make it more meaningful to me.
Why does all this matter? Especially to a Pastor? Why do I care about your Christmas cards? Well, as Christians we are called to love one another and not simply fulfill an expected obligation. If you are truly wanting to connect to other people through this holiday time then a well thought out card can be a great tool. If you want to show people how much you care then send a great card that will touch someone’s heart. Love is often really found in the little things we do – like cards.