This article originally was posted in 2018. A year later, I utilize the same Christmas card recycling system. It is a joy to keep the meaning of Christmas around all year. This year for Christmas my boys and I all worked together and created handmade cards. It was a lengthy process, but also a great way for them to know how much work it takes in creating things. My younger boys helped to cut the paper and my oldest painted. I don't think I will ever second guess sending a Christmas card again like I did in this original post. And I think that is how minimalism has evolved for me. Initially, I thought it was this get rid of everything mentality; in reality it is a keep what you value and let the other things go process.
I hope you enjoy this post and would love to hear what you do with your Christmas cards.
_____________________________________________________________________________We have been practicing minimalism for two years. I say "practicing" because it is an art. As a family of five minimalism doesn't happen overnight or over a month even. And for us there will never be a stopping point of being "practicing" minimalists. We all consume things, purchase goods, children grow out of and into phases and seasons of our lives will change and the items will also look different. Therefore minimalism will always be a process.
After a year of training ourselves with new minimalist habits Christmas arrived. What better time to try your values against consumerism than Christmas. We were very intentional with gifts for our kids, family and friends. But I forgot about the Christmas card aspect. Basically, with the excessive use of social media I was unsure if sending Christmas cards would be something we should pursue this year. As minimalist this year we would not be sending cards and focus on our values rather than posing for the perfect picture and sending a mass mailing.
By the first week of December we received our first Christmas card. It was from a friend that was hundreds of miles away and it had been years since we saw each other in person. I instantly texted them that I had enjoyed receiving their card and was grateful they thought of our family, but we wouldn't be sending any out this year. Soon after the cards came rolling in each day. I am not sure if I am just getting old, but as each card came in I was impacted by the sentiment (more than previous years). By late December I put together a handmade letter and began sending out a Christmas mail. I was touched that our family had been on the minds of so many others I wanted them to get those same feelings I had receiving a Christmas card.
Our Christmas card holder is located in the kitchen and thus the cards and the families became a topic of conversation each night at the dinner table. It became a family experience to talk about each other's memories with each family. I began brainstorming ways we could continue to generate this same conversation throughout the year. Initially, I wanted to create a book of the cards and have them connected with ribbons or metal rings for the children to look at throughout the year. Then, I realized it was the visual in the kitchen helped promote the memories and conversation about other families. Thus was born the idea of a Christmas card a week.
We created a command center that has a clothes pin. We will save the Christmas cards and pin a new one up each week. Our goal is to pray for this family each week. The visual will help up remember who to pray for and remind us of how thoughtful they were to also think of us. If our week allows, I would also like to send the family a note or card to let them know we have been praying for them. This command center cost me $0. I was able to use scrapbooking paper I had laying around and a frame that was in the basement. I attached the clothespin with a hot glue gun and used a sharpie to write all the headings.
This organizational method works for us, but it may not work for everyone. The key is to keep the Christmas cards and pray for the person or family that sent it to you at various times throughout the year. The Christmas spirit can truly last all year!
Recycling Christmas cards was a great way to incorporate praying for others. I am usually quick to toss mail, scrap paper and such, but after this recycling project I started thinking of more ways to become intentional with recycling and using items around the house. Be sure to subscribe to stay connected to see future posts about how to reuse ordinary items to help organize or homeschool.
Praying you keep the spirit of Christmas with you always,