Of the left-over items from the holiday season, CHRISTMAS CARDS may present the most perplexing puzzlement of all.
Christmas cards have become somewhat of a societal anomaly, after all. Where letters have transitioned into e-mails and passing thoughts get texted without enough thought, Christmas cards are one of the few remaining print expressions that actually still (most often) travel through snail mail – frequently from those who we’ve not truly heard from in ages past, despite potential social networking opportunities that often reveal very little beyond “it’s complicated.”
Perhaps because they’re a little more festive or maybe because we try to imagine the people opening their postal boxes, then opening our cards, we take a little more time in their preparation. After choosing a card (or making one) that conveys our personalities (or maybe our children’s growth), sometimes we buy fancy colored pens that glitter, or make a trip to the post office to buy season-appropriate stamps, or tuck a special thought or a little gift inside. Whatever the case, the recipient is left to understand that he/she was “special enough” to have been gifted with this extra effort.
Therein lies the quandary – what to do with this special endowment once the holiday season has passed. When the halls are no longer dutifully decked – and the house is no longer a jolly wreck…when everything around you appears sterile once more…what do you do with the remaining evidence of others’ thoughtful Christmas spirits? Do you just throw them into the trash – to be carried off and tossed onto a garbage heap? How very un-green (and red) of you!
Christmas Left-overs for Fun Recycling at our Home
How about some GREEN Christmas Card Re-Cycling Ideas that will continue to spread Christmas Cheer instead?
- Okay, here’s the most obvious “re-cycling” idea. Choose some of your favorite cards and cut out pieces to make your own homemade Christmas cards next year. Don’t do it on your own though – how does that spread any Christmas cheer? Have a little card-making party. If you want to wear silly sweaters and do it with your BFF’s, fine. But instead of setting yourself up to say, “I thought we’d never come back from that one” (yes, that was an eye roll)…What if you included some young, glue-sticky hands in your fun? Invite the creative energy of kids to join you (e.g., youth group, boy or girl scouts, children’s church, foster kids, mission trip kids – wherever you might be able to get involved). You may have to hold onto these cards for several months, but by fall, these children could be making cards to give to special people and brighten their days. Up the ante by having the kids send (or deliver) the cards to folks in an elderly residential home or to soldiers. Look beyond yourself and share the spirit from beginning to end.
- Re-cycle the blessing back to the individual(s) who originally blessed you. Place your pile of Christmas cards into a basket. Each night (or once a week – you can set your own reasonable time schedule), pull a card from the basket and resolve to pray for the name(s) on the card. Not only will you be blessing the sender of the card, you’ll be sneaking in another blessing for yourself once again. The card that keeps on giving…
- Take your re-cycling efforts a step further. Mail that card back to the original sender, letting that person know you prayed for him/her. (Or if you are not comfortable with that, then just follow my lead from here.) Enclose a special note to the person(s) whose name(s) is/are in that card, letting that person feel the special touch of Christmas at an unexpected moment. You may not even know what’s going on in that person’s life; but I’ll bet he/she could use a blessing. How’s that for spreading cheer throughout the year?
- Combine any of the above ideas for a whole new dimension of bless-ed fun! Help some kids cut out cards to make new seasonal cards. Can you imagine Santa saying “Hoppy Easter”? Or sending a partial card with a note to your friend, explaining the other parts of it were prayed over & sent out with a special note to someone in the armed forces or in an elderly living facility?
- Create a collage of the fronts of Christmas card clip-outs onto a board and shellac it for a family member who either can’t be with you for the holidays or can’t be with you throughout the rest of the year. Send it to them as a writing/laptop board to remind them of your cheery love throughout the time you all are apart.
Come up with some new ideas of your own – and share them here for the rest of us to enjoy!
And may your year be full of Christmas blessings!
Life can often be cold,
leaving you feeling bare and exposed.
Those are the times you must resolve
to “man up” and overcome-
This post was made possible by two of the greatest sports I know. Thanks, guys! I had fun taking these two shots one day after we’d gone on a post-game hiking/creek dipping field trip with their team. No matter that we were well into the summer months and the boys had worked up a sweat that day on the ball field, when these two climbed out of one of our favorite mountain creek swimming holes, their teeth were chattering! (They, of course, didn’t mind hamming it up a little for me and the camera!) 🙂
It’s also part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge on Resolved. Follow this link to see many more who have resolved to share their photography on the subject.
Need a worthwhile resolution for the New Year?
Resolve to save a life for just $10.
No More Malaria Gift Link
Eventually, the life could become your own.
One of this week’s WordPress Daily Prompts was this:
Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?
The last recent thing I’ve read that’s bit and stung me is that nearly 1 million people are dying annually from being bitten by malaria-infested mosquitoes, a large majority of them being children. And, truthfully, that really does bite!
We’re not talking fictional horror here. We’re talking about precious little faces that are very real to me – little ones who have survived a war-torn world only to face continued daily threats that could realistically be wiped out if enough people cared to make a difference. The cost is even ridiculously low. And, yet, few people are willing to respond. In further honesty, that reality stings.
Here’s the BUZZ:
Malaria is not a disease that only occurs in third world countries.
It’s not a disease that’s been eradicated.
As a matter of fact, my own grandmother suffered from the malaria parasite here in the United States. Once a person acquires malaria, it can be treated, but there is no cure. Outbreaks may occur throughout that person’s life, with malaria being responsible for many deaths, particularly in children under the age of 5.
3.3 billion people live in areas where this disease is a constant threat.
The “elimination” of malaria within developed countries, such as the U.S. and European ones, does not mean that it no longer exists. In the U.S., this “elimination” definition went into place circa 1950, through the impact from spraying and improved drainage. Yet, malaria still has the capability of affecting residents even of developed countries. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates approximately 1,500 cases in the U.S. annually.
Outbreaks generally come from either mosquito-borne transmission, “airport” malaria (whereby mosquitoes survive from one country to another on a plane), congenital transmission (mother to child, during pregnancy or birth), and blood transfusions. Don’t fool yourself into feeling too safe. The CDC also explains that there are still ample numbers of the same types of mosquitoes around who created malaria problems for us within our past century.
In under-developed tropical/sub-tropical countries, malaria can run rampant. The largest worldwide malaria burden is in Africa, where 90% of malaria-related deaths occur. The CDC explains the reasons it is difficult to contain the disease there as:
an efficient mosquito that transmits the infection,
a high prevalence of the most deadly species of the parasite,
weak infrastructure to address the disease, and
high intervention costs that are difficult to bear in poor countries.
Prevention efforts include spraying, mosquito nets and education. Treatment efforts include getting medicines to the medical clinics and communication efforts to get people to them. Our nation, along with others, have assisted in funding many of the spraying efforts, and I’ve read articles recently explaining that if such efforts get reduced, we will go back many years in our worldwide efforts towards eradication.
The Imagine No Malaria campaign was put together by some strong and dedicated partners – partners that have no need to skim your money off the top before it goes to meet greater needs – including the United Nations Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The World Health Organization, the people of the UMC, and others. No one is a stronger partner than those individuals willing to give to this effort, though.
I can’t imagine that $10 is too much to ask to save someone – particularly a young child – to either save a life, in general, or to greatly improve a person’s quality of life.
Daily Prompt: Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?
Sometimes my Reflections are of the personal “me” kind –
Who I Am
Who I Yet Wish to Be
Where I’ve Been
Where I Yet Hope to See
Reflecting on Where I would Frame my Home
All These Dreams Are Locked Up Inside of Me
Self-Reflection of the Narcissistic Kind?
When I can reflect beyond myself –
Only Then Am I Truly Free
To Become…So Much More Than Me
Others’ Reflections can be viewed here.