I love Christmas cards; the choosing, creating, writing and receiving. Every year I consider stopping sending them, as many people have; but I can't do it, I just love them too much.
This year we have been inundated and our house feels all the warmer and more christmassy for them. Unfortunately 150 cards is our limit to display which means we've got over 60 cards which are not being enjoyed fully.
But this does not mean they've been abandoned; they've been recycled in craft projects and used as muses for art creations and probably given more attention than the humble Christmas card is used to. In fact this post only exists because every meal time I've been looking through the Christmas cards on our table.
So now I share my thoughts on Christmas cards; what I like and don't, what they say to me and what I puzzle over. Enjoy.
There are a plethora of animals based cards in the shops; cartoons, photos and portraits of all sorts and styles. Most of them leave me cold or confused, the cards might be cute but they just don't mean much. But there are some I like, here are just two.
The robin in a snowy scene, it takes me right back to the Christmas of my childhood, or back to the winters anyway. I love receiving the robin cards but have never sent them, it just doesn't capture the actual essence of Christmas for me.
The farm animals that The National Trust favour also somehow connect to Christmas for me; it's a reminder that farmers work at Christmas, caring for their animals and for creation.
It makes no logical sense that kittens with baubles leave me cold whilst farm animals work, but there it is.
I love a good nativity scene, especially if it's vaguely accurate; these two are being kept in my store of meaningful images for meditations.
On the other hand I can't get on with the cheesy kids cartoon nativity cards, but Rachel loves them.
I'm not a huge fan of wintery scenes as a general rule, with exception of robins and farm animals of course. But sometimes the odd one comes along which is really poignant.
This one was sent by one of Mike's aunts and she worked in the building in the picture; now that transformed an otherwise dodgy card into one that I'll keep.
You know the ones, seasons greetings or best wishes or anything which avoids the word "Christmas", why send them at all? Surely if Christmas doesn't mean anything then the card is a strange tradition to follow. I especially detest the Disney princess cards but Rachel loves them so please don't tell her friends.
I separate them from all common and garden animals because they're something extra special. Penguins survive winter by huddling together; they could not make it alone and so they make a community.
This is Christmas summed up for me; God born for us, God among us, God with us.