The Christmas List

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen44 Comments

When my husband and I were first married we lived far away from family and that first Christmas I still wanted to connect with all of our loved ones even though we couldn’t be together. So I decided to send out Christmas cards. Because Microsoft Outlook wasn’t available back then, I went out and purchased an inexpensive softcover address book and began adding names to my Christmas list.

Now almost 18 years later my address book is dog eared and worn, but every year in the weeks leading up to Christmas I bring it out and look at the names entered in it. Each entry in this book is of a real person who has a story and means something to our family. As I look at this book and reflect upon these individuals and families, I am reminded how quickly life can change. Many of the names entered on the pages are from the multiple states that our family has lived in and more still have multiple addresses penciled in and out underneath them as they themselves have moved. A few have new spouse names and even surnames crossed in and out, because life happens.

Some of the entries are from beloved friends and family members who have long since passed and to whom I can no longer trade cards with. I can never quite see my way to erasing or marking out these names. Instead I leave them in this book as a reminder of all those I have loved and who have returned that love to my family.

My Christmas card list has become something very special to me and allows me a few moments each year to remember all of these people and smile. Each name mattered enough to be entered into my book and years later they still matter.

One year my husband, after looking at the sad state of my address book, kindly asked if I would like a new one for Christmas. I politely declined. The process, edits, and handwritten notes are as valuable as the addresses themselves. Some of the memories simply wouldn’t transfer, and I would feel their loss.

For in truth, my Christmas list has become a way for me to cherish, remember and to renew my focus on what really matters. Because anyone who matters will gently remind you that the most important things in life are not things and can never be bought, wrapped or mailed.

The most important things aren't things and can never be bought, wrapped or mailed at #Christmas. Share the real gift this Christmas season!

So to all of my JENerally Informed readers far and wide this is my Christmas card to you:

The most important things aren't things and can never be bought, wrapped or mailed at #Christmas. Share the real gift this Christmas season!



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  1. Well, you took me down memory lane too. What a lovely idea and what a lovely way to remember those in your life that are still there and those that are not. Excellent.

    Thanks for your gift to me too.

    Have a fabulous Christmas week. ☺
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Awww MondaysMy Profile

  2. As much as I would like to be, I’m not a Christmas card mom – there’s a lot on the priority list with little ones in the house, and I’d rather clean up paint from making ornaments, or clean up globs of cookie dough from the floor…I guess what I’m saying is right now I’d rather embrace the messiness of this stage :) But it is special to get each one that’s sent to me, to know that I’m remembered.
    Courtney recently posted…Free Christmas Traditions to Start This YearMy Profile

    1. Author

      That happens. I have been there and get it. My cards are simple and not really all that grand, but over the years they have been important to me and I am so glad it is something I was able to keep up. Good luck with those cute messes :)
      Jen recently posted…The Christmas ListMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thank you! It’s funny how things turn out, because I didn’t imagine that it would start out that way. Best wishes for a wonderful Holiday season to you!
      Jen recently posted…The Christmas ListMy Profile

  3. It’s perfect. I love the idea of a dog-eared address book. Instead we have files that may or may not still exist on a computer somewhere.
    I’m trying to remember the importance of this season. Trying..
    Tamara recently posted…Scarlet Takes Manhattan, II.My Profile

    1. Author

      I know, I tried on the computer and the file just got lost. So I stayed with my book. I always refer to it anyways.
      Keep trying my friend and I am sending lots of virtual hugs and good vibes your way!
      Jen recently posted…The Christmas ListMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thank you. I kind of figured you would be a Christmas card kind of person :) Your address book will turn into that for sure and you will love it!
      Jen recently posted…The Christmas ListMy Profile

    1. Author

      I love receiving cards too. Seeing the growth in children and all of the news that the year has brought my friends is really something I look forward to.
      Jen recently posted…The Christmas ListMy Profile

  4. Such a sweet post Jen. It’s a keepsake now, don’t ever get rid of it.

    P.S. We LOVE Mother Bruce!

  5. This is so me! I mentally keep track of so many of the edits: who actually has a different last name than what’s written, who moved into their parent’s house after they died, etc… I had the thought this year that I should physically update it all because if I were to delegate my Christmas list to someone else half the cards would go to the wrong person/address!
    Jenny @ Unremarkable Files recently posted…What I Learned From Failing at AdventMy Profile

    1. Yep kindred spirits here. I think though that should I ever not be around to send cards there is no way my husband is going to keep up on that particular tradition! Probably because my book is such a mess deciphering it would be hard :) Merry Christmas to you Jenny!
      Jen recently posted…The Christmas ListMy Profile

  6. Happy Holidays. I miss my old address books, too. I would always get nice ones with pretty pictures, so I could go through them each year and not only smile at the memories of good friends, but also the art. Wishing you a Merry Xmas and a wonderful 2016.
    Caryn recently posted…Zen During the HolidaysMy Profile

  7. Jen – I can totally relate to everything you have said in this post. I have an address book about which I feel the same way. I have resisted creating a computer email list, because I love the feeling of connection with friends far and wide when I write each address on the envelopes that will carry our holiday greetings to them.
    I haven’t been on my computer much lately -but I am stopping by to catch up with some of your posts and to wish you a very merry belated Christmas and happy holiday season! Thanks for the inspiration of your posts over the past two years since I have discovered your blog!
    Susan – ofeverymoment recently posted…Saturday Suggestion: Be Present.My Profile

    1. Author

      Aww thank you Susan! I too am quite behind on my commenting on all the blogs I love, like yours. That is my resolution for 2016 to get back into the swing of things.I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a great start off to 2016!
      Jen recently posted…The Christmas ListMy Profile

  8. This makes my excel spreadsheet feel so lame!!! Love the sentiment behind your address book. Though I suppose we all have our own ways of remembering our loved ones. Thank you for your sweet words to all your readers. I hope your holidays were full of cherished moments throughout the day.
    Leslie recently posted…Goodbye 2015My Profile

    1. Thank you! I am so disorganized, I don’t even know how I have kept it up, but I am glad that I have. It’s really been something that makes me happy. Now if only I could maintain that whole clean house bit…..Hugs!
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up #38My Profile

  9. This is defnitely something we all need to remember, all the stress all the money, it won’t bring happiness. It’s just stuff. If i have my family, healthy and happy, that’s all we really need! #happynowlinkup

  10. Aw, that is sweet! But I have to admit I’m at the point where I did ask for a new address book… I have some letters of the alphabet that no longer have any room.

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