Every year around this time our mailbox starts to fill up with Christmas cards from friends and family. The majority of the cards are full of photos of their family: sometimes at their recent beach vacation with everyone in similar shades of light blue, sometimes standing in a line in a pile of leaves holding hands while wearing their favorite fall sweaters and scarves. And every year around this time, I’m reminded of why I stopped sending Christmas cards . . .
Chris and I got married in September 2008 and purchased our home four days after Christmas. So in 2009, which was our first Christmas in the house, I had one of my best friends come over and snap a few photos in front of our house so I could have one for our first ever joint Christmas card — complete with a photo of the two of us living happily ever after in our mid-twenties, arm in arm, finished off with a black and white filter. And that’s exactly what we did. My friend sent me all the photos, I selected my favorite, I uploaded it to one of the up-and-coming print on demand custom photo greeting card websites, and then I proceeded to send them to 75 of our closest friends and family.
Here’s a sneak peek at the photo we used
About a week later, one of my card recipients said “hey, I got your Christmas card . . . thanks . . . I thought it was interesting though — I’ve never seen anyone send a card with their photo on it unless they have kids.”
And while I don’t think this person meant it to be offensive, I felt so embarrassed that I never sent another Christmas card again.
When the first card arrived this year, I finally paused to reflect on why I made that decision to stop sending cards. I started thinking about how I let 1 person out of 75 bring me down. Yeah, it’s just a Christmas card, and yeah, it’s actually a lot easier to forego sending them out each year, but I started thinking about how that happened when I was 27 years old and now I’m 35 but yet I keep carrying that with me every year. I started thinking about how much my family would’ve loved to receive the latest photo of the two of us to replace the 9 year old one they have squeezed sideways into an old picture frame on their mantle.
Most of you reading this have followed my stories for years. You followed me on Gals with Goals as I spent two years putting myself out there in an attempt to live life to the fullest while inspiring people to go for big things. And you’ve watched me be vulnerable and write a book or post weekly personal stories about my life. But for some reason, I have written off 8 years worth of holiday cards because of one person who simply made a somewhat nonchalant comment.
Next year, Chris and I will be married for 10 years. And we will have a photo taken in front of our house. And most likely it’ll be that same friend who took our photo in 2009 that will take our photo in 2018. And we’ll put a filter on it to make ourselves look better and we’ll upload it to the latest custom greeting card website. And we’ll send it out to 75 people.
I tell this story because the year is coming to a close and I’d ask you — what is your metaphorical Christmas card? What story have you been dragging with you since you were 27 that no longer serves you?
In an attempt to make up for lost year’s (excluding 2010 when I was in transition between a digital camera and an iPhone), I’d like to officially wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas from just the two of us . . .
Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season! Love, Brooke & Chris (2011)
Many blessings this holiday season! The Hockers (2012)
Merry Christmas from the Hockers (2013)
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the Hockers (2014)
Happy Holidays from Brooke & Chris (2015)
Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year — The Hockers (2016)
Merry Christmas from Brooke & Chris (2017)