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I confess: I’ve been a bit bah humbug about Christmas cards in the past. I looked miserably at the box of cheap cards that I was scribbling a standard greeting in with a cheap biro.  And then decided that I just wasn’t going to bother with the whole thing. Would one of Santa’s elves be dispatched to teach me the error of my ways? I thought he might have a chat with me about my lack of festive spirit. Clearly, the little chap clearly had more important things to do. Perhaps he was an early participant in the Elf on the Shelf programme? The Ghost of Christmas Future didn’t show up either so I figured I was definitely off the hook.

And time rolled by…

The years have passed since then. Despite the odd foray into Christmas cards (the Private Eye ones amused me so much I was reluctant to let them go) I’ve lost the habit. And seemingly remaining on Santa’s nice-not-naughty list. In the intervening years, e-cards became ever more popular giving me another excuse for not sending cards. Not that I ever got organised enough for e-cards; it proved to be one of those jobs that seem so quick and easy that you never actually get around to doing it.

Then friends began crafting and designing their own cards.  I just wasn’t sure I could keep up. So I opted out season after season and polished up my Scrooge credentials.

holly branches in a ribbon tied jar and a greeting card

But festive spirit got me!

Then last year among the cards I received was a small number with personal messages reflecting on the year just past. They expressed pleasure at the time spent together, gratitude for shared memories or regret that we had not been able to make more space for each other in our lives, and they were full of hope for the future.

This cracked the hard-boiled layer around my humbug striped heart. I knew the value of receiving a handwritten card in the post. Furthermore. Christmas card cards act as a kind of Trojan horse. They allow you to add something extra to the standard message. And that was when I knew that this year would be different.

Writing a small number of cards has filled me with joy this year. It took much less time than I had anticipated. It was so nice to take time to think about each recipient and how 2016 had been for us. I enjoyed it so much that I’m giving serious thought to getting my own cards printed next year so I can indulge in the joy of sending.

What’s your take? Design your own? Take the e-option? Or Ebeneezer all the way?

P.S. Carla is, of course, streets ahead of me and after sending ecards featuring cute kittens started making her own cards in 2014.