Devaluing

“Wow, that’s really personal,” the woman said to me sarcastically. I had handed her one of our Christmas cards, as a sort of “Merry Christmas” and “Thank you for all that you do,” and because I didn’t write her name on the front, she felt insulted before even opening the card.

Each year, I spend probably half a day creating our Christmas card. I comb through the photos for the year and select the most beautiful scenic photo for the front. Then I choose scripture or poetry that speaks to me and works with the photo, and I photoshop them all together. On the back of the card, I include 1-3 photos of the family and other interesting moments. I also include the funniest or most poignant things our kid has said over the course of the year — yes, I keep track of that all year long, just for the Christmas card.

But I forgot all that when this woman insulted me. I backpedaled and apologized, when I should have refused to be devalued. I should have instead pointed out that our card is highly personal; I hoard those cards, and I would kindly take it back from her, thank you very much.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” – Jesus, Matthew 7:6

When I first started doing the cards this way almost a decade ago, I wanted to send them to as many people as possible. I was proud of them and wanted people to see them. My purposes have been changing. The last few years, I’ve seen the cards as a way to possibly bring some inspiration or hope into the lives of our loved ones. I still see them this way, but now, I also see them as a sharing of ourselves with others.

Because of that, I think I’ll be printing fewer cards next year. I hate to say that because it sounds like I’m being stingy or unChristian. I think what I really believe, though, is that I’m valuing more highly everything the card represents – our family, our beliefs, our convictions, and the time it takes to creatively communicate those things with a 5×7 piece of cardstock. Our cards won’t be just for “giving away,” as they have been in the past. Instead, they’ll be for our dearest friends and family – the ones with with whom we share a mutual vested interest.