Although it’s been said many times, many ways, “Merry Christmas to you.”

There’s something special about receiving cards around the holiday season. You trudge outside to the mailbox, soak your not-house-slippers-anymore in the slushy snow that overlays your driveway. Then, when you reach your destination, you jerk open the lid of the box and thrust your hand inside, hoping to connect with a two or three letters (so you don’t feel like you came all the way out here for nothing).

Ka-ching. You pull out five letters and as you make your way slowly back to the house you quickly flip through them. Verizon bill – for Dad. Kohl’s flyer with “free” items – that would be Mom’s. A couple more “to the family living in this house” letters – just dump those on Dad’s pile (or else in the trash). Then. You come to the last one. You got bored reading none of the other letters were addressed to you, so you’re pleasantly surprised with you see that this one is, indeed, carrying your name. 

The front door couldn’t seem farther away. You rush the rest of the way into the house, kick off your snowy shoes before your mom catches you and yells at you; then you toss the first four letters onto the tabletop and grab for the letter opener. You randomly decided you wanted to slit this letter orderly open rather than rip out the contents like a first grader. This is the first card you’ve received for, well, a long time, and you want it to look neat.

Sliding the letter opener across, you pull out the card and open it up. Sometimes it says, “Christmas Greetings, Friend – From Me To You. Hope Your Day Is Filled With Love, Hope and Joy, too.” Or it may read, “Remembering special friends like you are what make my Christmas nice.” Or it may just shout the good ‘ole fashioned, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” Whatever it says, you are glad to have it, because you know that somewhere out there, a friend is thinking of you. In that moment, you’ve forgotten all about your soggy boots, the letters thrown haphazardly on the table, the goosebumps that still line your thinly clothed arms. Because there’s nothing sweeter than knowing that you are on a friend’s mind.

Keep in mind the true reason of the season, especially as the media and general public try their hardest year after busy year to trash it with wishes of money money money and gifts gifts gifts. Remember that though giving and receiving presents holds joy, they are little enough reason to rejoice for the true reason we have this holiday. Merry Christmas.

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