These may seem like opposite ideas: buying and sending photo Christmas cards, and being a minimalist.
Hear me out
When I first set about simplifying my life, researching minimalism, and KonMari-ing my home, I had a guiding principle: I would not do anything that was LESS convenient or MORE stressful in the name of minimalism. I would follow simple living down any rabbit hole I desired, but not into making more work for myself.
And this is the kind of moderation I still practice. I do not count my possessions, because frankly I don’t have time and that probably doesn’t matter in the end, anyway. I don’t purge things just for the sake of purging them, if they’re still serving me. I sometimes even buy things if it becomes apparent that they would be very useful and make my daily life easier and less stressful.
One of the things that remains in my life is photo Christmas cards.
Hear me out.
Yes, it costs some money to send these. I try to spend about 30 cents a card (I have found the best prices every year through Walmart.) Add to that the nearly 50 cents of current postage, and it costs about 80 cents per card. I order 60 cards (this number has increased in recent years) so I spend about 50 dollars per Christmas.
This may seem excessive, but I choose to do it this way because I detest writing out actual Christmas cards. The first few years of our marriage I sent out handwritten Christmas cards (cutting the cost down to more like $25) but it took me a month to get it done, and I dreaded every card. I’m terrible at small talk, and writing out a Christmas card is, to me, just more small talk.
Yes, it’s a little commercial… tooting one’s own horn… “typical American”… all things I try not to be in my personal life. But this is the ONLY time of year we take a family photo, and the only photo of my children that I distribute. So I do not indulge in photo sessions, prints, grandparent photos, etc. I keep my Christmas greetings and my family photo distribution to one single activity.
This is also how I announce additions to our family. My oldest has just joined us this year, and this card is the most formal notice anyone is going to get. My middle two sons were born in November, so the yearly Christmas card replaced any kind of baby announcements. Even though the next is due in May, I included “& baby” on the list of names so at least people have an idea it’s happening. Next year’s card will be this child’s first distributed photo, even though he/she will be several months old.
In my life, photo Christmas cards are killing multiple birds with one stone, and easy for me to make and send. They cut down on stress, on the number of times I feel obligated to print photos or send notice of family events. It’s a tradition I intend to continue for the foreseeable future, even if it isn’t the most “minimalist” thing ever.