It’s the time of year again for many people to write Christmas cards (or perhaps you are more organised than me and did it weeks ago – we received our first one at the end of November this year!) and I was having a discussion with some friends about how difficult it can be to go through the Christmas card list and decide whether or not to send to those people whose only correspondence for the past few years has been an annual card.
In her TV series, Life Laundry, declutter expert Dawna Walter employed a strict ‘use it or lose it’ regime. When her clients longed to hold on to something for sentimental reasons, she insisted that the object was out on display or used regularly. Otherwise, she argued, it’s just sentimental clutter.
I believe that this approach can work with your Christmas card list (or, if you don’t do Christmas, with your address book). In short, if you don’t use your friendship, it’s just sentimental clutter. After all, the very act of sending Christmas cards should be done out of love, not duty.
Go through your list or your address book and identify those cards you have been sending purely in the name of reciprocation for years. Once you have a list of names, spend some time reminiscing about the relationships you had with these people. Go through old photo albums and diaries, if it helps.
Look into your heart and explore whether you wish to hold on to this connection. If not, let it go in a spirit of love and thanks. Maybe write a letter of appreciation and acknowlegment of your former relationship, maybe just don’t send them a card, but do whatever you decide to do, do it with a positive, grateful attitude (and remember, it doesn’t mean you have to never see them again). If you do want to re- establish a connection, explore the basis on which you would ideally rebuild your friendship, and act accordingly. Then, writing your Christmas cards should be the guilt-free joy it’s supposed to be!