Since July, I have been doing something that, for me is so simple and ordinary, but apparently, it’s a big deal.
In July, I made the decision to start celebrating the birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations of other people…. and not just the small group of family and friends I normally celebrated. About once a week, usually on Thursdays, I sit down at my personal computer with what the other half nicknamed my “Big Box of Joy,” my purple unicorn address book, some coffee in one of my favorite writing-related mugs, and start handwriting. Each week, I check the family calendar I created on Google years ago, my church’s celebration’s calendar, and even social media like Facebook to get the week’s worth of birthdays and celebrations. Armed with plenty of stamps, stickers and pens, I write a small message in each card, sign and address it, seal the envelope with a sticker and then stamp it and put it out to be mailed.
I say it’s a simple thing for me to do because I have always loved mailing things to people. The joy I get just writing a card that someone else will read is enough for me to keep doing this. And while email is great, as is the convenience of sending a text message, a card is a tangible thing I can do to spread a little kindness in the world. Since I already write more naturally than I can even speak, it just is a simple extension of what I have always enjoyed doing.
My project has kind of snowballed since July, as I find more and more people to send cards and even letters to. I’ve been collecting addresses of friends, old and new, as I can and making sure they get something to celebrate them when I am able. I also added a project writing to friends’ kids and even friends away at college or away from home once a month, making sure they get some sort of written note to brighten their day despite the stresses of college or early adulting. The holidays this year was a huge project – on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, I created a reel sharing that I had sent out over 250 holiday cards (and yes, I ended up with a cramped hand at times!):
Friends who found out about this project early on have helped, buying me books of stamps to help cut down the cost or giving me cards or stickers that they may have had. With the price of postage and even cards continuing to rise, it does get expensive, but right now, I have the means and the time to do this, so I do it every week, making sure others have some sort of joy. And I have fun doing it.
So why this post? And why title it “Glad Tidings?”
I’m not posting this today as a brag. Far from it. I wasn’t even letting people know I was doing this for the first several months of the project. But friends have encouraged me that I should share this in hopes of inspiring others to find some way to spread a little kindness, joy, hope, love and even peace in this world.
As for the tidings part……
When I was a child, I somehow got confused when I heard the lyric “oh tidings of comfort and joy” in the song God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman. I thought the “tidings” were messages sent by cards. And since the song was a Christmas carol, I assumed, albeit incorrectly, that tidings meant Christmas cards in general. So, every year since, I have thought of the Christmas card collections that I receive from my kith and kin as my tidings of comfort and joy. And every time I have sent out a Christmas card in particular, I thought I was sending out tidings of comfort and joy as well.
But these cards are, in essence, good news. They are connections made in kindness. They are time taken to make sure someone else is remembered. And even when I receive a card in which my name is spelled wrong (for the K. in K. S. Wood stands for Kelley, not Kelly), I know the person who wrote it still managed to find the time and the sixty some odd cents to mail me a card.
They are, for me at least, a moment to do some good in this world. I know not everyone likes to handwrite a card and address it and put it in the mail. But it’s something I have done since I was a small child just barely old enough to even try to write, and the socially awkward, introverted part of me prefers this to phone calls or face to face greetings. It’s as natural to me as the inner monologue that runs through my head each and every day, composing things as a write should. And it’s my magical way to bring some good news of great joy to people.
I hope to continue to do this kind of thing for as long as I can. After all, this is one way for me to reach out to others and show them that there is a bit of good in this world. While I may trip over my “you’re welcome” when someone thanks me for doing this (since I don’t expect any rewards for this), I accept that others find this to be an extraordinary thing.
It is part of the magic I hope to continue to write. Just as I hope that all of you, my dear readers, will find some way to reach out and connect with others in whatever niche you may be able to find.
**Side note – if you ever want me to send you a hand written note, feel free to contact me with your address at any of my social medias or email and I will add it to my growing collection!**
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