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Have you noticed that no one ever addresses the Christmas card thing? The card list gets longer and longer every year and we agonize about how to trim it back to a sane length again. Some people state that at Christmas you should do only what you feel comfortable doing. Imagine a person with a Christmas card list of 150 people.

Postage costs never quite stick a pin in the balloon which gets bigger year after year. We know we can afford the postage because it is a one-time thing, and after all, "It's Christmas!"

But the real issue is: who gets cut from the Christmas card list? How do you do that one? Because you know just as well as I do, the names you cut are precisely the ones you will be getting cards from for your mantelpiece in the living room. (sigh) So, year after year I agonize about how to trim the list.

Up in our attic this year, I have set aside an ad for cleft-lip surgery where you can send a given amount for one complete surgery for one complete child. I am thinking what a blessed change of pace it would be for us at Christmas if we didn't "do" the cards-and-glitter thing, kept the decorating to a bare minimum (tasteful and not too in-your-face) and went for the surgery for an anonymous child to repair cleft-lip, instead.

Is that not what Christmas is all about? Caring for others? Knowing we had underwritten such a surgery for someone who could not afford it is so in the Spirit of Christmas. I offer this as just a thought or nudge to remind all of us what Christmas is all about: Caring. Loving. Being connected through caring and loving. It is not about the perfect dinner or the perfect toy.

Think how that family would feel when their child's face looks normal again. I am leaning toward this kind of Christmas celebration this year. I hope my thoughts here have helped someone re-think their priorities about the fancy decorations and gift extravaganzas for everyone from the mall. How did we ever become so mercenary?

It's almost as if you refrain from sending cards in lieu of cleft-lip repair surgery for a single child you go through a kind of psychological withdrawal because you have changed the routines and the annual agenda (lol).

In closing, they say if you want to change a habit, stay with the new way for 21 days and it will have begun to "take." It will over-ride the old habit.

I send these thoughts in an attempt to offer an alternative to the usual Christmas chaos and guilting ourselves into financial ruin.

And last, but not least, MERRY CHRISTMAS, Everyone - !

Sent with positive energies from Chris in South Portland, Maine, U.S.A. (22 October 2009)

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