This year, in company with many other people, I sent Christmas cards that I had made myself and far fewer than ever before. I also cut back drastically on the number and size of the presents I gave.
As a compromise I gave what I think of as my ‘When a card is not enough…’ gifts to those people to whom I wanted to give more than a card, but for whom I could not afford a gift.
I took two of my favourite poems, In a Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti and When the North Wind Doth Blow, traditional rhyme I remember from my own childhood and which I taught to my children many years ago. I painted robin pictures to illustrate the nursery rhyme (and these also became my Christmas card designs) and searched out chilly pictures from last years’ snowy time to illustrate a modified version of the Rossetti poem.
With some fiddling on the computer I fashioned small A6 books, printed them and sent these as a card and gift combined. And so, for the price of a second class stamp and a little printer ink, I had sent gift and card combined.
Imagine my delight when I received a phone call this morning from an ecstatic friend who had received one of these ‘more than cards’. In the post I also received a thank you note from a recipient of the midwinter book. What a surprise!
The compliments paid made me blush and do not need to be repeated, but suffice it to say that a little thought …not to mention the happy time spent painting the cheeky robins and searching out just the right image to suit Rossetti’s words…had produced a more dramatic result from my friends than any present I have ever bought and given before.
The moral of this little tale is twofold I think. Firstly home-made gifts become treasures and secondly a small thank you goes a very, very long way.
What a great way to end 2013…Happy New year to anyone reading this.