Forgive me Hallmark……..
Okay, so this is going to sound very strange coming from me because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE mail. I used to work in a card shop. I used to own a handmade stationery business. I used to spend hours upon hours making handmade Christmas cards. I always made them unique sizes, so the postage was always ridiculous extra. (And, honey, if you are reading this, by ridiculous extra, I really mean just a little bit more.) And because I refused to send generic holiday cards, I would also make Happy Hannukah cards for my Jewish friends and family members. I was a debutante – okay – I will give you a second to get back up off the floor and into your chair – really, I was. There are witnesses who can testify to this fact. So, I have officially been schooled in the fine art of written correspondence.
Anycard, this week, I got a note from a friend – I will call her Elaine (because that happens to be her name) – about a little boy in Michigan named Noah (yep his real name). Noah’s family is celebrating Christmas very early this year because he has cancer and he is very, very sick. They do not anticipate that Noah will make it long enough to welcome Santa on Christmas morning or leave him cookies on Christmas Eve. Noah is five years old.
Someone has decided that it would be very fun for Noah to get Christmas cards from all over the world. I immediately wrote his address down with every intention of sending Noah a card from India. However, mail is different here – my kids all wrote a letter to their grandparents. Some took 2 months to arrive. Some still have not arrived 3 months later. Unfortunately, that is a wee bit problematic.
I was thinking I could FedEx a card to Noah. That would cost about $100. Yes, it would likely mean a lot to Noah. No, it would not break my piggy bank (at least not completely). B.U.T. – it seems that the $100 would be more useful going to research so that there are no more families left who only get to spend five Christmases with their children. Fifty Christmases really aren’t enough. How do you explain only five?
Here is my thought. This year, I am going to take the money I would have normally spent on making and mailing Christmas cards and I am going to donate that money somewhere – most likely the American Cancer Society in Noah Biorkman’s name. I am going to email a Christmas letter – and a Happy Hannukah letter – to my family and friends. I am going to ask your forgiveness now for this horrible breech in written etiquette. I will remind you in my email why I am doing this and I will probably ask you again to join me. And I am going to take the time and considerable energy I was going to spend making and addressing those cards and donate it back to my family. I am going to organize something fun for us to do with the ten or so hours I normally spend telling them to be quiet so I can get those cards out. Damn it and Merry Christmas. Now leave me alone. I am busy spreading Christmas cheer.
I am going to pray for a miracle for Noah’s family.
And I am going to ask you to consider doing the same. Praying for a miracle and then donating the money you would have spent on cards to a charity of your choice. And also donating time back to your family that you would have spent on cards. And if you really don’t like your family, you can donate extra money to the charity of your choice. Or you can donate time to a charitable group.
I promise I am not suggesting that cards are not important – this is not a lifelong commitment to never doing Christmas cards again. But I think, if we all stop and think about the impact this could have on research, we will be compelled to do it. Really, if we all do it – it could change lives. And you will not have to force your kids/pets to wear matching sweaters and smile for that dreaded family photo. That, my friends, is what we call a bonus.
If you have a blog and like this idea – please feel free to share it. If you have a facebook page, please feel free to post it. If you have email, send it. Just don’t print it out and mail it (kidding). And if you have a complaint, you can put it in the circular file (only half kidding).
I had listed Noah’s address so you could send him a card if you would like, but his family posted a request for a little peace with Noah. They were graciously overwhelmed by the number of cards they received and very appreciative of the love and support from around the world, but they have already celebrated Christmas with Noah. Now they would like to focus their energy on just loving him and enjoying their time with him. So, I have deleted the address out of respect for his family.
And if you are frustrated by the early arrival of Christmas decorations on stores and songs on the radio, just remember, not everyone will be here to enjoy them at Christmas. How lucky for them that they are out early.
I am off to the post office. I am going to give it a shot. Merry early Christmas Noah.
UPDATE 2: Noah Biorkman passed away on Monday, November 23rd. The family received over 1 million early Christmas cards on Noah’s behalf. They asked again for privacy in this sad time and hope that anyone who can will consider donating money to a charity (rather than sending cards or flowers).
P.S. If anyone from Hallmark reads this blog, you can stop the madness by donating a significant amount of money to the American Cancer Society, and then we could all return to Plan A. Just a thought.