Pantones and Paper Samples

I love paper and stationery sets, ink and type faces, envelopes with addresses stamped on just right. I can pour over books and web sites devoted to original designs for invitations of all kinds for hours. It seems then that I’d be a frequent letter sender, and embrace searching for and mailing the perfect Christmas cards with the same sort of energy I devote to fawning over all these beautiful things.

However, I just can’t seem to get behind such disposable objects and so I look at them obsessively but never touch. I suppose I could be considered a Grinch when it comes to mailing holiday cards, no matter the occasion.

But I can’t lie. There’s something about a hand-addressed envelope in our mailbox that makes coming home from work at the end of the day that much better. I love opening up the cards with Regan. I smile at the thought behind them. And then I throw the card away.

Then my mind goes into full stress mode. Have I devalued the thoughtfulness of a card by throwing it into the bin? Have I just wasted a valuable new card? Are my tendencies to not have much “stuff” making me cold-hearted? The whole card process — Christmas, Birthday or other — stresses me out in a way it shouldn’t at all.

This year wasn’t any different. I decided again to not send Christmas cards, but then I started to feel guilty when cards from others started to roll in. That’s when Regan and I decided that to some of our family members cards mean so much that it is important to make sure we send out at least a few. But given my hesitation about such disposable things I decided to use some things that were bound to make it to the garbage anyway.

Regan and I headed to his office this weekend to sort through his design firm’s archiving cabinet, which was full of paper samples from as far back as the 1980s, just waiting to be used. Scraps of Pantone paper filled a bottom drawer and I scooped up handfuls of these brightly colored partial sheets and happily headed home.

Together we used the paper samples, Pantone sheet scraps, leftover bits of yarn and my sewing machine to create simple little cards for some of those who most look forward to our holiday greetings. We fit the cards to size using a stack full of envelopes a charity had mailed us as a “thank you” (so glad we found a use for those, too!).

These are really simple cards, were fun to make and didn’t stress me out at all. Maybe I’ll start going through other people’s near-garbage with more regularity. But don’t be surprised if you never get a card from me. It’s not because I don’t care about you. I’m just saving myself from some sort of moral battle I’ve needlessly created.

Do you eagerly await mailing and receiving holiday cards?






4 responses to “Pantones and Paper Samples”

  1. Amber Avatar

    You are my role model! I wish I was half as creative and resourceful as you are.

  2. Lisa Avatar

    Those cards are just lovely, and all the more meaningful given they’re made with such care. I am not nearly as crafty, so I rely on store-bought cards each year. But it’s a tradition I love, disposable as they may be – it’s the one time of year I write out by hand the names of each of the people close to me, give some thought to their year and truly send some good vibes along with the card.

    I know they get tossed either right after reading or – if you’re like me and leave them out over the holidays – right after the new year. But then, that’s not really the point, is it? In a world where most messages don’t even exists except on a screen, I love sending off something so tangible. And I do always try to find ones made from recycled paper. 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Claire Avatar

      I love that, Lisa. And it’s so true. I absolutely get the good vibes through your handwritten notes and love it. What you say about sending out something tangible in an intangible/viral messaging world is so smart and true. Love your thoughts on Christmas cards and love getting them each year (recycled or not :)).

  3. Sara daly Brosman Avatar
    Sara daly Brosman

    I love the one that we received from you and Regan and plan on keeping it … because it is from you. January 1, I pondered over the 2010 cards to save, IF to save or what to toss. I do hold on to some to carry on a tradition that my mom created. When she pared down her belongings to go into a nursing home, she gave each of my siblings cards that she has kept over the years. I have kept the stack of cards that she gave back to me and enjoy looking at them from time to time. The stack includes homemade ones from the grandkids or from Scott and me from when I held the belief that everything I sent needed to be handmade. The longer these items are kept, the more preciuos they become. To keep your sanity though, you use discretion in deciding.

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