Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What Will You Do With Your Extra Christmas Cards?

How many extra cards do you end up with after completing your Christmas Card list? Do you toss them? Do you donate them? Do you put them aside thinking "I'll use them again next year?"

Well this past week, I was reminded by a few friends on Facebook of a great program, to honor our military heroes; Holiday Mail for Heroes. I'm not exactly sure at what point I stopped doing this, most likely when I became a mom and my attention was turned elsewhere, but in my early 20's I would always include military service men and women in my Christmas card list. It's awesome to think about them year around, but during the holidays it can bring a definite sparkle of cheer, during a difficult and lonely time for many.

So this year, I've decided that all of my extra cards are going to be sent off. I don't know how many that will be yet, but however many, I've dedicated myself to mailing them to the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Nothing says you care more, then taking a few minutes to hand write a note. Sending cards, letters and thank you notes is something that doesn't happen often enough these days. Emails and typed letters are great, but hand written letters can become a treasure.

Your holiday card should be addressed to the following address and the deadline date is December 6th. 

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Here are some additional guidelines listed on the Red Cross site. 

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.
Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.
Here's a short news clip, showing exactly how the program works.

Here's another video, showing deliveries in action.

It might be a little late this year, but why not host a card making party next year. And if you do, don't forget the children. It's a great learning experience and service opportunity for youth of all ages. As seen in the previous video, sometimes those homemade cards from the kids are their favorites and mean the most.

After watching several videos on Holiday mail for Heroes activities, I'm also going to commit to making my Veterans Day in 2014 more productive and host a card making party. So all my friends, mark your calendar and keep Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 open.

Now, I'll end with a Hallmark happy moment. This didn't come to mind, until after I started this post, but if you've read my blog at all, you'll know that I'm a huge Hallmark Channel Christmas movie junkie. I DVR them, I watch them year around. November thru December, my dial pretty much stays on the Hallmark channel. I don't always watch them minute, by minute, but they are on in the background most of the time and just the familiarity of it all makes me smile. One of my favorites is The Christmas Card. I've watched this particular one, so many times that even my husband  took notice last year. I guess I compare it to the Matrix or True Lies. No matter when those movies are on TV, my husband will be watching them. Last year, Hallmark did a viewer survey about which Hallmark Christmas movie was the viewers favorite and hands down, The Christmas Card won. It's not an award winning movie, but I think it's the spirit of that connection that so many talked about about in the videos I've shared. If you'd like to see a preview, check it out HERE :

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