It’s a lot harder than you would think to write a Christmas card to someone you don’t know.
It’s a card addressed to someone who is isolated in the community and needs some cheer this holiday season.
When I heard about the Maple Ridge Community Foundation’s Season of Giving Community Card Project, I immediately signed up.
For the project, participants were asked to email their full name and address to the foundation. Then on Dec. 11, everyone who signed up received the names and addresses of up to six other people – three or four seniors in need and up to two others who are also participating in the project.
Participants were then directed to write a Christmas card for each person on their list.
The names of seniors in need were gathered from the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Seniors Network and Ridge Meadows Seniors Society.
Participants either mailed off their cards or delivered them in person to the foundation or seniors society.
I thought this would be a great way to spend time with my son, who is five, and show him that there are people out there who are not as fortunate as us.
Brenda Norrie, with the community foundation, came up with the idea for the project.
“I know that with COVID, seniors who were already isolated are even more so now. And I know that people in our community are looking for a way to stay connected and give back,” said Norrie, explaining that by simply sending Christmas cards, it helps fill both needs at the same time.
There are 135 people who signed up, said Norrie, and about the same number of seniors who will be receiving the cards.
There were lots of families, like mine, that are participating together.
“I know that they are missing that social connection with their friends and family and they’re recognizing that there is such a huge need in our community,” Norrie said of the participants.
She described it as an inexpensive and easy way to contribute, that’s not time consuming.
In addition to the addresses, a list of ideas to write about was also included.
Ideas revolved around talking about how a stranger brightened your day, what you enjoy about the holiday season, your favourite memories of Christmas, how everyone is important and part of the community, and how you hope the card will make them feel.
When I sat down with Connor, I asked him what he enjoys most about Christmas.
“Opening presents,” he said.
“What if that person doesn’t receive any presents,” I asked.
He pondered the question.
I attempted to change course.
“What is your favourite Christmas memory,” I then asked.
“Opening presents on Christmas morning,” he replied.
Clearly I had to prompt him further to get him to think a little more about his answers.
I asked him if he enjoys watching the Christmas specials on TV and he rattled off a list of his favourites – Rudoph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Elf.
Then I asked him what he misses most this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He told me he misses going to see the big Christmas light displays, and not being able to see friends and family.
I reminded him that the people we were writing to were also feeling lonely this Christmas.
Again this caused him to think.
We decided that I would write out the Christmas cards and he would draw a little picture in each.
Whether he fully got what we are doing, I’m not entirely sure.
But, we had fun doing it. It took little time and six stamps.
I hope it brings some joy to someone in the community who needs it this season.
For more information about the Maple Ridge Community Foundation go to mrcf.ca.