Tucked away on the tallest shelf in my bedroom closet are shoe boxes filled with cards and letters from people the nearest to my heart. Do you have a box or a bin like that?

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I'm a sucker for all things sentimental and have been my entire life, but as I've stepped on to the edge of middle age where grandparents, parents of classmates, and even kids I grew up with and have been close to my whole life have been dying in alarming numbers, I've found that I cling to sentiments even tighter.

My shoe boxes hold every single card, letter, or drawing ever given to me by my grandparents, parents, siblings, and my husband. New to the mix are cards given to me by my son and one day, if he ever writes letters to me, those will be tucked away, too.

One of my favorite things to do each Christmas is to pull out my box of Christmas cards to read special messages from special people. They make me laugh, and they make me cry, but most of all, they flood me with memories. And this is why I'm hating myself right now. I have failed Christmas and I'm a little bit sorry and a little bit not.

You see, for the first time since I moved away from home 23 years ago, I am not sending out Christmas cards. None. Not one single card is going to be popped into the mail this year to a family member or friend. An internal war is waging inside of me.

On one hand, I find myself thinking: Will people be sad? Will they even notice I didn't send a card? What if its a loved one's last Christmas on earth and I'm the only one who didn't send them a greeting of love. Will they know I loved them? Am I letting people down? Will people think they're not a priority in my life or that I'm upset with them if they don't receive their yearly card?

On the other hand, I find myself thinking: I'm a wife and mom who has a full time job and who also homeschools full time while constantly pulling off acts of service and jumping in to help in whatever activities I'm asked to participate in even though I'm already stretched beyond my limit. I also have 20,000 Christmas cards sitting in my basement that I still have to finish sorting and schedule for delivery to local nursing homes through the Christmas Card Campaign my husband and I orchestrate.

Oh how the justification takes over so much of my thinking whenever guilt begins to seep in and I hate myself even more for making a vow that once I put my foot down about something, I would stay steadfast in my decision.

If you're not doing Christmas cards this year and are feeling plagued with guilt and self loathing, I have no words of advice or encouragement to offer you but I stand with you because I'm sure you've got a perfectly good reason for not doing so.

If you're a family member or friend who receives a card from me each year but don't receive one this year, I do not hate you. I have not forgotten you. I still love you. We're good, you and I. I just needed to cut something off my plate and Christmas cards was it.

Look Back at the Making Spirits Bright Christmas Card Campaign Through the Years

Traci Taylor is one half of 98.1 The Hawk's Morning Show as well as Brand Manager of Kiss 104.1. She and her family, with help from the Southern Tier Community, have been delivering Christmas cards and small gifts to nursing homes in the Twin Tiers since 2015.

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