MIDALE - Mariah Erickson has always enjoyed sending and receiving Christmas cards. She believes she would send out 100 in a normal year.
But this year was not a normal year. Erickson decided to up her game, and mailed out roughly 500 Christmas cards.
“I just wanted to reach a lot of people. I think it’s fun. I know it brings a lot of joy to people. It brings a lot of smiles. I know a lot of people look forward to them, so I thought why not branch out and do more people,” said Erickson.
This year she sent cards to family and friends and each person at the Mainprize Manor care home in Midale, which has 16 residents. She also sent one to the staff at the building. Each year she sends a handful of cards to Canadian troops - a tradition for her that dates back more than a decade.
Normally she would send five to members of the Canadian Forces, but this year she sent 20.
“There’s a lot that don’t get to come home for Christmas, and I feel like this is a little piece of home to come to them for Christmas. Even though it’s from a stranger, they have something to look forward to,” said Erickson.
The cards are postmarked to any veteran, rather than someone specific.
Erickson has also been working on sending cards to the children staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon.
Work on the cards started in October, and she is confident they will get to everybody before Christmas.
“I was supposed to be done, but then I kept going,” Erickson said with a laugh.
Erickson joined a few Facebook groups and for people who create Christmas cards, and her card delivery branched out from there. She has made many friends through these groups. One group is called Canada Christmas Exchange. Then there’s Seasonal Christmas Cards for all Ages, and the Great Christmas Card Exchange.
“I’ve also made friendships through a couple of these groups, and I’ve met a couple of the people,” said Erickson.
Some people in these groups have sent her cards, and so there are lots of Christmas cards in her home this year.
“It’s just awesome, really. I hope my mailbox is full of cards. I’ve always loved cards, so it just brings me joy. I think sending them is more of the highlight for me, though,” said Erickson.
With the number of cards she received, Erickson believes she has the inspiration to start creating cards of her own.
Sending cards started out with her grandmother, who is now 95 years old, and every birthday and sometimes on other occasions, she would send a card. Erickson thought she could do it, too. Lots of family members send cards, but many of them don’t, so they gave her their cards.
Erickson also purchases cards, and now she believes she has enough to last for a few years.
“My friends and family say they’re the best cards they get every year,” said Erickson. “As for the other people, the Facebook group is new for me this year, so I imagine they’re quite excited to get them.”
It’s not just Christmas cards that Erickson sends out, either. She will mail a card out to celebrate a birthday or a wedding, or to send condolences after someone has passed away. Erickson has even sent a card if someone she knows gets a new pet.
Mailing a card brings great joy for Erickson, who described it as her hobby. Plus, Christmas is her favourite time of the year. It isn’t just about the presents for her, either, Erickson said, as she loves the lights. People decorate their homes when they wouldn’t normally do it. She gets to see her family and have a good meal with them.
“I can’t do a whole lot but, I know people look forward to any card I send throughout the year. Especially at Christmas. I just want people to feel good and happy. This is one way I do that,” she said.
Some of the cards are hand delivered, but others are mailed out, so postage can be expensive. She’s not sure if she’ll distribute as many cards next year, but she knows she’ll still send a lot in 2022.