Over the past few years I have taken to reusing cards that people have thoughtfully sent to me. I have a pile of beautiful cards that consist solely of the front cover of the original greeting. When an appropriate occasion arises, I inscribe a message on the blank side, make or find an envelope that will fit the card, and entrust it to the U.S. Postal Service. This approach has worked swimmingly in the past, especially when I have had extra envelopes of the appropriate size lying around waiting to be useful in some capacity. When I have had only one or two odd sized cards to be sent, I have handmade the envelopes, with much creative glee.
On Sunday night, however, I found myself with twelve holiday cards of various sizes and only one perfectly sized envelope. My frugal self was disgusted by the idea of buying envelopes after lovingly reclaiming all of these beautiful cards - for free, so I had to find another solution. I thought, I'll just make envelopes using a roll of white paper that I had lying around. This idea was good in theory, not in practice.
On my first envelope-making attempt, I found that the white paper was sufficiently see-through such that it would not work as envelope material. When I my first solution turned out to be unworkable, I became instantly frustrated as I had sufficient holiday cards with which to greet my loved ones and no way to tell the post office where to deliver them. It also piqued the ire of my inner "good girl" whose perfectionist personality demanded that my holiday cards look like every one I had already received: white envelope closed on three sides, glue stick flap, some with gold foil, all perfectly normal. Oh, and mailed on Monday.
With my inner "good girl" screaming that once again I hadn't prepared appropriately and now would be unable to send my cards in time for the holiday, a beautifully freeing thought occurred to me: Envelopes? - merely a suggestion (a phrase borrowed from Jack Sparrow and brought to my attention lately by a close friend). Just because a standard envelope is the traditionally accepted way to mail cards to people doesn't in fact mean that every card needs to be in one. I took stock of my resources; I did not have envelopes, but I did have wrapping paper. I asked "good girl" to be flexible, called on my inner "artist" and wrapped each card like a present. It served the purpose, looked festive, thrilled my artistic side, and was a small victory for me in redefining "the rules" and practicing "doing it my way." Here is the result of my rule breaking:
p.s. one of my cards was returned to me today, 12/22/10. I will let you know if this was an anomaly and this little rule breaking experiment succeeds in practice. :)