Dear Annie: It's time to send out my annual Christmas cards to family and friends, a tradition I have enjoyed for nearly 25 years. I look forward to receiving cards every year and joyfully hang them in a visible location for the winter as a reminder of the friendship we share.
Unfortunately, I have seen a significant decline in people who exchange cards in recent years. Last year, less than half of the people I sent cards to sent me one in return. They say they're too busy or just can't be bothered with the task. Mostly, I receive no response at all. Should I stop sending holiday cards to these people? I'm just wondering. — Lonely Mailbox
Dear Lonely Mailbox: Fewer people might send cards in the mail these days, but that's all the more reason to send them: Opening one's mailbox and finding a thoughtful, personal piece of correspondence is more exciting than ever. So please, don't stop spreading that Christmas cheer for as long as it makes you jolly. And read on for some inspiration for your mailing list next year.
Dear Annie: Could you please write about the address to send soldiers Christmas cards? — Thinking of Our Troops at Christmas
Dear Thinking: United Soldiers and Sailors of America collects Christmas cards from civilians and mails them directly to troops deployed around the world. The deadline has passed for this year, but I'm happy to print this information so that readers might make a note of it for next year.
USASOA asks that you leave card envelopes blank and do not seal them; place all cards in a larger envelope or box and mail them to United Soldiers and Sailors of America, 700 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Suite 2104, Washington, DC, 20003. They also ask that you include your name and return address on the exterior of the larger envelope or box in which you are mailing the Christmas cards so that USASOA can send you a thank-you card.
All that said, writing to soldiers needn't be limited to the holidays. Consider joining an organization such as Soldiers' Angels (https://soldiersangels.org/) or Operation Gratitude (https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/write-letters/) to write letters to deployed troops throughout the year.
Dear Annie: Regarding "Suds to My Elbows," who is tired of guests not helping clean up after holiday dinners: May I suggest a chore sign-up sheet, labeled something neutral and diplomatic such as "Contribution Sign-Up Sheet." Email it to each family/guest a couple of weeks or a month ahead of time, and let them know that this is a new way to keep the chore contributions fairly even. I'm going to suggest it for our family this year, as I am one of the few that always helps! Good luck! — B.
Dear B: This is an interesting idea, and I appreciate how straightforward and direct a solution it is. I'd be curious to hear how it works out for you this year. Please let us know.
Dear Annie: I wish you had asked in your response if this woman expects her brother or husband to clean up, or just the sister(s)-in-law? Why is it the women-folk are expected to do all the work and wait on the men while the guys watch football and drink beer?
Maybe if the work were actually shared, the sister-in-law would be more inclined to pitch in. — Done With That
Dear Done With That: You pose a fair question, so I'm printing your letter. Many hands make light work.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]