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That Troublesome Christmas Rush
By Patricia Ouellette

Christmas is a time for giving and sharing, for family and friends to get together and enjoy each other. We spend hours jostling the crowds as we go shopping for that special gift for Mom and Dad and all the kids. Juggling the budget so that no one misses out, making sure there is enough left to buy the Christmas ham. Then sitting on the living room floor we get ourselves tangled up in wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and sticking tape as we endeavor to wrap our gifts perfectly.

When we are done it is a rush trip to the post office in an attempt to beat that deadline for overseas post, to be sure that our loved ones who live in other parts of the world will get their cards and gifts in time for Christmas morning.

Exhausted we return home and wonder if there is an easier way, to avoid all this hustle and bustle every year with that troublesome Christmas rush.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and good cheer. I have to say, there was a time when I dreaded turning the page on the calendar to December, thinking, "Here we go again!"

Like a lot of families, my family is spread across the four corners of this planet. It has always baffled me how the postage of sending cards alone costs more than the cards themselves. I had to look for cheaper cards, which never conveyed the message I really would have liked, so that my budget would stretch enough to get one for each person on my list.

One year (it would have been about eight years ago now) I was looking through a web page on the Internet and saw ĎFree Greeting Cardsí. Curious, I walked my way through the site and, lo and behold, there was a wonderful display of greeting cards designed in the most beautiful way. I spent hours browsing around all the cards and testing them out. I must have sent myself dozens of cards just to see what they looked like.

Thank you Jesus, my prayers had been answered! No more Christmas post rush for me. I only had two people who lived overseas that didnít have computers on the Internet; everyone else was about to get a personalized electronic greeting card for Christmas.

Electronic greeting cards, or e-greetings/e-cards as they are more commonly known, are wonderful for any occasion. Through the years it has become a big business and a lot of the sites that were free now charge a yearly membership fee. However there are still some free ones on the net today.

That first card site I stumbled upon eight years ago, Heavenly Angel Winks is still there and still free. It covers every conceivable event, milestone, celebration and purpose for sending a card you could think off. It also has so many different designs, music, poems and so much more to choose from.

Angel Winks has both secular and Christian cards including a lot of our kids favorite cartoon characters. It has always been my all time favorite site.

DaySpring is another favorite of mine. These cards are truly inspirational. Every card they have on their site is for the glory of our Father God. No matter if you select a birthday or Christmas card, it will plant seeds of hope and Godís love into the recipient. I especially love their encouragement cards; they are great to send to someone you know who needs uplifting spiritually and emotionally.

At one time it was hard to find good quality Christian cards on the Internet, but these days there are more and more sites opening up. The designs are highly professional and artistic. One of the greatest perks of sending e-greetings and e-cards is that they have music and can incorporate mini movies (flash) and animations. There are even some that are interactive games, which can be played. They are great for a giggle and are so much fun; the kids love them.

I would highly recommend sending e-greetings to anyone at any time for any purpose. They are easier to send, easier on the budget and a delight to receive.

Here are some wonderful Christian sites with e-greetings and e-cards for you to explore.

DaySpring www.dayspring.com

Heavenly Angel Winks www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/7792/PostCardPageIndex.html

Ken Duncan E-Cards www.kenduncan.com/index2.htm

ChristiaNet E-Cards www.christianet.com/christianecards/

Gospel Greetings www.gospelgreeting.com/

Christianity Today E-Cards www.christianitytoday.com/ecards/

River Songs www.riversongs.com

My family and I wish you a very Merry Jesus Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year.
Trish Ouellette is a wife and step-mother of seven glorious children and three grand children. Trish and her husband Jim, run a small computer business from home, as well as two large Internet ministries, which keep her busy designing websites, fixing, upgrading and building computers and teaching computer and Internet technology. With every minute of her spare time she explores her talents in writing and art, which is available to view on her personal website Christ Driven Brush & Pen http://christdriven.evangel-list.com.

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