I love getting my mail this time of year. I especially love seeing it filled with colorful envelopes or glossy photo cards from friends and loved ones. Christmas letters entertain me and I am able to catch up with the happenings of everyone's past year.

I've received a few special cards this year, with messages of gratitude that have brought me to tears. One, which arrived anonymously, came on the perfect day to remind me that what I write does touch people. I will try and take that responsibility seriously and share uplifting and honest columns in the coming year.

Another card from a fellow animal lover featured a calendar with a photo of her dog atop each month. To make it even more precious, the dog was dressed in themed-costumes to fit each month. Taking it out of the envelope, I immediately let out a giggle and I've pasted it on my wall behind my computer and it continues to make me smile, as I am sure it will do throughout the year.

A few Christmas letters had me laughing and a few were gentle reminders of what is truly important during the Christmas season. I loved seeing photos of families and pets and Christmas cheer depicted on all the cards.

I always have good intentions to send out a Christmas card and letter each year, but I tend to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday events and lose sight of that goal as December passes quickly into January.

After adopting my two cats, Alice and Jasper, this summer, I tried to come up with something clever to stage for a Christmas card, but they weren't very cooperative and my ideas were just not quite right either. Merry Mischief and Happy Homewrecking aren't the kind of greetings I wanted to send - though the photos would have inspired a few laughs from the recipients!

It's been a busy year, but to write about 2013 in review for a Christmas letter would not have been that exciting either. It's much more fun to tell cat stories and I fear that would have elicited some concern that I am finally becoming that "crazy old cat lady" that lives down the street!

I suppose I could have gone through all of my columns from the past year and compiled some sort of collage of events, but that seemed redundant somehow.

As I write this, I have not yet received the Christmas letter I look forward to the most - a letter from a friend who always shares an insightful and meaningful message about the season while incorporating snippets of news of her family. It's always a well-crafted letter and one I cherish, usually reading it several times before tucking it away in my Christmas box with the rest of my cards and letters. I hope it is in the mail sometime soon! Sadly, she doesn't receive the newspaper, so I can't even use this opportunity to send a gentle nudge or hint!

I tend to overthink this whole matter and have probably made the project seem more complicated than it really should be. Sometimes a simple card with a heartfelt message, however long, brings just the right amount of cheer and arrives at just the right time.

So, while I won't likely get those Christmas cards and letters in the mail in time to wish my friends and loved ones a Merry Christmas, I will take the opportunity to wish you all a love-filled holiday and cheer and good health for the new year.

Thank you to all those who have included me on their Christmas card list. Your greetings are appreciated and cherished!

Now, I need to run out to the mailbox to see if any more colorful envelopes have been delivered! I do love getting the mail this time of year!

Merry Christmas!