Family traditions are important parts of the holidays every year. They help bond families and bring even more joy to the season. For one New Hampshire woman, one special family tradition takes on a whole new meaning when she thinks about the people who aren't able to be with their loved ones this time of year.
Laura Landerman-Garber began a Thanksgiving tradition 16 years ago, where she asked her family members to write letters to members of the military overseas. According to CNN, that gesture became their "ticket to turkey," but it also helped the family appreciate their blessings while blessing someone else.
Over the years, that tradition has grown into a movement, and now Landerman-Garber leads a non-profit that sends 100,000 cards to people deployed during the holidays each year.
Landerman-Garber's service project really took off a couple of years ago, when her own daughter joined the Navy and was going to spend her holidays on an aircraft carrier. She wanted to send a card to every member of the crew, so she enlisted the help of neighbors, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, nearby churches and synagogues and more, and she actually tripled her 5,000 card goal.
When we think about the amazing men and women serving our country while we are at home celebrating our blessings, the idea of sending a card to a soldier is a small step in saying thank you. That's why the project has grown exponentially in just a few years.
Last year, Landerman-Garber gathered 50,000 cards, and this year she's already received 100,000 to send in the mail. People from 32 states across the United States, as well as Canada and Guam, have sent cards for the cause. They all write something personal in the card to make it more special, and she's even had a number of politicians, including 2020 presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden contributed cards.
For many of us, it's hard to imagine the dedication that it takes to serve your country. Being away from your family has to make it even harder, so sending a little bit of love and good wishes through a holiday card is the least that we can do to make their Christmas a little merrier.