An Ozark resident wanted to bring some extra merriment to others amid the pandemic, and she has come away with a new tradition.

“Due to COVID, everyone was being sequestered and everything,” Angela Grogan said. “I love Christmas. I always have.”

Decorations would, of course, be put up, but Grogan wanted to do something more. 

“I was trying to think of something that would spread Christmas cheer and not only bring it to our household, but to everyone else also, so I started filling out Christmas cards,” Grogan said.

Starting with neighbors, family and friends, Grogan began mailing cards Nov. 1. Soon, she joined a Christmas card club online to exchange season greetings. At first, her goal was to get a Christmas card to all 50 states. She soon exceeded that.

“I’ve mailed out right about 700 cards or so, and I’ve gotten back 523 so far,” Grogan said. “I’ve received at least one card from all 50 states and received a card from nine different countries so far.”

Grogan first thought she would frame a doorway with the received cards, but they just kept coming in.

“I’ve got like three walls lined in my house totally lined, from ceiling to floor, of cards,” Grogan said. “We had so many that they wouldn’t fit in the mailbox, so (the postman) brought them to the front door, and he said (to husband, JD Harmon), ‘Your wife is quite the celebrity here at the post office.’”

This festive project has brought Grogan so much joy.

“It’s just awesome going out to check the mail every day,” Grogan said.

Many people took time to write their own messages to Grogan, and those stay with her, especially a note from one woman.

“I had been battling cancer — I’m in remission, thank goodness — but she had also battled cancer and wrote a little note, like ‘Keep your chin up and keep trusting in God,’” Grogan recalled. “It really touched my heart.”

Grogan had been battling uterine cancer and entered remission three months ago.

When she first started, Grogan said she anticipated only getting about 50 cards in return. That notion was soon squashed. She also thought they’d only need a few boxes of cards, and they’ve gone through multiple. Stamps have been in short supply at times.

“It’s been one challenge after another, but it’s been fun trying to overcome them and figure it out,” Grogan said.

Grogan has found a new tradition to carry over into future Christmastime celebrations.

“I thought the true Christmas spirit was in jeopardy, you know, that people were more about, ‘Give me the presents, give me that,’ but it really restored my faith that people still believe and still have faith in Christmas and hope,” Grogan said. "I'll be doing this every year. I would also like to send them to nursing homes and our military members serving overseas. They sometimes get forgotten."