Oklahoma's "Christmas Card Man" gives out thousands each year
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Saturday, December 01, 2012
12/01/12 at 7:10 AM
ROLAND - Most people think about Christmas just one month out of the year, but for Patrick Osborne, it is a yearlong labor of love.
He calls himself the "Christmas Card Man." He even had a T-shirt made to prove it, and throughout the year he fills out thousands of cards to give to people.
"I start right after Christmas for the next year," said Osborne, who has lived in and around his hometown of Roland in Sequoyah County his entire life.
The Christmas card project started almost 15 years ago when Osborne was living in Evening Shade Residential Care home in Vian.
"A lot of people I saw didn't get anything from their kinfolk," he said, so he gave out about 60 cards to fellow residents that first year.
He expanded to nursing homes, business owners, city employees, inmates in area jails, teachers and residents. Six years ago he started adding celebrities, politicians, world leaders and athletes to his mailing lists.
His Christmas card project has now grown to about 3,000 cards this year.
"Now it's a force of habit," Osborne said.
Sometimes the people he sends cards to reciprocate, including Robert Duvall, Drew Carey, Jay Leno, and the casts of "Grey's Anatomy" and "7th Heaven." He has received cards and letters from George W. and Laura Bush, members of the British royal family and the pope.
Although he's proud of the responses he gets from celebrities and leaders from around the world, three-quarters of the cards he gives out go to those closer to home in Roland, Muldrow, Sallisaw and Fort Smith, Ark.
Osborne said he would like to send cards to those serving in the military as well, but it's difficult to get addresses, and the cost is more than he can afford.
Osborne spends most of his early afternoons at the Roland Nutrition Center, a headquarters of sorts, for his project.
Frances Gann is manager of the center, and she said she appreciates what he does and why he does it.
"I think it's good. He gets in touch with a lot of people," Gann said, adding that it's not as easy as it seems. "There's a lot of work to it. He gives them out everywhere."
Word of his efforts has gotten out, and some people now donate their extra cards to him. He has also gotten donations to help offset the cost of stamps.
Osborne likes to hand-deliver to teachers, local businesses, people living in nursing homes, people working at the city offices and court house, and even those in jail.
"There's a lot of people who never get anything. I want to make sure they get something on one day," he said, and reactions are almost always positive. "They thank me for them. Some people, when I'm out in the community, they can't believe I'm handing out cards."
Notables who responded to the Christmas Card Man
Celebrities and leaders he has received cards and letters from:
- 60 cards sent the first year, about 15 years ago
- About 3,000 cards in 2012
Original Print Headline: A card act to follow
- George W. and Laura Bush
- Robert Duvall
- "Price is Right's" Drew Carey
- "Tonight Show's" Jay Leno
- "The Big Bang Theory's" Kaley Cuoco
- Casts of "Grey's Anatomy" and "7th Heaven"
- The Duggar family
- Jennifer Garner
- George Lopez
- Royal family members in Britain, Spain, Germany, Monaco, Norway
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465
Patrick Osborne talks about cards he received from celebrities in years past. Last year he sent out 2,000 cards to people as varied as politicians, musicians, athletes, academics and actors from across the world. He plans to send closer to 3,000 this year. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Osborne has received responses from a number of celebrities and leaders around the world. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Sitting in his car outside the post office in Roland, Patrick Osborne reads a card he got in the mail Tuesday. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World