Monday, December 18, 2006

A Radical Idea

I'm considering a radical idea for next Christmas -- sending old-fashioned Christmas cards via the post office.

A few years ago, we still did that, even though we usually included a family letter as well. Gradually we stopped sending the card and just sent the letter, and in the past couple of years, we've usually sent the letter via e-mail only (except for the few people on our list who don't have email).

Part of my original reason for switching to email letter only was time. It took so much time, I reasoned, to hand address cards. E-mail is much faster and more efficient.

But tonight, as I struggled to format photos in our annual letter, only to discover (non-tech me) that I've somehow not compressed them enough and the letter's too big to be sent easily, it occurred to me that I'm probably spending just as much time creating and formatting and sending a letter by email as I ever did hand-addressing envelopes. And it's a whole lot less personal feeling.

There's something magical about Christmas cards. The bright colors, the shiny pictures, the beautiful green or red or creamy or even gold-foil lined envelopes. I used to use green or red pens to address them. And when you address a card to someone, you can add a note that's just for them -- and you can pray for the person/ family while you address the card as well. And then there's the beautiful Christmas stamp.

I miss Christmas cards, sending them as well as receiving them. Like us, many people have dropped the card-sending habit entirely. We used to receive lots -- I still have the cards we've received during each year of our marriage (though I've been going through some of the oldest ones and pulling out some to use for craft/ornament projects with the sweet reason I kept them all those years ago, for just such a time as this!). I remember how my parents used to tape the Christmas cards we got on the stair railings. I've had years when I put them up on the wall. But now, each year, we seem to receive fewer and fewer of them. We still get a number of Christmas letters, often by email, and we've even gotten some Christmas e-cards. But we've only gotten a very few in the mail.

I miss the expectancy of opening the mailbox during advent and looking eagerly for green and red envelopes. I miss the slow care it takes to write someone's address and to think about them while I write it. I miss Christmas cards.

Remind me of this next year...around the first of November!

1 comment:

Erin said...

There is something special about Christmas cards, isn't there? We still had all of ours from last year sitting in a little bin in our living room and just now, as we received a couple in the mail, bundled up the old ones to put away somewhere (though it hasn't gotten to that point yet; they're still sitting on the card table, which we really need to take down if we're ever going to get a tree...) I love getting letters over e-mail too though; the great thing about that is it can happen at any time, not just once a day like regular mail! But this time of year is nice, when there's actually the decent possibility of something worthwhile in the mailbox...