Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Do You Miss Christmas Cards?

I really do miss sending and receiving Christmas cards. Do you find that you're receiving fewer of them than in the past? We certainly do.

This isn't really meant as a complaint. In fact, I understand some of the reasons behind the drop (or at least I think I do). We used to send out a big pile of cards every Christmas ourselves, along with our annual letter and my annual advent poem. In recent years, we've dropped back to just the letter and poem and usually send that via email in order to save postage. We still send a few cards to a handful of friends who don't have email. But with stamps at 41 cents, if we really wanted to send out cards to everyone we'd love to be in touch with (including far-flung friends we're not in touch with much at other times of year) we'd probably be spending at least $50 just in stamps, and that's not possible for us right now.

I also think that many people in our generation (and the younger generations) just don't seem to get into sending cards. Maybe they feel it's too old-fashioned, or takes too long. Believe me, I love hearing from friends via many different mediums, including electronic ones, but I miss the old-fashioned, time-consuming and time-honored exchange of actual Christmas cards. (I confess I miss old-fashioned letters too!)

This year I haven't even bothered getting out the lovely Christmas tray where I usually keep the stack of cards. A stack hasn't materialized. I still can't quite help myself, feeling the slight tingle of expectation when I go to the mailbox, but most days there's nothing there but bills and flyers from stores trying to get us to rack up more bills. Yuk.

So I'm not really dreaming of a white Christmas this year so much as I'm dreaming of a creamy envelope with a bit of gold foil on the flap. A colorful stamp. A card that when you pull it out, you catch your breath because it reminds you, for an aching moment, of the majesty of the season and all the real reasons we celebrate it. Signed by someone you love, but maybe haven't seen in a while, who took the time to send the card to you just because this time of year we do that kind of thing.

4 comments:

Erin said...

*Sigh* I love Christmas cards... And I definitely have been eagerly investigating the mailbox. I've actually gotten two so far, which isn't huge but still makes me happy. And my parents have gotten more than that. I love correspondence of all kinds, but good old-fashioned Christmas cards are extra nice...

Beth said...

Ah, Erin. I'm so glad we share old-fashioned sensibilities!

We've received one card by regular mail this year so far. One. And yes, I'm grateful for it. :-) But I do miss the old days when I would not only collect a lovely stack of them, but when I got to my Mom's house to visit, she and I would sit down and ooh and ahh over their much bigger stack. I do wonder if this isn't, at least in part, a generational thing!

Paul & Kim said...

Oh my gosh. I feel the same way. I used to sent out lots of cards and got lots back. We haven't sent out in about six years and the pile has dwindled. This year we're sending out (by the way, keep checking your mailbox ;-) ) so it will be interesting to see if the pile jumps back to life. I love to send cards, but I hate to send boring ones. I at least need to put a picture in or something.

Beth said...

Well, we've gotten three more since I posted my pitiful whine here. :-) Although I must add that none of the people we got them from read this blog!

I'm trying to find time to work on our annual Christmas letter. I think I finally finished my advent poem, so now it's just a matter of getting the letter done and out. Feeling a bit crunched with travels nearly upon us again, and final papers rolling in from my students...