Tuesday 10 January 2012

Christmas Cards

I received a Christmas card from a friend in Ontario yesterday. It seems that she had lost my address and had to wait until she received a card from me in order to get my address. Uh-huh!
I guess that we have gotten about three or four late cards. The only problem that I have with getting Christmas cards late is that I don’t get to display them for very long or at all. To tell you the truth, I am just thrilled to get them at all. There has been a trend over the past few decades to cut down or even to eliminate sending cards altogether. When I was a boy, my mom and dad would send about 250 cards out at Christmas time and consequently would receive roughly the same amount back. God I loved those cards!
Every card was different. Some had religious themes (not my favourite), a large majority had pictures and drawings of Santa Claus (my favourite), quite a few had cartoon elves, angels, snowmen, winter scenes, drawings of a night sky with a very bright star and all of them were signed by the sender. Most of the cards had short notes wishing the best of the season and assuring us that everyone was fine. Some had longer letters included that would tell us how their family had managed to make it through yet another year. They were very magical in my mind.
No one sends that many cards anymore. Partly because of the cost of stamps and cards make it an added expense that some feel is unwarranted. Personally, I don’t think that I even know 250 people, I can barely remember the names of the few friends that I do have. Other forms of communication have replaced the Christmas card as well. When the phone rates came down a lot of people felt it was better to call and talk in person, and it is very nice. With the advent of email, skype and other electronic media, not only can we talk to the person, but in many cases we can see them as well. This is also very nice.
I still like to send cards though. I guess it makes me feel that a part of me goes with it and resides in their home for the duration of the holidays, like a kind-hearted, invisible stalker. We put our cards up on the hall wall and every time that I walk by I will look at one or the other and think of that person. Well, sometimes I catch my arm on one and swear at the person in question, but it is good hearted swearing. Sort of. I make a list of who I sent cards to and who I received cards from, not to keep track and balance the books next year, but to insure that if we missed sending one or receiving one I can make a call to see if all is well in the New Year.
Every year, Louise will write a letter to include with the card. You know the letter; it tells people of our successes throughout the year and plays down our failures. I tried writing a newsy type Christmas letter once, but shortly after the first paragraph it begins to spiral out of control and inevitably gets a little odd and sometimes more than a little weird. This year I didn’t include one in the cards that I sent. Louise wrote a letter, but it sits waiting patiently in some file in the computer labelled “Christmas Letter 2011”. I meant to send it in an email to those that I don’t see or talk to regularly, but I have yet to get around to it. I suppose I thought that writing this blog was enough. Not everyone actually reads this though and I suppose that in the next week or so I should send the letter. I might just wait and send the 2012 letter instead. Not much is really happening in my life that can’t wait a year.

The intent of this blog was to encourage people to continue to write letters and cards, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. It is much more enjoyable to receive a letter or card than to get an email. Well, that is my opinion anyways. I still like emails, but they are so ephemeral and lately I don’t always get to all of the emails.
Next year, make sure to send a card to someone that never sends you one and see if you get one back. You just might find that you have a good friend you didn’t know about; at the very least you might make them a little uncomfortable.

1 comment:

  1. OK I'm going to add you to my Xmas card list, which is fairly long already but like you I enjoy reding Xmas cards from distant places. B