- I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
My Thoughts on Christmas Cards
In my November 1st post, Halloween's over; time to tackle Christmas., I told you about my portable Christmas card station (PCCS). I get a box or a box lid and fill it with everything I need to send Christmas cards - cards, envelopes, stamps, address book, list of recipients, pens, lap desk. Then each day, usually after dinner but anytime I find a few minutes in my day, I'll work on the cards. I thought you might want to see a picture of it. :o) I know there are a lot of cards in my PCCS, but I don't use up all the cards in a box in one year. So I have lots of leftovers that I'll use again a few years later.
Anywho, I want to talk about what has happened to the custom of mailing Christmas cards over the last several years. In my world, I saw a huge shift occur during the holiday seasons of 2007 and 2008 and I believe part of that had to do with the downturn the US economy was taking. Most of the people I know either didn't send cards for the 1st time or really cut back on the number of cards they sent. I get it. It's an expense and time consuming! I can't tell you how many times I heard, "I'm only going to send a Christmas card to someone who sends me a Christmas card first." Very few cards were received because everyone was sitting around waiting for everyone else to send the 1st card! LOL
I used to send out almost 200 cards due to my large family. Doing cards then was a chore and not enjoyable at all. I cut that amount down because I wasn't receiving a card back from most of those people. Doing my 50-60 cards makes me happy now. I still don't receive as many as I send and I am receiving less and less cards as each year passes.
It makes me sad, however, that Christmas cards appear less personal these days. And in some instances, aren't even cards. I say "appear" because there is a lot of effort and time spent on the creation of a Christmas mailing, but then it may arrive with no personalization - the address on the envelope is typed out and nothing has been handwritten on the mailing/picture/collage.
When B was younger, I even created those beautiful Christmas mailings online with a picture or a collage of pictures on it. I loved that they came with envelopes but the stress of finding the perfect picture/pictures on my unorganized computer was too much for me. But I always wrote a personal message on the back before sending them.
I noticed something, though, when I was sending my prefab mailings - I was receiving mostly prefab mailings. I like to receive cards! I get a thrill when I open the flap of an envelope and see that it contains a card. Before pulling it out, I get a glimpse of the front and try to guess what the rest is going to be. "I see snow!" "I bet that's the robe a wise man." "Is that the side of a snowman?" Then I slide out the card and drink in the front picture. Religious? Season's greetings? I love them all! After I've had my fill of the picture and wording on the front, there comes the anticipation of the inside. "What will it say?" "What's the rest of the saying that was started on the front?" "Will it be signed by a person, with a real pen?" "Will we be able to read the handwriting?" I've never met someone who liked their own handwriting. We always think our writing looks terrible and people tell me they don't write in cards because of that. But it's never as bad as you think it is and we love to sit around in the evening and decipher handwriting. It's a family activity!
I hang every card and mailing we receive on the back of our front door so that we, and everyone who enters this house, can enjoy them. The hubs likes to come home form work and see what new ones arrived that day.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am not judging anyone who creates a mailing with pictures and pre-prints one holiday message and the family name for every card. I am not judging anyone for using a mail merge to print out the envelopes. I know the amount of time and energy it takes to create those things and I myself can't handle all that. If we're going to spend time and money creating something, it needs to be something we like and in a way we like to do it. I just grieve that the technology allowing us to do new things faster, neater, prettier means that some old ways will be discontinued.
Remember Frank Navasky from You've Got Mail? His unwillingness to trade in typewriters for a computer and his love for not only the sound of a typewriter's key but also the uneven, "personalized" typeface created by different typewriters is how I feel about Christmas cards that can open and have a handwritten message inside just for me.
I love the better quality of movies on my DVD player and am glad it was invented. However, I'm still sad that the family Betamax had to go recently because no electronics shop could repair it. I had movies in Beta form that were either so old or unpopular, they weren't remade in DVD format so I will never enjoy them again.
I know that if I get a thrill out of opening a Christmas card with a handwritten message inside, others must too, so I like to provide that. I do enjoy receiving your collages that show me the highlights in your family's lives over the past year. I read everyone of y'all's Christmas letters and laugh, applaud and cry with you. And I don't need to get anything at all to know you care, so don't stress if Christmas cards/mailing are one more thing you don't need on your plate this time of year.
If you've missed the Christmas cards of yore, let me know, and I'd be happy to add you to my Christmas card list!