December 10: Connection
My mom was an avid participant in this tradition. Each December 26th she would stalk the sales for next year’s cards. She usually opted for gold foil cards to send to business acquaintances, and more whimsical cards for friends and family. She hand-signed each one, and for distant relatives, hand-wrote a rather lengthy message detailing the highlights of the year. It was always a special treat for me to help her stamp the cards before putting them in the mail.
I followed in Mom’s footsteps for the first few years of marriage. While labor intensive, it was a nice way to keep in contact with old friends, and it was the one time of year when I actually enjoyed venturing to the mailbox – anxious to find friendly Christmas greetings amidst the bills and junk mail addressed to “occupant”
However in this day and age of smart phones and social media, I wonder whether our children see value in this old-fashioned system of communication. We no longer pay for long distance, and texting doesn’t demand an immediate response. We can remain in contact without ever really talking with one another.
Facebook allows us to post constant status updates, and Instagram selfies (along with pet and family portraits) show the subtle visual changes as well. The need to send friends and family an annual holiday letter seems obsolete.
But I am a traditional girl. I enjoy receiving snail mail. There is something about reading a handwritten message that connects me to the sender in a way that a typed email cannot: their personality is contained within each loop, dot, and squiggle. I don’t admire the penmanship, I relish the relationship contained within the words.
So this year I will be sending a few Christmas cards to my future travel companions. I hope they enjoy receiving this antiquated form of holiday greetings; I know I will enjoy making them.