I, too, remember my mom writing out Christmas cards and of course, everyone had to have a handwritten note! And it was SOOO great receiving the cards with notes! We all just seemed to use this time of year to catch up with everyone. Now Facebook,etc. keeps us all in touch more often and I do love that, but when my mom passed away, she saved so many letters, cards, etc. and it was so great reading through them all and "getting to know" how people felt about her (us), the love they included in the notes, and just having them years later to look at and cherish. I suppose there is good and bad to both ways . . .as in life.
On the subject of cards, call me "old-fashioned". I still use the good old US Mail. To receive a card in the mailbox around the holidays is such a different feeling than an email. Plus some of the pictures printed on them are beautiful. I have even framed them and put them on display during the holiday season. I hand write a family update note in the card and always encourage a reply from the recipient so that I may know what they are up to. I love keeping in touch with everyone and when they send me a photo it's even better. Sure it is time, consuming, but even at the busiest times of my life I still managed to keep the tradition up. You just have to start a little bit earlier in writing them out. My hope is to let my friends and family feel they are important in my life with the personal touch of a hand-written note.
I share your feeling about the passing of regular letters received through the postal service. I grew up watching my mother write blue letters on tissue paper "par avion" letters to England. I love letters and I love beautiful cards and stationery. I think the computer is now the telephone and our letters are obsolete. I just donated my electric typewriter, on which I wrote my senior thesis in college, to the church bazaar. At the time, it was a prized possession.
I am one of the last of my generation it seems to send out “real cards”. I send birthday, anniversary, wedding and graduation cards, etc., but Christmas is my favorite time to write and stay in touch with people. I am very fussy regarding my choice of cards. I like to support charities like UNICEF. I like the feel of a card “emotionally”. This year several of my friends have moved. Many are “empty nesters”. I sent out a general e-mail a month ago requesting updates to addresses. My subject header was 'Xmas mail list'. One person wrote back to me:
I prefer to just get an e-card which will be better for the environment.
At first I was offended. I responded with the following:
Good point. I understand. Christmas traditionally is the only time of the
year that a lot of people do take the time to write a letter to their friends and send it in a Christmas card. I guess it is old-fashioned, but I love to get Xmas cards and display them. It is different for me to know that someone took the time to write a note and be thoughtful with their words. It is very personal and more meaningful. I like e-cards but for me, with my memory problems, paper still works best. Plus seeing the
cards is also much better for me. You delete an e-card and that is it.
Having worked as an Archivist for 15 years, I see things differently than most people. The value of the written word on hard copy paper is not replaceable. Cards of any sort reflect our time and place in “our” history. Like recipes and cookbooks, they tell a story. I am very grateful to everyone who sends me a Christmas card and as I am getting older, I look forward to those cards and the more personal info that they reveal. Some of my friends have passed away this year. I am hanging onto the cards they sent me last year. What a wonderful “gift” from them and a permanent memory of our friendship.