Cards

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The Lost Art of Writing (You Know, On Paper)

Published December 14, 2013 by lizzybeth

‘Tis the season for… Christmas cards!  Which I love.  Really, I do.  But I also have some gripes.  I do enjoy seeing pictures of people’s family (though, with the advent of Facebook and similar, I’ve probably already seen plenty), but I really despise the cards that are a photo only, with the sender’s name typed on the card.  I mean, c’mon.  Have we gotten to a point that you don’t even have time to sign the damn card now?  For real, this irks me.  Christmas cards, to me, should be more about connecting with people you care about and less about showing off.  Back in the day (and still to this day for a rare few of us) people would send cards and do this mad crazy thing – actually write something in the card!  Don’t keel over from the sheer surprise, please.

This Christmas (sorry, I’m not saying “holiday” so no one is offended – I won’t do it) card trend is simply following the trend all communications have over the past X years – less is more.  And I don’t like it.  I remember when the photo cards first started getting popular, and they would come with just the pictures, and then handwritten at the bottom would be like one sentence: “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Love, the Joneses” or whatever similar sentiment.  Drove me NUTS!  I just feel like giving something – anything – is only worth as much to the receiver as the effort you put in as the giver.  If you sat down and wrote me 20 sentences about what’s going on in your life, that’s important to me.  If you ordered the cards and just wrote one sentence and signed it, that’s worth less.  And if you just ordered the cards and did nothing more than stuff then in envelopes, that’s pretty much meaningless to me.  I think those cards make the sender feel better about themselves, but they do nothing for the receiver.

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.  I came from an era where I was required to hand-write thank you cards, letters to Grandma, notes to teachers, etc.  It was just “what you did.”  I still practice this today.  I still think it’s imperative to send a thank you note after a job interview.  And I mean a real, live paper one – not an email.  I still write letters and send cards throughout the year, and also at the holidays.  Unfortunately, I’m in the minority.

Think about this: when you grab your mail every day, what’s in there?  I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s generally filled with bills and junk mail.  Fun – not.  So when that is the norm, the few rare days where I find buried in the pile a card or letter, with a handwritten address and real stamp, are a real treat.  It literally brightens my mood and makes me happier just seeing it in the mail pile – and this is before I’ve even opened and read it!  Such an easy way to brighten someone’s day.  So why don’t we do it more often?

I preach, but I’ll admit, my card and letter writing has definitely slowed down over the past few years.  Email and other technological ways of communication are easy to fall prey to.  But I’m taking a vow to get back to it, to handwriting, here and now.  Take the pledge with me – help make someone else’s day just a little bit brighter in the often endlessly dull world.  Do you agree?  I would love to hear your comments.

Pen and Paper

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