“Christmas cards are a thing of the past.”
“Don’t you care about trees? Send an e-mail.”
“Facebook is the new delivery system. Post your message there. That’s where all your friends and family are anyway.”
“Who has the time? Don’t even bother. They just get thrown away.”
“Postage is expensive. Don’t forget about your carbon footprint.”
I know all the arguments. Hear them, read them more and more every year. According to Eric Garcia at MarketWatch the number of paper cards delivered in 2014 dropped by 30%. But you know what? I like Christmas cards. I like sending them out and I especially like getting them. My name and address handwritten on an envelope is especially cool because (duh, dun, duh) it hardly ever happens! Makes me feel like a kid, oooh something’s in the mail for me and it’s not a freaking adult-world bill. They’re pretty, they’re filled with joy and family pictures and messages of love. They make me feel good.
Sure I care about trees. It’s why I hug them regularly, donate money to grow new ones, and take good care of the 400+ year old ones in my yard. My bookshelf honors their sacrifice. Why not send an e-mail instead? Really? Does e-mail make me think of holiday cheer and settling down with a nice, hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire? NO. It makes me think of work, work, work, work, work. I get thousands of e-mails a day, and delete 70% of them. Don’t make me sift through my e-mail to find a link to to your animated Jesus gif. Yes, that’s a thing.
What about Facebook? I do put holiday messages from both my family and my company out on Facebook and Twitter. My friends and customers hang out in those places. I hang out in those places. But just like my enjoying a good ebook does not preclude me from enjoying the weight of a solid hardcover in my hands, the sound of a page turning, the smell of fresh print . . . I digress. Anyway, not all of my friends and family use social media. Some are intentionally modern luddites. Yeah, that’s a thing too.
It does take time to find good cards to send, purchase said cards, look up mailing addresses, stuff and address envelopes, pay for and affix stamps, journey to the post office, open the mail slot . . . when you could be doing something else, anything else. Isn’t that the point though? I have chosen to take time away from my daily routine to do this small gesture because I care to do it. I also bribe my children to help. My twelve year old has very nice printing and my ten year old can stick a stamp like nobody’s business. I can get an easy hour of child labor for a couple candy canes.
Once I release those cards into the world if the recipients choose to throw them away, well that’s completely up to them. Free will I say! We like to save ours– especially the pictures– the others will most likely forge a new life cut up and put into some crafty kid’s project. Yes, repurposing Christmas cards is also, a thing.
The price of a stamp has risen! In the grand scheme of spending, a stamp is still pretty cheap. In a society that has no problem handing over $4.65 for a Venti Teavana ® Oprah Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks— Yes. Thing– spending 49 cents on a stamp is a matter of perspective. Got 100 cards to send? Well there’s some real money. That’s when you weigh your priorities. If food on the table, medical care, and heat in the winter top your list, then of course, Christmas cards and Chai Tea Lattes shouldn’t even be on your list. But if you’ve got an entertainment budget that includes The Baby Mop . . . unfortunately, a thing . . . you can splurge on a few stamps.
The dreaded carbon footprint could be holding you back, but you could do what I do: stop at the post office on the way to or from work. You’re out and about anyway. By the way, if your carbon footprint is the reason you don’t go out and about then why on Mother Earth are you using electricity to read this blog? Better yet, get your stamps from your mail person who comes to your house most days and once stamped, put the cards in your mailbox with the flag up. The post office is already doing its part to promote good stewardship.
So, no, I don’t think Christmas cards are a thing of the past. I still send them and receive them with happiness in my heart and I will continue to do so right up until the zombie apocalypse. Not a real thing.
Photos by Karin Blaski © 2015