I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I love receiving Christmas cards. There’s something about going to the mailbox throughout December and pulling out a pile of brightly coloured envelopes with “CARD ONLY” emblazoned across the front that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I know it sounds materialist, but I feel popular and I feel loved and I feel appreciated. And, in many cases, by friends I have never even met in person and yet I think the world of them. It’s funny how the origins and dynamics of friendships have changed in recent times, in such a way that we wouldn’t even recognise many of our friends if they passed us by in the street. But they are friends, and they play a huge part in our lives.
As much as I love receiving cards, I get just as big a kick out of giving them. Each year, starting around September, I start compiling photos and designing that year’s Christmas card. For the past 10 years, I have ordered them from one of the many American sites such as Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, or Tiny Prints, and they are usually in my possession by mid-October. I order a lot, close to a hundred. And usually I run out. This year was no exception. I love doing it, it is the only time of the year that I can truly make an effort physically to show my friends how much they mean to me, to let them know that I’m thinking of them. It’s nice to know that someone on the other side of the world has my family watching over them from their mantlepiece at Christmas time.
In an ever-changing world where everyone has moved into the new mode of communication, through the virtual world, old fashioned Christmas cards seem to be almost a thing of the past. And that’s why giving or receiving a traditional card is so special. Because someone has made the effort to purchase them, write in them, address them, stamp them, and post them out. I understand that many of my friends are too busy to do cards or they are too expensive, and that time gets away from us because our lives are increasingly busy, and I would never think less of anyone that doesn’t send them.
But I do love receiving them. I really do. I display them all on one of my buffets, and they make my home look even more Christmassy. And I hesitate to take them down after the holiday season has passed. But here we are, already in January and in the midst of a new year. It’s time to take them down, time to put them away.
And I shall look forward to next Christmas when I hope to receive more.