Christmas cards

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I don't think people send out Christmas Cards like they used to. Either that or my list of friends is dwindling down to only a few who still like me.

I know I don't mail out as many cards as I used to. The price to send a greeting is now .42 cents and although that may be a bargain by today's standards, I think the Post Office should cut the price in half in December and let us mail cards for .21 cents. That would be a great way for the government to show a little Christmas spirit!

In the past, as soon as Thanksgiving was over I began addressing my cards. I have "made" my family take a group photo every year at Thanksgiving for the past "many" years and I always wanted this picture included with my greetings. Most friends and family members enjoyed the picture and watching how my family had grown and changed each year.

We still take that family picture at Thanksgiving, but the last couple of years I haven't sent as many out.

I was curious if I was the only one who had slacked off on this once looked-forward to tradition, so I started quizzing my fellow employees.

Most said they didn't send as many as they used to, but all said they send some cards every year.

Some of the responses were comical and some were serious. I've had to include a few here:

"When I was a newlywed, picking out my very own Christmas Cards and wrapping paper was a big, exciting thing for me. I could hardly wait to start them. Now, I don't send nearly as many as I used to but I love to get them. I can't wait to open them and I love getting pictures with them." D.

"The first year I was married, my husband and I had a picture taken with our dog, Gus, and I sent the picture and cards to everyone. Since then, I haven't sent very many, sometimes none. I actually have boxes of cards I bought at the end of the season when they were on sale that are still in their packages. They've never been opened." J.

"I used to send a lot of cards out because most of my family lived away from me. Now, we all live in the area so I don't send as many." C.

"I send lots and lots of cards every year. Not just to friends and family but businesses. I love to send cards. I get my feelings hurt if I don't get a lot, so I send a lot out. That way I know I'll get some. My grandmother is in her 80s and she gets a card and letter every year from a childhood friend. She's followed this friend's life through those cards." T.

"I send a lot of cards every year, about 50, the number hasn't really decreased. I have them printed so I try to write a short note in each one but I write longer letters to some and include that with the card." B.

"I send about 40-50 cards out each year. I love to do them. I even use a stamp with a picture of my grandbaby on it to mail them." P.

"I send about 30-35 cards every year and I try to write something in each one. I know I send less now than I used to but I still enjoy sending them. I don't think I receive as many as I send out." W.

"I send cards sometimes, to some people, maybe 24 or so. A lot less than I used to. The postage has just gotten too high." D.

"I used to send lots of cards, four to five dozen, but now I only send about a dozen and I hand-deliver a lot of cards. You can still buy a box of cards for $1 but it costs $30-$40 to mail them. I love to get cards and I love to send them but I just can't afford them anymore." M.

"I guess I really don't send Christmas cards. I actually buy Christmas cards, take them home and address them and even include pictures, but I never get them mailed. I found a Christmas card the other day. It was addressed to my grandmother and was from 5 years ago, the first Christmas after my daughter was born. It has a picture in it. I never got it mailed." A.

This last one made me laugh outloud. Maybe I was laughing because I was glad someone else was admitting to something I won't admit to! I don't think I'm that bad, but I have found a card after Christmas with a stray name written on it, but no address.

AND, how many of us have forgotten someone until we get their card in the mail? What do we do .... get one back to them ASAP so they won't know they weren't on our list! There's even some people out there who only send cards to people who send them a card first. Now, that's just wrong! Not to mention sad.

So, what does this all mean? Are we losing a time-honored tradition?

For me, there are many friends living in other cities who I don't see very often -- some I haven't seen in years. The yearly Christmas Card may be our only contact each year, but each time I open that card and see their name and often pictures, I am reminded of events I shared with that person or family. It makes me pause, remember and smile. Maybe that's a part of the spirit of the season -- a part we don't want to lose.

This year, I think I'll make the extra effort to get a few more Christmas Cards in the mail to let others know I'm thinking of them. Then, I'm going to add one more card ...

On the bulletin board at the newspaper, someone has placed this message: When doing your Christmas cards this year, take just one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think how many cards these wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much would get.

A Recovering American Soldier

c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center

6900 Georgia Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20307-5001

I think that will be a card worth a lot more than .42 cents. Enjoy the season!