One of my favorite things about the holiday season is receiving Christmas cards from family and friends with newsy letters. I bundle the cards by year with a ribbon and store them in baskets. The baskets then become part of our holiday decorations.
I like to take a packet from the baskets, look at the photos, and read the letters. It always sparks memories. Some sad knowing the original writer is no longer with us. But mostly the cards trigger good thoughts. It’s almost like having the senders here with me again.
I’m not alone in my love of sending and receiving Christmas cards. As outdated as the practice may seem to some, others cling to the tradition along with me. Americans buy approximately 1.6 billion Christmas cards a year!
The tradition began in the 1800s. As printing techniques improved, and costs dropped, Christmas cards increased in popularity. Read a detailed history here.
When postage dropped to half a penny, more people were able to send greetings. I collect those vintage postcards. Some date back to the 1900s. I love reading through the handwritten notes and looking at the intricate designs.
Many people today send handcrafted cards or order family picture cards. Handcrafted ones are extra special. So are the ones with family pictures.
What is it about this old-fashioned tradition that appeals to me and so many others?
The Greeting Card Association research suggests: “The tradition of giving greeting cards is a meaningful expression of personal affection for another person…”
Some question whether that appeal will be compelling enough to survive the conveniences of the digital era.
I believe it will.
If you want to start the tradition yourself, create a Christmas card list. Gathering addresses is as easy as gathering email addresses and holding a card in your hand beats reading a screen, in my opinion.
My list is on a spreadsheet that I update every year. It’s an easy way to correct addresses and keep track of cards sent and/or received. Because I prefer holiday-themed stamps, I order seasonal stamps online https://store.usps.com/store/results/stamps/holiday/_/N-9y93lvZ1mzlvsg
To make the task less daunting, I use address labels and newsy letters. Some don’t like newsletters. I love them. Makes me feel like I’ve been a part of my friend’s world.
Christmas cards – sending and receiving – will always be a favorite part of the holiday season for me. They are a way to stay in touch, to share our lives even though we may live an ocean apart.
What do you think? Do you send Christmas cards?