Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Rethinking the Christmas Card

As the festive season ends, I am taking down the cards and wondering about the future of this annual tradition. The number of cards I receive each year seems to decrease, though the number I send remains the same.  Many people no longer send cards, but a text or email, or even a Facebook status update instead. The advent of the internet and mobile phones, along with the increasing price of sending mail and a growing consciousness of the environmental impact have undoubtedly contributed to the decline. I wonder each year if it's time for me to stop sending them too.

To ease my conscience about the waste, I always keep the cards. BB and I use them for craft, and we make labels for next year's presents from them too. But this year, as we hope to be moving, they have found themselves in the recycling bin. To keep the cost down, I always buy next year's cards in the January sales too, but again with a move in our future I don't really want to be stocking up on things like this - we are streamlining our belongings, not stockpiling!

So does this mean that now is the time for us too to cease this old fashioned tradition and move more into the electronic age? It's something I have been pondering for a couple of weeks now, but I think not. Although I didn't write a Christmas letter this year, I usually do.  And I love writing the cards. It's a time for me to sit down and think about all the special people that I know around the world, to remember them, and the times we have had together, to wonder how they are doing. Many of them have children of their own now, some that I haven't even met. I wonder about them too. This little process of sending a card is perhaps my only connection with some of them, I don't want to lose that. I like that the card represents a little bit of me in their home at Christmas.

The Christmas Card BB made me at nursery this Christmas

Of course I love receiving cards too. I hang them on ribbons so they become part of our Christmas decorations. Little bits of the sender are in our home too. So I have decided to carry on with the tradition. Further more, in thinking about what I really like about sending them, if possible we are going to try and make our own next year too. I always used to do this. Not just as a child, but as an adult too. Something simple like a photograph of a where I was living or a place I had been. They don't take too long to make but are something different to commercial ones. I loved making them. I recently found many of these at my Nana's house, she had saved them, the personal hand crafted cards being a little more special those from a bumper multi pack. We have received several this year with photos of children and families. Some with artwork by the children, several handmade by crafters.

The Card BB and I made for Nana last year

As I parent I also think about what I am passing on to my child about this process. Do I want him to think that sending cards is about buying a multipack from a megastore and then laboriously writing and posting them? Or would I like to make the process more meaningful? Making our own Christmas decorations has become part of family Christmas traditions that I hope we will enjoy each year. I am thinking that mindfully making and sending our own unique cards could become one too. As with all these things its will take a bit of organising and planning, but I think we can do that. I have already found a couple of great places to get envelopes online, some fancy envelopes and some more plain ones. We have a whole stock of card and paper already, and a wealth of ideas. I'm not sure what style we will go for yet. Maybe there will be a whole range... we'll see.

Meanwhile we'd best get making all our thank you notes as a practice run.


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1 comment:

  1. I always loved sending Christmas cards but didn't this year when they raised the cost of a single stamp to $1. I just couldn't afford to spend that on sending cards. It's too bad.

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