One of the things I enjoy about this time of year is that when I get home from work (in the dark), I reach into my mailbox and there, among the junk mail, bills, circulars and more junk mail, I can pull out one or two Christmas cards. It’s rare these days to find little hand-written good tidings from anywhere in the world greeting you.
Personally, I still like the Christmas card in its paper form that you can prop up on a table to show that people call you a friend or, at the very least, acknowledge you’re still alive. I am, you might say, old-fashioned. Or, you could argue in shorter terms, old. I don’t mean to imply I dislike holiday greetings sent by email. That anyone thought to send a kind word is marvelous and likely more than I deserve.
But when I see that envelope in the mail, and I open the card to read the words and see your name (and perhaps that of your children and more often your pets), I feel part of your narrative. I can see you searching out cards with the right look, message and personality. I see you working over your list, and somehow I made it. You take a few seconds with a pen to write your names and/or greetings — and how rare is it for people to write with pens nowadays? — and then my address. You place the card in the envelope, lick and seal, then add a stamp. Most people don’t do much with their hands except type and play video games … so that you’ve gone through these steps means something.
Consider this card from the women’s hockey team, for whom I’m a faculty mentor. Somehow, the coach managed to get two dozen uberbusy student-athletes to sign their names on this card (and however many others the team sends). This time of year, that requires serious effort. Imagine receiving, instead, an email with just digital signatures. Not the same as having all those remnants of pen pressed to paper.
Again, if you’ve sent me a e-mail card, thank you. I know it’s more environmentally friendly and, in these tight times, not everyone can afford to put so much money into cards and postage. But if you’ve sent me a paper Christmas card, rest assured it’s sitting on a table in my living room, gathered with kindred spirits, and I look at it frequently and smile.