This week we are mailing out our first family holiday letter in ages.
I used to do this every single year. I won’t say like clockwork, because when I got around to sending them was pretty loose. One year when I was in Japan on Navy shipboard duty, I think I finally launched the last batch sometime in early February, prompting one recipient to write back, “What is this – some strange Asian custom?”
Even if I didn’t hear back from people, I sent them anyway, because it was very important to me to keep connecting and I knew they were probably getting them, which was enough. One year, I lost track of a high school friend, so I found and called his Mom to get his address. I was relentless.
Then, life and email and Facebook and blogging happened and it was all too much. Even when my husband would present me with a good draft each year, I just couldn’t get it together. I like to send a photo and that also became a hassle to get one to my admittedly ridiculous standards, with all of us in it and with all of our eyes open.
But, something was missing by not sending a hard copy greeting every year. I live with Web ephemera every day – it’s my living and I love it – but it can disappear and be forgotten. You have to boot it up to look at it.
Friends deserve something that takes more effort and that lasts for a long time, is DRM-free and can’t be remotely deleted from their Kindle.
This year, we gaggled together for family portraits by the wonderful Austin photographer Korey Howell, I grabbed my husband’s letter draft and actually did something with it, and once we overcame an initially screwed-up printing run – hey, your printer rollers leave lines, Mr. Office Supply Megachain – it felt wonderful to put stamps on those upper right envelope corners.
Out the door they went to the mailbox up the street….the first 14. We usually send around 50, so I have a lot more work to do, but I’m enjoying it and I promise to get it all finished well before February.
I’ll still see those friends on Facebook and elsewhere online, but it feels good to be a correspondence switch-hitter.
Update: I also ordered some interesting cards from the Metropolitan Museum of Art online store so we’ll be ready for 2011. Now’s the time to stock up!
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Couldn’t agree more – it’s fantastic to get a hand written note of any kind. I’m laughing at your fanatic need for perfection, which many people will not notice (since they’ll be so taken aback at this strange bit of paper in their mailbox!), but it’s charming nonetheless 🙂
I’m sure there will be people who get this year’s letter who will be quite taken aback that I’m still alive. 🙂
It seems like more and more of my IRL friends are not sending out holiday cards any more…and I really miss getting them.
Fortunately for me, I’ve participated in an online forum that started a holiday card exchange about 3 or 4 years ago. Most of those folks are people I haven’t met F2F, but it really is a lot of fun to get a physical greeting card from them each year. I love sending mine out, I love getting them in return…it’s fun to check out the postmarks from around the country, see the different card designs, etc. We had about 85 folks on the list this year, so I got several cards each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas 🙂
Oh wow, Dominique, what a great forum idea. Have you heard of postcrossing? Same idea but for postcards – keeps your mailbox cheerful year-round. 🙂