My wife and I send cards at this time of year, and not just cards, either: we include a little newsletter giving a synopsis of what we’ve been up to in the past year. It’s old-school, it’s time-consuming, it uses up lots of paper, it’s entirely unnecessary, it often gets little or no response, and it’s entirely worth the effort.
We add people to our list every year, and we’ll send them a card for several years running in hopes of a paper response before taking them off again. Most people are part of that rotating crowd, but the few who do respond make it worthwhile. One friend stopped short of naming me as her inspiration to send out an update, but made it clear in the handwritten note. Another wrote, “It’s always amazing and lovely to receive your letters – thank you! These things mean more and more as the years and social media wear on.”
My life is in that social stratum in which I do not worry about paying the bills each month, but travel is both infrequent and modest. When friends move away, I may not see them again for years, if ever. Yes, they can tag me in memes and like my posts, but the weight of a holiday card is more than physical. We share something of ourselves when we send out this sort of mass mailing. The cards we get back do the same, sometimes through the power of words, but also through images. More and more, I’ve been sending cards that we get free via various charitable organizations, but our friends return ones much more lovely. We have a growing collection of really astounding Pagan greeting cards, as well as a number of secular ones which are quite excellent.
One friend this year ran into me at a Yule ritual, and laid out a selection of cards she’d made herself. “Pick one, and I’ll make it out,” I was told. Who does that? The cards which are a family portrait have become more dear to me as I age; I find myself nostalgic about people growing up and living their lives, connected to mine yet all the same distant from it.
If you believe in the value of community, if you feel you might be able to commit to the practice, if you recognize that time and effort spent yield immeasurable results, ask me to send you a card next year.