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The Tradition of Christmas Correspondence

Addressing Holiday cards – annual chore or comforting way to connect with others authentically? Letter writing is a lost art. Not letter typing, letter writing, during which one puts personality on paper and sends it with feeling through the magic of the mail service to someone with whom they wish to establish connection. Few Christmas […]

Addressing Holiday cards - annual chore or comforting way to connect with others authentically?


Letter writing is a lost art. Not letter typing, letter writing, during which one puts personality on paper and sends it with feeling through the magic of the mail service to someone with whom they wish to establish connection.

Few Christmas experiences excite me as much as slitting open the envelope of the first holiday card I receive each year.

Will I see a scene of nativity, or a pristine white dove, symbol of peace? Maybe a chubby Santa Clause in a workshop with elves or reindeer landing on a roof flecked with glitter. I love the ones featuring photos of pets or wildlife, the purchase of which supports homes, habitats, humane programs.

But it’s the envelopes and letters that truly touch my soul. The idea that someone cared enough to send a personal message, summing up their year in a few sentences or paragraphs.

I’m reassured of my connection to old friends, though we may not have so much as met for lunch in many years. Sometimes due to distance. Often just plain busyness.

Some years I’m filled with anticipation at the thought of sharing the year’s happenings with others.

Other less fulfilling years I feel I have little to say but getting started on cards always puts me into a cheerful Christmas spirit. The fondness for old friends, focus upon the cycle of life, as I consider how we have all changed over the years, those thoughts are what life is all about.

Our "to do lists" for the Christmas season can be overwhelming, the number of plans exceeding the hours to complete them.

But this year, I believe I’ve discovered the solution to the task of preparing cards.

I came up with the idea of addressing a few per day since the start of November. Once addressed, I sorted them and began preparing a few notes during brief sessions, while I waited for coffee to perk in the morning, or just before retiring in the evening.

This relaxed approach seems so much better than procrastinating, then panicking as the holiday approaches, struggling to finish in one evening.

Connecting with others through personal correspondence can settle seasonal stress for many of us if approached in a reasonable manner that works for our schedule.

Christmas cards used to be common in the days of cheap postage. Having many older friends, I still receive a good number of them. I’m truly grateful, appreciating them, perhaps, more than presents.

After long days of offering friendly assistance to stressed out Christmas shoppers who tried my patience with the human race during many years spent in retail customer service, one simple experience always provided me with the strength needed to face the next morning with optimism. 

Sitting quietly in the living room and admiring the cards displayed on the wall each evening, symbolizing the theme of my connection to others, I was filled with the true spirit of Christmas, that, “we’re all in this together feeling”. I could feel my sense of  compassion for customers and all world citizens returning.

“But what if I send out cards and my friends don’t do so in return,” you ask?

 I mail cards to many who are unable or unmotivated to do so themselves. The feeling of giving without expectation feeds the soul whether we deliver a care package of food or a pretty card to a friend, relative, or casual acquaintance we believe may enjoy it.

Whatever your faith, however you celebrate the holiday of your native culture or your choice, may you experience that universal connection to fellow citizens that is the true spirit of the season.

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