I NEARLY DIDN’T MAIL Christmas cards this year. Not that I didn’t want to send holiday greetings to family and friends. But the cost of cards and postage stamps caused me to pause and seriously consider. If I only mailed two dozen or so cards, this wouldn’t even be a concern. But I send more than 80, maybe even close to 100. I’m not counting. The expenses add up.
When I purchased $60 in postage stamps recently, the postal clerk thanked me for supporting the post office. I shared that my second daughter is a US mail carrier who works incredibly long hours six days a week delivering mail in Madison, Wisconsin. I hold a new appreciation for these hardworking postal employees like my daughter. She walks 10-12 miles a day on her route, starting in the dark of morning and ending in the dark of mid-evening. I figure we all owe these postal workers some grace, especially during the busy holiday season.
But back to those Christmas cards. The actual cards were another reason I nearly scrapped mailing holiday greetings this year. I couldn’t find any at a reasonable price. Like everything else, the cost of cards has skyrocketed from the usual $3 I pay for 24 cards to $6 – $8 for half as many. Eventually I found some discounted at a Big Box retailer, but still at a higher price than I liked.
The thing is, sending and receiving cards is one of my biggest holiday joys. I love reconnecting with people from my past (college roommates, co-workers, extended family, etc) and staying connected to those who are still very much a part of my life. I love opening envelopes to find family photos, cards and letters. I don’t even care any more if the letters are mass-produced. At least I’m getting updates. Occasionally a handwritten letter arrives, rare treasures in today’s world.
Even I send a photo-copied letter, confined to half a page. It’s not that I don’t have more to write. I do. But, again, I’m thinking cost. Ink is expensive. I also realize people are busy and don’t necessarily want to read a two-page recap of 2022. So I hit the highlights in an edited version of my life.
It’s always interesting to see what others write in their holiday letters. I like humor and storytelling. I dislike lengthy lists of accomplishments and travelogues that go on and on. I begin to feel like my life is rather boring and unaccomplished when I read such scripts. That said, it’s OK to include both, just in a balanced way.
All my Christmas cards are in the mail. I finished this holiday task in a full card signing, letter folding, address writing, postage stamp sticking, envelope licking blitz over the weekend. And now I wait for my mailbox to fill with holiday greetings, one of my greatest joys of the season.
TELL ME: Do you mail Christmas cards/letters/photos? Why or why not?
© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling