Door to December 4th
I hope this post finds you well. Long before we could correspond with each other in an instant we used to engage in a remarkable practice of sending physical items to each other through a service called the postal service. Before telephones, faxes, email, instant-messaging, texts, and tweets we would sit down and take the time to write words onto a page and send them to someone that would read them. Then they would sometimes reply to that communication by sending words on a page back. Simpler times 😛
What was remarkable about this exchange was the care that people took in sending regards. In my experience, this was most especially felt during the holiday season of Christmas. Families would mark this special time by sending news and developments that had occurred over the past year, and finally well wishes for an even better year the following year.
Making someone’s Christmas Card list was an honor and to receive tidings from them in December meant a great deal.
The custom we practiced was to pick the frame of one of the doors in our home and used tape to affix them around that frame. It added another level of cheer to our home, and it was a physical reminder to us during the holiday season how many people we cared about and thought well enough about us to send us a card.
Over the years as technology improved, Christmas Cards found new formats and expressions and we found visual scenes by Currier and Ives being replaced by photos of our family and friends. Whole companies and businesses appeared to ease the rush of the holiday season by creating your cards for you and printing them out in batches so all you would have to do was put it in a stamped and addressed envelope and send out to your list. Process streamlined even further by excel spreadsheets, label makers and printing out your postage for you, so you wouldn’t even have to interact with a postal worker at the post office when buying seasonal stamps.
Call me a curmudgeon, call me a Scrooge, but something is lost here. Something integral to the whole point of the gesture: the personal touch. The act of sitting down and writing Christmas Cards to a friend or a family member is a defiant one in some ways, because it bucks the trend of succumbing to the rush and just checking another box on a long list of things to do.
The act in and of itself is precious and it is an opportunity for us to reflect in a meaningful way upon those that matter most to us. Sitting down and being present while writing Christmas Cards is therapeutic. It calls on us to remember, actually remember and contemplate the ties and relationships in our lives. There is magic in reading the written words of someone in your life. It shows care. It shows love. It shows focus.
If there is something I could convince you of this holiday season it would be to go to the dollar store and pick up a box of Christmas Cards, then go home and pull your address book out (yes, even if it’s in your phone) and sit down and be present with the process of reaching out to folks in your life that you are quite fond of. Write words on the card, see them, feel them, think about what you write, and think about the person you are sending to; in these moments you are part of the spirit of Christmas.
You won’t regret it, I promise. If living during a pandemic has taught me anything it has taught me that being present in the moment and valuing that time is a gift.
In fact, I have a humble request: send me a Christmas Card. Let me know if this post has impacted you. Let me know if you’ve sent any cards out to friends and family. I’ll promise to write you back. Also, when I amass the cards from family, friends, and you; I’ll arrange them around the frame of a door in my home and I’ll post a pic so that you can see one of the ways I celebrate Christmas.
492 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
I look forward to turning back time and corresponding with you my Dear Readers
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Check out a recent poem here: Advent Adventures: Door to December 3rd – ProCrasstheNation