6 Reasons I am Mailing Christmas Cards in 2011

Tomorrow marks December 1st, and for me, that means it’s time to start pulling out cards and envelopes to send to friends and family across the country and around the world. I loved helping my parents write cards as I was growing up, and even gave cards to friends in college in partnership with my amazing freshman year roommate. I write letters and personalized notes to individuals so that they are not receiving a simple generic card with a cliche holiday greeting inside. In the process of doing this, I’ve found many reasons to keep up the practice.

1. I love making, reading, writing, and sending cards. I tend to send cards to friends all year round, but Christmas time is a great excuse to do a whole set to people that I may not have talked to for a while.

2. Now that virtual communication has taken over the way we interact with each other, receiving a personal piece of mail is special. For all of the arguments about how efficient it is to send an e-mail or a note on facebook, receiving a physical envelope in the mail is always more exciting.  A physical piece of mail represents someone investing time, energy, and even money to connect with me. Rarely do I find virtual communication that involves all of those elements.

3. Making a list of everyone in my life that I can send cards to reminds me how many wonderful people I know. We just passed Thanksgiving, a day when we’re supposed to begin a reflection and celebration of all that is good in our lives. Writing Christmas cards is a great transition from the thanks of November with the crazy gift exchanges and holiday parties of December.

4. Writing a letter updating to update people on my past year helps me reflect on the things I have done and the ways I have grown. I am a reflective person in general, but my scope tends to be limited to my immediate circumstances. When I step back to look at an entire year’s worth of living, I am usually amazed to see how many life changes happen every year. I keep waiting for a year where i can write, “Sorry, friends, not much happened this year”, but I have yet to reach that point.

5. Sending a card means I might get one in return. Okay, so I admit that this is more than a little selfish of me, but it’s true. Just as I love writing and sending mail, I love receiving it too. While I know that there’s no formal reciprocity agreement on letters or cards, I can still hope that sending a Christmas card will be the beginning of renewed communication with someone I haven’t heard from in a while.

6. It supports the US Postal Service.  This may not be a great reason at first glance, but I value having USPS deliver my mail. I appreciate the fact that they will deliver my packages and letters anywhere I want to send them, and that they bring me letters and care packages from my loved ones. They’ve had their own financial issues over the past few years, and if buying stamps every now and then will provide work for their employees, I’m willing to do my part.

*I’ve already got a list of people to mail cards to, but if you want to be included, send me a message with your address and I’ll send you one in the next couple of weeks.