I used to do this every single year. I won’t say like clockwork, because when I got around to sending them was pretty loose. One year when I was in Japan on Navy shipboard duty, I think I finally launched the last batch sometime in early February, prompting one recipient to write back, “What is this – some strange Asian custom?”
Even if I didn’t hear back from people, I sent them anyway, because it was very important to me to keep connecting and I knew they were probably getting them, which was enough. One year, I lost track of a high school friend, so I found and called his Mom to get his address. I was relentless.
Then, life and email and Facebook and blogging happened and it was all too much. Even when my husband would present me with a good draft each year, I just couldn’t get it together. I like to send a photo and that also became a hassle to get one to my admittedly ridiculous standards, with all of us in it and with all of our eyes open.
But, something was missing by not sending a hard copy greeting every year. I live with Web ephemera every day – it’s my living and I love it – but it can disappear and be forgotten. You have to boot it up to look at it.
This year, we gaggled together for family portraits by the wonderful Austin photographer Korey Howell, I grabbed my husband’s letter draft and actually did something with it, and once we overcame an initially screwed-up printing run – hey, your printer rollers leave lines, Mr. Office Supply Megachain – it felt wonderful to put stamps on those upper right envelope corners.
Out the door they went to the mailbox up the street….the first 14. We usually send around 50, so I have a lot more work to do, but I’m enjoying it and I promise to get it all finished well before February.
I’ll still see those friends on Facebook and elsewhere online, but it feels good to be a correspondence switch-hitter.
Update: I also ordered some interesting cards from the Metropolitan Museum of Art online store so we’ll be ready for 2011. Now’s the time to stock up!
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