The many perks of snail mailing or e-mailing Christmas cards
The sharp rise in cases of the COVID-19 virus has unfortunately triggered the need for many of us to limit social gatherings with friends and family this holiday season. Thus, we are seeking creative solutions for showing others we are thinking of them.
Zoom and Skype are great ways to simulate in person events but sending a tangible item bearing an inspirational sentiment offers the recipient continual reassurance of a friend or family member’s affection.
The post office needs our business and we need to feel connected to others for mental-emotional wellness, (especially those of us who are getting a bit on in age). So why not place an order for a set of pretty holiday cards – or if you prefer, don a mask and make a brief visit to a local drug store, supermarket or gift shop to select a box and support a brick and mortar business.
Practice your cursive script, or print addresses on the envelopes. If you insist on being modern and technical, feed the envelopes into your printer. The post office offers a wide range of Christmas stamps as well as a variety of general themes. Stamps celebrating states and historic events; famous actors, sports stars, civil rights heroes. It can be such fun to select the ones that resonate with your interests, or to purchase a sheet of each and select the proper one for every recipient.
Share thoughts on the year’s challenging events, compose notes about your achievements, hardships you faced, or simply sign your name.
Christmas or other types of holiday cards, affixed to a doorway, hearth or wall – or displayed on a rack created for the purpose – don’t just serve as décor accents. They provide emotional support at a time of year when even good memories trigger strong feelings and symptoms of stress for so many of us.
And then there’s the rewarding feeling obtained from continuing a long established, treasured tradition. Even if those to whom you send greetings don’t return the favor, the simple act of offering good wishes can renew the health and spirit of the sender.
Can’t bring yourself to pick up a pen? It’s okay to send an email version, (though traditionalists like me would much rather slit open an envelope and slip out a greeting with a cute or inspirational design, a token from a friend we can hold in our hands).
A brief history of the holiday card tradition
Items resembling greeting cards were individually handmade, perhaps beginning in Egypt shortly after the invention of paper. But it was British businessman Henry Cole who, in 1846, first ordered “Christmas Cards” printed to send to friends and acquaintances.
Louis Prang, an American printer who had emigrated from Germany, developed a special process called chromolithography (basic lithographic printing had been invented around the turn of the nineteenth century by Alois Senefelder).
Prang created a wealth of popular mass produced, beautifully colored cards by the 1870s. Read more details of the background and manufacturing process entailed in the creation of Christmas and other greeting cards here.
Today, major greeting card companies like Hallmark and American Greetings, as well as more modestly sized businesses offer e-cards or suggestions for creating them. While some of us prefer traditional cards, it’s great that e-cards give everyone an easily accessible option for delivering greetings.
This year, I purchased two types of paper cards, one featuring traditional Victorian designs, the other bearing a Snoopy and Woodstock theme. Most came without a verse inside, but the cover of one of the traditional examples bore the following lovely message:
With its magic spell
Make all things happy
All things well.
What better sentiment for this particularly trying holiday season. I took the liberty of copying the verse, with credits to the source (no specific author was noted). I then pasted the verse inside each greeting card. A type of personal touch I appreciate when receiving cards.
Perhaps you’ve noticed I covered the topic of holiday cards, prior to an earlier Christmas. But its such a lovely tradition, and so appropriate for this time in history, I thought a revisit was in order.
Peace and health to all, now and in the New Year.