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The end of the Christmas card

The postman rarely comes around our way, except to deliver bills or spam. 

Even at Christmas, this messenger’s route is stubbornly unchanged.  But it never used to be like this.

Perched on the window sill, back when I was the age my daughters are now, I can clearly recall the feeling of exhilaration as our local postman came into view at the far end of the street.  Holding an impossibly large collection of letters and small packets (the large ones would come later in the day by van), I remember, on each of the days between the end of school and Christmas Eve, trying to guess how many he would drop through our letter box.

The wait was almost painful, but eventually and without fail a dozen or so white envelopes, each one adorned with special festive stamps, would land on the carpet, spraying in all directions across the floor.

By Christmas Day, each one of these cards had been opened, read and placed on suspended strings right around the walls of the living room – a festival of colour and testimony to the fact, I thought, that my parents had so many ‘friends’. 

I still recall the magic that accompanied all this red, gold, glitter, and seasonal goodwill; simple messages of cheer now posted on a wall.  They never said very much (except for those who chose to add a typed attachment, describing in tedious detail the wonderful achievements of their children).  In the end, though, 140 characters was normally enough to get the message across.

A generation later, there is no one waiting for the postman.  Not in our house, anyway.  A few cards have dribbled in, but sadly not enough to hang upon the wall or convince the kids that anyone is thinking of us at this particular time of the year.

The Christmas card, at least at this end of the street, is dead; replaced by another Wall, where our messages of hope and love are posted by those we chose to call our ‘friends’.

The medium has changed, but our human need to reach out to others and let them know that we are thinking of them during this season of goodwill, clearly, has not.

And probably never will. 

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Reader Comments (2)

Where are love letters gone? Replaced by vulgar SMS? Understand better now the meaning of all these XMAS cards containing just a few meaningless words, sent by family or friends that you might only see at funerals. I am not very good with writing to friends, but when I do it is to express things I really want to share with them.
This year I opted for the Apple Photo application, allowing you to create your own card and paying a virtual postman to drop it in the genuine post box. Thanksfully, they are not in strike this week! Merry XMAS and thank you for sharing your thought with us.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFlorence

Most of my friends used to send me greeting cards via postal service before but now, they go to Facebook and just tag me on their greetings. I don't know, but I prefer the traditional way of sending holiday greetings. It's more heartfelt.

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOnline Flyer Printing

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