Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas Cards and Letters

Our Christmas Letter for 2016 went out this morning.  Some by email, some by Facebook-messenger.  None by mail; I depend on others to make sure that those without computers (like my brother) get a copy. Four pages, of which 2 are photos, with a brief paragraph highlighting something about each person in the family.

People don't do that so much anymore, with Facebook to keep up to date with people and events.  I can count on two hands the number of letters But I like to keep up the tradition.  Partly because some people find it interesting (surviving members of my dad's cousins) and partly because cumulatively these letters contain a mini history of my family. I have letters going back to 1983.  One of my shirt-tail relatives has Christmas letters going back to 1969.

In the '50s, when I was a child, everyone sent Christmas cards, even to their neighbours half a mile down the road.  Letters were 5¢ and Christmas cards, if the envelope wasn't sealed, were 3¢. The cards were mounted on wall racks or strung across the room and 100 or more were not unusual in our farm home. I sold Christmas cards door to door as a youngster to raise money for Christmas presents.

The price of postage went up and the number of cards dropped off.  When Ella and I were married in 1974, we only sent cards to people when a letter was included.  Ella was a prolific correspondent and often spent Sunday afternoons cranking out handwritten letters to friends and relatives.  Christmas letters were merely continuations of on-going correspondence and were individually composed. About 10 years in, that got to be too much so we began with mass mailing a standard letter.  From that time on, I have copies.

Eight years ago, I blogged about Christmas letters also.
http://dablogfodder.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-letters.html

Letters run from the sublime to the ridiculous but I can honestly say we never got one like this:
http://dablogfodder.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-letter-nobody-sends.html

We did write one of our own like that, loosely based on letters we received over the years. The guilty parties are since deceased but are fondly remembered.


16 comments:

  1. My Rare One and I only send out e-cards now. Our Christmas card list is over 75 people and, with stamps alone being $1 now plus the cost of the cards, sending actual cards would be prohibitively expensive. I compose a short "Christmas letter" email that gets sent to a few people.

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    1. e-cards are nice. I like Jackie Lawson cards but don't use them often enough. I keep forgetting about them.

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  2. I did one. I find that writing at length organizes my thoughts. I even include a photograph from the year and even make printed cards. So easy to lose digital archives; paper is better.

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    1. Yes, writing or typing at length does help organize one's thoughts. Paper is ok if you never move. Moving 4 times in 8 years lost me a great deal of paper records. Digital is ok as long as it is backed up regularly and the backup kept in a safe place. And the back up system kept up to date. I think I am on my fourth system since first getting a computer in the mid-'80s. Cloud storage is ok if you have decent internet access but I wouldn't trust it ever as the only backup.

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  3. I still do cards and an Xmas letter but the list keeps shrinking. 20 years ago we easily sent and received 100 or more cards. This year think the total was about 2 dozen. I've never been a fan of the annual note but do it anyway for the handful of elderly relatives who aren't into socisl media.

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  4. I got a kick out of your sample letter - I've had a few of those from various people, too, and I treasure them as an accurate report of the lives of those involved!

    I do an annual Christmas letter, and I always enjoy receiving them from others. As you say, it's sometimes the only contact we have in a year and it's nice to keep in touch. I'm one of the diehards who still sends out mostly paper Christmas cards with a few emails, but now that it costs so much for cards and postage I'm thinking of switching completely to email. The problem is I never know whether email has gone through - my current email provider crapped out over Christmas and I have no idea what went through and what didn't. At least the post office returns my paper cards if they can't be delivered.

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    1. I have used Sasktel for years for email. Now I also use a gmail address. Sasktel can be set to return a response when the email arrives or when it is viewed. Not sure about gmail. Private email addresses are good for business or ego but have a habit of crashing, I think.

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  5. I still get a couple of Christmas letters and still enjoy them. I like the one that "nobody sends".

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    1. I would love to get many more than I do.

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  6. last year my friends got their christmas cards in June..I'm hoping to get mine out by Feb. send me your address and I'll send you one.

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    1. OK. By messenger/facebook. I should get it in June

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  7. letters are so much more personal.
    You brought back memories of Postal rates back in the stone age: penny postcards, three cent stamps, six cent air mail; and a week to deliver.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. There is noting like a hand written letter. The only ones I get anymore are from my brother who does not have a computer.
      I hear it costs a dollar to mail a letter in Canada now. Letters mailed to me cost $2.50 CAD, airmail.

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  8. I don't even bother with E-cards anymore.

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    1. With Facebook, it seems hardly necessary but they are nice for special people

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