With the convenience of email and the rise in stamp prices, writing letters is not something most of us opt for in regular correspondence. While this is sad in a way -the art of letter writing is a wonderful thing to practice and share- it is also a fact of the times. But writing letters or not writing letters isn't the point of this post. Instead, I want to raise the issue of the generic photo card that is now becoming scarily prevalent in today's mailboxes.
The past few Christmases an increasing percentage of cards have arrived in the form of the photo card, a long envelope-length photograph picturing a family with their season's greetings and names printed beside it. These are lovely to receive with a personal note scrawled specifically to the addressee on the back or even an annual family newsletter, but there is little more insulting than receiving one of these completely blank. How utterly rude. It takes less than 30 seconds to write a short personal note and if you are already spending the time and money to find the perfect family photo from the past year, have them printed, address and stuff the envelopes, and buy the stamps, an extra 30 seconds per card is not that much more of a sacrifice. Insurance companies send out more personal holiday greetings than 50% of the cards received from friends I hold near and dear.
If you don't have the time to write a short note on a mass produced greeting card, then send a mass email. It won't cost you a thing and it will only slightly annoy folks as opposed to insult them by your complete lack of tact. If you feel obligated to send out a greeting in the mail I encourage you to make it count by being personal.
Now, I am far from being perfect at correspondence. I need to get on the ball and remember people's birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, -you name it. I am notorious for forgetting these special occasions and I need and want to change my lackadaisical habits. It's selfish of me to expect others to remember my special days when I easily brush theirs aside. So, you see, I am in vast need of improving my thoughtfulness and correspondence as well. But, please, do take that extra few seconds to write a personal greeting, share some encouragement, write some family news and/or inquire after the receivers well being. After all, it is what sending the letter is all about in the first place.