Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cards…Old Fashioned…or not?

Villard Sur Chamby, Switzerland 

As the Christmas season approaches I have been thinking about the fabulous tradition of Christmas cards. I remember as a child racing to beat my sister to the mailbox to collect the dozens of cards which arrived each week from the beginning of December. We would hang the cards on string around the lounge room, making space for the artificial Christmas tree which was such a symbol of the 60s

Now in the 21st century, where our concentration is very much on the environment, the silver tree has long been buried in land fill and replaced with a “real” one. And the numbers of Christmas cards received has slowed to a trickle.

Is this demise of the Christmas card tradition only because of the environmentally conscious among us who are concerned about the destruction of forests? Or is it because many of us are so “busy” that we don’t have the time to sit down and handwrite a quick greeting to friends and family, near and far?

Email particularly has encouraged the demise of the card as much as the cassette tape and CD did for the vinyl record. There are a myriad of different programs available to assist in the creation of electronic Christmas cards. Social networking sites are starting to fill with greetings. But do these electronic messages have the personality of the traditional card with its cover depicting reindeers and snow, or kangaroos and beaches, in celebrating the Festive Season?

This year I am again sending Christmas cards to family, friends, business colleagues and clients.
 It is a lovely, wild garden in the mountains, at Villard sur Chamby, featuring towering pine trees and a wonderful holly bush behind an abreuvoir. I have had the cards printed on recycled paper and am enjoying, in my quiet moments, writing brief notes and greetings in them. For my friends abroad I am enclosing a letter detailing the past year.

The paper Christmas cards I receive will be displayed prominently as part of my Christmas decorations. It is a truly great tradition which speaks to the heart of what I think the Festive Season of sharing is all about…long may it continue, either on paper or via electronics.

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