Friday, December 22, 2017

Thinking about Christmas cards and greetings

Some of what I post here has been comments I made on my Facebook account, so if you are a 'friend' of mine (as defined by FB) you may have seen some of this.  I am aware that some who receive notification of my writings at this villagemidwife site may have no other links with me.  So rather than speaking just to 'friends' - and only those whose FB accounts are set to receive my posts - I have moved my deliberations to this site. 

Has anyone else pondered how very complex our sending and receiving of Christmas greetings has become? There was a day when everyone bought their standard Christmas cards by early December, put an address on an envelope, wrote a few words, affixed a special stamp that was less expensive than ordinary stamps, and posted them. Done and dusted! In those days the verb to 'post' referred to use of the post office. 

Then we had the option of a personalised card, with a picture that meant something special about the person sending the card. This card below, with our little family: Noel, beautiful little Miriam, and I, was our 1974 greeting. Over the years I have looked out for a good family pic to include in our annual letter. That hasn't always been easy. Sometimes one or more of the children may be less than cooperative ... (you know what happens then!) And then, as the family grows up, I have sometimes wondered if it's OTT (over the top) to (over-)share on the lives of our offspring. Those questions come and go without any resolution. We have generous, loving offspring who accept their parents without too much critical comment.

In the past 20 or so years we, and most of our peers, have embraced everything digital. Some haven't. Which brings me to my initial comment on the complex nature of sending and receiving Christmas greetings. So now we send a message via fb, as I did yesterday, as well as some by email, and paper copies via Australia Post to a few special people for whom the other systems are not acceptable. And my 'system' includes 'posting' our annual greeting on a blog which gives me, and anyone else who finds their way to the site, me a readily available summary of our lives.
Are paper copies of a greeting more meaningful than digital?
That's a question that I will not try to answer.

We live in a day when there are so many ways of connecting with people we know that we could easily become overwhelmed. The Christmas card in the post 30 years ago was probably a lot more meaningful than it is today, when the pretty cards can also be sent by email, fb, messenger, blogs and other forms of social media. Are friendships enhanced by one method of communication or another?

I have found the old style of communication - face to face, with a loving hug or smile, or a phone call from someone who I won't be able to see - these are the ways that I feel loved and cared about. And of course we are limited to just a few people with those old forms of communication, compared with the massive reach of digital magic. So can I encourage anyone who reads this to give your loving greetings in person, or a phone call, to someone who may not have much personal contact with others.

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