Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Are you old fashioned or.....

have you moved with the times? Oh how I hate that expression. Why do we necessarily have to 'move with the times'?

This morning I have spent a couple of hours with an old friend in her late eighties. Tomorrow her son is driving up from London to collect her and take her over to her daughters on the other side of the country, where they will all spend Christmas together. Although she is going away she has still put up twinkling lights in the window and strung her Christmas cards around the room.

Apparently the sales and the sending of cards is falling gently. Three years ago eighty-four percent of people sent Christmas cards, last year it was only seventy-three percent. And Oxfam, always hot on the sale of cards at Christmas, calculates that we will send 141 million less cards this year than we did five years ago. Now one in five people think cards are no longer necessary and thirteen percent of those people send on-line cards instead.

Well here am I standing up to be counted and to say 'humbug' to on line cards and 'double humbug' to no cards at all. The only excuse I can think of to justify an online card is in blogland where mostly we don't know each other's addresses and where we do want to say 'Happy Christmas' - that kind of greeting is very welcome. But otherwise, what is wrong with a good old fashioned card put in an envelope and posted?

Yes - I do realise how expensive it has all become - taking into account the cost of the card and the cost of the stamp then it adds up to quite a tidy sum. But you can start early buying both cards and stamps and certainly in my case - and in my friends too - there is no substitute.

I have received cards from friends I have not seen for well over fifty years. The only time I hear from them is at Christmas. Sometimes one or the other has died during the year - it happened last year and it has happened again this year - and that is sad but at least I know about it. And there is usually a line to say they are well, or what the children or grandchildren are doing, or a little reminder of something we did together in the past.

Watching my old friend this morning pointing to cards and telling me about the people who had sent them, then coming home and fastening up my cards and being reminded of people I worked with long ago, people I lived near long ago - such lovely reminders and such warm feelings of friendship at Christmas.

Long live the Christmas card and the greetings it conveys. Nothing in this world is more important than friendship and the love it brings.

29 comments:

mrsnesbitt said...

I love making our Christmas cards - I am always a bit late but this is because I have orders to "get out." Once that is done I enjoy finding a photograph which is appropriate for the year gone by. I send this to all my neighbours and it is always a talking point! I send them to special people too Pat, who I have got to know through my blog. But you would know that wouldn't you! lol
Lots of love to you both.
Denise & Jon xxxx

NanU said...

Humbug and double humbug here too!
I adore sending and receiving cards. The more the better! And cards with a personal message - the mass-produced photo I got from my brother with no message, not even a signature, was almost as bad as no card at all.
Is it definitively too late for the Poetry bus? I tried to get your attention yesterday, but to no avail. (like an idiot I left my poem at home Monday and didn't get it to my computer until Tuesday morning)

Granny Sue said...

I send cards too. There is something about taking the time to sit down and write the addresses of friends, thinking about them as I write that feels right to me. I do not like getting e-cards--that's just something else to make me spend even more time on the computer.

The Solitary Walker said...

Long live the old-fashioned Christmas card delivered by the cheery postman on a snowy morning with a robin on the fence and a glass of wine and a mince pie to hand! I say this because I descibe the exact scene here today.(Yes, we've started early.) Merry Christmas, Pat.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I am totally with you. I get so much joy looking at the cards every year and feeling that "connection" with the people who I don't get to see anymore but they are getting fewer and fewer each year. I won't even open e-cards. I also take pleasure in doing my cards and jotting a note to each person. I fear the next generation will not do them at all.

maggi said...

I couldn't agree more with you. I love to send cards and get round some of the expense by making my own, after all my time is cheap. There are people too who I only hear from at Christmas, but it is good to know that the connection is still there.

Mac n' Janet said...

I agree, as i said in one of my blogs I send cards even to those who don't. I feel sorry for those who let Christmas traditions slide away. i hear people say they aren't putting up a tree it's just too much bother How sad.
I love Christmas as much as I did as a child, maybe more.

The Bug said...

We sent out 84 this year - but we HAVE to send them since we do an annual Christmas poem (this was the 19th year!). Some years I make them & some years I buy them. I LOVE getting cards so I'll continue to send them!

I might try Denise's idea next year - use one of our photos for a card.

Heather said...

Hear, hear, Pat - I totally agree. I don't want on-line magazines or books - I much prefer the real thing, and nothing will take the place of recognising the handwriting on an envelope and reading a card from a special friend. The annual update between friends who can no longer meet is very important and more personal when hand written. I am definitely old fashioned.

Caroline Gill said...

I so enjoy sending and receiving greetings by whatever means.

I am quite happy when friends send me electronic cards as it is almost certainly a greener option (though it's always fun when friends have sent recycled cards of some sort, too).

If you have moved about, the exchange of news - however brief - is a lovely way of keeping in touch once a year.

Dartford Warbler said...

Having moved around the country several times before we settled here, I love sending and receiving cards from old friends who I no longer see. A hand written message with news, or a promise of a phone which is fulfilled over the coming weeks. It is all a way of connecting with people who have meant a lot to us.

Because of a Christmas card, I have just phoned an old school friend as I was unsure of the situation about her very frail elderly parents. The old couple are about to spend their last Christmas in their own home and will be moving into residential care in the New Year. Sad news, but at least I know now and can get in touch with them again. They were the greatest friends of my late parents.

Long live the Christmas cards and all the memories and reconnections that they bring!

thousandflower said...

I am currently embracing both worlds. I send Jacquie Lawson e-cards because I love them and as an artist I love the idea that she has created these beautiful cards. and I also send out paper cards that I buy from local artists to help support them. And I love getting both types myself. At this point I am not going to choose one or the other.

Rachel Fox said...

I send cards - always charity or homemade but always cards. I like post - sending and receiving. It's a particularly good way of keeping in touch with people that you can't see very often for one reason or another.
x

Gerry Snape said...

Weaver...I send cards because I like to get cards, from old friends mostly. But I do also send e-cards and make them up myself from photos. I suppose the best about those is that when...and I always do...I forget someone I can send them something on the e-mail.!
lots of love for Christmas to you and yours.

Tom Stephenson said...

Oh, all right Pat - send me your address and I'll send you a proper card (or as proper as mine get). X

angryparsnip said...

I wish I did have your address as I love to send real mail... cards, note even postcards made for what ever I find !

I was a greeting card artist for most of my life. I think I was born a greeting card artist and I love paper.

Blogging and e-mail is good for a quick chat for family and friends who live far away. But nothing beats sending mail and receiving mail.
It is just that most wonderful feeling to see that someone thought of you and sent a note.

Merry Merry Christmas and stay warm !

cheers, parsnip

Eryl said...

I have mixed feelings about cards: they drive me doolally gathering dust and falling off surfaces, yet they are the only way I hear from some old friends that I like to keep in touch with. I'm also the world's most disorganised person so I used always to buy them but never get round to sending them. So I've stopped trying now. I send thank you letters in mid January instead, when I seem to have more time.

My son, who's 25, actively dislikes cards of any kind, he thinks they are a waste of money and extremely un-eco-friendly. But I guess he is of the Facebook generation and will always keep in touch with all his friends in this new, electronic way. And, no doubt, by the time he gets to middle age and later he'll have his own mix of traditions that make Christmas Christmas.

Penny said...

I couldnt agree more, I love sending and getting my Christmas cards, as you say often the only contact we have over a year.I dont think much of electronic ones.
Also agree with your post below.
Merry Christmas, so far a cool if slightly windy week but
Christmas day could be hot. So different to yours.

Helsie said...

I'm on the other side of the argument. I send cards to the "oldies" - aunts and uncles who aren't on the internet. The ones who are really important to me I ring and have a chat. The rest of my friends who I "chat" with regularly around the world through email, blogs and Facebook get a greeting from me via our usual lines of communication.
The birth of the internet has meant that people who rarely communicated are often now in constant touch. Old friendships renewed, old school friends re-united, lines of communication snaking all over the world happening daily not monthly or yearly.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if snailmail cards disappeared completely in the next 10 -15 years and that won't really bother me at all.
Merry Christmas
Cheers
Helen

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh I do agree with you, Weaver! We love sending 'real' cards here, for as many occasions as possible. It is so lovely to find a card on the mat and open it, then nexclaim in delight at the thoughtful picture and words. And also to look again years later and think of the memories.

Of course, for my intergalactic human bloggy-friends, electronic cards are the only way - so they have their place too!

steven said...

weaver - this year for the first time in years i sent old fashioned christmas cards. purchased from an artist in cheshire (the blogger "acornmoon"), i had them sent to me in canada and sent them to family and friends here. i'm not old fashioned, i just love sending beautiful things to people i love!! steven

Cloudia said...

Thank you for this wise and lovely post!



Aloha from Hawaii

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Crafty Green Poet said...

I make most of my cards (I alaways aim to make all of them but never seem to time it right!). That saves money as well as being greener. I don't send a huge number of cards though. I do send electronic cards, as i have some friends who move around a lot and its the beast way of reaching them...

Happy Christmas!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely to hear that cards are still popping through letter boxes and old friendships are being renewed. Long live the Christmas card. Happy Christmas and thank you for your comments.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

Here's a cheer for those of your commenters who embrace e-cards as well as the traditional variety (and that, coming from someone who sells cards)! Our overseas friends get the electronic kind. One can normally add whatever sort of greeting one likes, with no shortage of space and, because the card is usually animated and musical, I think them even better than a paper card. And no matter what, it still shows that someone has been thinking of you which, after all, is the most important part. A very Merry Christmas to you both. x

thousandflower said...

Another thought on the paper cards. I save the ones I get each year and then cut them up to make gift tags the following year.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Count me in as hopelessly and happily old fashioned. Yes I make my Christmas cards. Almost 200 of them!

Robin Mac said...

I love both forms. I make our own cards with photos of our family and a typed letter in the centre, BUT I hand write a note on each as well, and of course I hand address the envelopes. I love receiving Christmas cards and recognising the handwriting of old friends from far away. I send Jacquie Lawson e-cards to some people, especially overseas ones, because like Derrick, I like the animation of them. Hope you have a lovely Christmas and New Year. I imagine yours will be white - ours will be wet and soggy, rain has been falling for days - but we will still enjoy ourselves.

Jinksy said...

On the Christmas card score, I've designed and made my own for years, but now, with a computer, I can design them on screen, and it seems a total waste to then print them off just in order to send via snail mail! Instead, as a pesonal touch, I use a telephone call to catch up with friends and family over the holiday season. As we can chat for far longer than the time it takes to write or read a few lines written inside a paper card,I don't feel 'bah humbug' comes into it!