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Diminishing Returns

Our annual holiday note is drafted in early November and printed by Thanksgiving. This year, Mina's birth compressed the note’s timeline. After her arrival, I had a flurry of activities with curating photos, writing, designing, and ordering our cards.


We send the cards out in early December and then I wait expectantly to receive cards. Tarun says this is the only time of the year I fetch the mail. I love standing by the fireplace reading the notes that come with the cards. Catching up on our friends, their children, travels, grandkids, and other adventures warms the soul. Knowing someone had a rough year puts us on notice to check-in frequently.


I know how much effort goes into doing paper cards. I am full of admiration for those who send them, even though there is every reason not to continue the paper card tradition.


It's expensive.

It's tedious.

It's hard to find addresses.

Who goes to their mailbox to check for paper mail?

Post Office..Covid depot…ugh!

I have to wait how long to get stamps if I order them online??

Oh damn, I have to pay to get the cards shipped to me?

It takes soooo long!!


Yet, I persist.


1.6B cards were mailed during the 2018 holiday season. I have no doubt that the number has dwindled in the last three years, but I suspect, it is still astronomically large.

Well, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy!


The real reason I persist is because taking time to write and address our note lets me think of our friends and family. To the less digitally connected than us, cards convey that we are still - happily - part of their tribe.

When I read a card, especially one with a note inside, it tells me that our friends also care. They too think it is worthwhile to reconnect personally in the midst of the daily digital onslaught.


We used to send out 60-odd cards. This year it is down to 40. A long-standing tradition in the holiday season is to count how many cards we receive. We stack them in between the balusters in the foyer staircase. In the past, our stash went all the way to the top and then around. This year, the staircase is less than a half full.


Yet, I persist.


I am all for efficiency but not everything that dies at the altar of digitization is worth sacrificing. Christmas cards in conjunction with social media posts, emails, texts, voice mails is the perfect recipe to spread the joy, right?


To those who send cards: please keep sending them even in the face of diminishing returns, keep the tradition alive. Know that I am armed with stamps and ready to return the favor.


If I threaten to stop, I know my friend Susan will pull me off the ledge. In the meantime the encouragement from Tarun fuels me.


Cheers for a safe and restful holiday season! Happy. Merry. Peace. Joy. Love.






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