The beauty of the handwritten word
I receive an average of thirty to fourty E-Mails a day. The majority being commercials, mixed with a few inquiries and boring correspondence with electricity companies, or other officials. Happily, I am reading and responding to the ten plus texts, Facebook messages and messages on other Apps, as they are from family and friends and they keep me feeling close and connected. A lot of correspondence happens everyday for me.
Yet, there is something magical about opening your mailbox at Christmas time and finding a handwritten card in there, hidden between bills and advertisements. It feels warm and personal. It goes so well with a hot cup of coffee in the afternoon. It is a reminder, that we are still coming together, getting a little closer, for Christmas.
I'm thankful for every card or letter coming my way. Wether you had just a moment to jot down a note, or you wrote me several pages - the effort doesn't go unnoticed.
And effort it is. Weeks before the post offices start getting overly busy you have to order or make cards. If you send the traditional family photo card you have to book your photographer as early as the summertime to have your pictures and your cards ready in time. If you are a last minute person you may scramble to find your selfie-stick or tripod. The more personal and artisanal you want to get the more effort it almost takes. Then the hassle of gathering everyone's current address. Why do these people move so often? And why is my address book never up to date? There's cost involves. Photographers, print services, postage fees.
But please. Please, don't stop sending them.
Every card is a small island of calm in the busy days before Christmas. Every handwritten word is a sign of caring. If you had to focus your energy on just giving one gift this year - let it be an honest, heartfelt wish for someone written down on a card. It is good for the soul.
There are a lot of people I rarely find time to connect with throughout the year. This is the time to catch up with them and if not more, at least show them they have not been forgotten.
This year I sent out cards to a bit of a different list of people. I left out many recipients, which haven't returned the correspondence in recent years. Not as a childish way of showing them my discontent (I love them!), but rather to focus my money and energy on others, that I knew could really use a warm message. I spent hours writing a personal message to each and every one of them. Using this time of the year to tell them what is new with me, but also to send out hope for the year to come, to congratulate them on the achievements and joys of the year past and to express my gratitude of having them in my life.
My husband joined me this season and personally addressed some of his side of the family, as well as his best friends. It was foreign and outlandish for him at first to come up with something to say other than "Merry Christmas and a happy New Year", but in the end he seemed pleased. We had a cozy time, sitting around the dining table, writing our cards side by side.
So far my mailbox has been staying fairly empty of cards. And I'm trying not to feel disappointed about it. In the end though, I wish all of you out there a slow evening, some candlelight, a glass of wine, some peace, some comfort and content, some room for writing your cards. Wether you are slowing your life to write it, or slowing your life to read it - you are slowing down your life and making room for joy and human connection. And that, is the beauty of the handwritten word.