Friday, December 21, 2007

The handwritten note.

I've been sending out holiday cards ever since I was on my own when I was 17 years old. Back then, (oh god, 18 years ago) there were no pre-personalized cards. You still had to at least sign your name. I always included a little note to the person I was sending it to. All my cards were unique, I didn't simply write the same thing in each card. Some were the general "happy holidays" sentiment, but I always tried to say something personal to each person.

Then technology happened. You can simply buy your entire card, complete with picture of the family and already signed. All the person has to do is address the envelope, which is sometimes even simply labeled from a computer printout of their address book.

I sent out maybe 75 cards this year and it took me hours and hours of writing. So when I noticed that most of the cards I received in return were all pre-personalized, I missed the reason we send cards. Sure, creating, buying and addressing these cards still show the person you are thinking about them this Holiday season, but the receiver doesn't see any of this work. We just get a card that was no different from all the other cards that were sent.

These cards ~are~ appreciated, don't get me wrong. I was happy to receive each and every one of them. This year, I just noticed how many were already signed in printed text and, I don't know, it was a little disheartening. I think I only noticed because I had just spent every evening of the past week writing my cards or I probably wouldn't of even given this thought.

I was just discussing this with a friend and I thought about something I hadn't thought about - the fact that the majority of the people who send these types of pre-personalized cards are mostly younger than me. Either younger than me or they didn't start sending out cards back when the pre-personalization wasn't an option. So I think this is all the newer generation passing up an older tradition. For me, using a pre-personalized holiday card would be a change and I'm simply sticking with what I know. For those who use pre-personalized cards, they are simply doing what they know. It's not that they are skipping the handwritten note, it's that the handwritten note wasn't even one of the options.

Again, I want to say I still appreciate every single card sent to me. I know some of the senders are readers of my blog and I want to make sure I'm ~not~ giving the wrong message. I have the tendancy to do that because since I know how I feel, I don't feel guilty writing a post like this one. I know that when I say I appreciated those cards, I really did. I'm not just saying that to make anyone feel better. Even pre-personalized, they were still personalized. These cards contained beautiful pictures of families and that's about as personal as someone could get.

Remember, I'm simply talking about the handwritten note, the signed name, the hand addressing of a card. I find all of these things nice and I'm a little sad to see them go.

21 comments:

Julie said...

Guilty :) I couldn't pass up the beautiful pre-personalized cards from Olivia, but I did hand address each card so I guess that counts for some personalization? I know you are not knocking it though, it really is a preference thing and afterall, it's the thought that counts.

nancy said...

Dangit Julie, you were one that I wanted to point out and say how your didn't really count. :) heh. And I keep ALL my christmas cards for ever and ever. No throwing away that picture!

Julie said...

Haha, definitely no offense taken. I totally know what you are saying. Technology has taken us away from personal communication on more than the Christmas card front. I've been reading the daily reports on this topic in our local paper, great topic for discussion.

shayna said...

Mine is coming, I promise. Stupid DH keeps forgetting the darn stamps. Better late then never though, right? You know my memory.


And mine are handwritten from the inside to the outside. What can I say, I like to write, hehe. Yours has a special note inside. *wink wink*

nancy said...

Shayna - did you get mine? I listed out all the ones I sent out, but your name isn't there. But I know I got your address for a card. Making sure I did get it there.

Knucks said...

I totally agree with you on this. I hand make each of my Christmas cards each year - I admit it's a hobby of mine because I usually hand make all cards (wedding invites, birthday, thank you cards, etc). I've thought about the pre-printed things you can get now but it just seems too easy for me.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. And while I agree that a note inside is more personal, I know how much time that can take. I like to add a personal message in each of my cards along with a photo of the fam or my daughter. This year is different and I simply don't have time. Mom is in the hospital, I'm putting more hours in at work, taking care of day-to-day activities and errands, getting prepared for my own holiday traditions, along with chronic pain are exhausting to say the least. I just don't have it in me this year.

So I guess I'm saying to cut some of the "young" people some slack. You never know what their lives may entail at that time and some things are more important that those personal x-mas cards. A pre-personalized card may be the only way they have time for saying they are thinking of you this holiday season.

nancy said...

Anon, I totally understand. My point though was most of the cards I received so far have been like this.

I wish you all the luck in all the stuff you have on your plate this year!

KatieM said...

Speaking of Christmas cards....I DID do them this year, notes and all, and I asked DH to mail them out Monday because the post office is closer to his work than mine. Guess what I found in his trunk when went out today? Yup, you guessed it....the Christmas cards....he forgot to mail off the darn things! If I mail them out now everyone will get them after the holiday (but hopefully by new years) so I am wondering if I should do it at all....=/

Ann said...

I've told my husband that we absolutely cannot send out cards that don't say at least something personal. I go even farther than you do--I don't like cards on which the person just signed his or her name. You must have something else to say to me!

Anonymous said...

ha, i see what you're saying, but the ONLY reason i send out Christmas cards at all is to show off how cute my kiddos are, lol.

i've just never been big on Christmas cards, i know i know, what a scrooge.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Nancy. I hope my comment didn't come off as bitchy. I guess I have some of my own guilt for not sending those personal messages this year.

I wish you the best as well and a great Holiday. :)

jenn said...

I'm with you on your love of the handwritten. I personally can't imagine sending a prepersonlized card- I even go s far as to get different cards for different people- I love, love, love picking them out & take at least an hour making sure I have the right ones.

I also don't mind getting them- I just couldn't imagine me not writing something personal in every card. Especially this year since we really can't do gifts.

nancy said...

Anon, of course not. I could see how someone who maybe didn't have enough time because of whatever is going on this year, could feel offended at my post. But I'm definitely not talking about the random year. Hell, I've skipped them all together a year or two in there. Plus, I'm not knocking it at all - I'm actually explaining that it makes sense to me now - why do many people send them every year :)

nancy said...

Jenn - You know what? I ~loved~ your card! When it came, it must have been pretty smashed together with other mail because the jewels had made HOLES in the envelope - so when I got it, it was all sparkly. The card was in fine condition, it was just the envelopes wore through.

Searching said...

I was thinking this same thing last night as I was squinting in the dimly lit cubby my baby was in (heaven forbid I wake this screaming banshee up- so I could deal with less light so he could sleep) and my hand cramping. Was wondering if my little paragraphs and hand written addresses were even worth it. Glad to know to someone it is! :)

ps- I've gotten several email Christmas cards from people who said it was too much trouble this year to address them!

Trisha said...

i loved your card nancy! One of the reasons i didnt send cards this year was becuase i couldnt sit down and personalize them since im so busy. I do agree w/ you. I plan on sending new year cards after charlottes birthday, so i can take my time in writing them. I think in todays internet age, anyting that we dont type, we dont do!

Io said...

Wow. OK, you sent out 75 cards! I handmade my Christmas cards last year and it took forever - each one was unique and took about 30 minutes - but I only did about 25 of them. I can't imagine doing 75...
Of course, I haven't done any at all this year. I was thinking about sending some in the middle of January, since that's when I'm usually really glum and could use a pick me up.

Shayna said...

Bummer, no, I haven't gotten it yet. Mail has been screwed up at my house lately though so that may be to blame. Might be why you haven't gotten mine yet either.



No prob bob =)

nancy said...

shayna - damn! I asked for your address, didn't I? I just know I did. What I was doing was writing the ones I received on any note paper and bringing them back to the "card area". If I missed yours, I could have missed whomever returned my email about adresses. ack. Okay, you are going to get a VERY late xmas card. And, of course, I'll need you to email me your address again because I was putting the addys in my address book only after writing the cards. CRAP!

io - 25 handmade cards? WOW! See, I just buy the cards that I think are funny. I usually like those types and spend awhile picking them out. But I just sign and write a little note in them. Only takes 5 minutes per card. Just with 75 cards, it took around 6 hours. I couldn't imagine 30 minutes a piece. That's like 12 1/2 hours! You get the card award :)

Io said...

Well, I guess being infertile has its perks. Lots of time to make cards! Not sure what my excuse is this year.