Today was that day. The day once a year I quietly sit down with a pile of Christmas cards, envelopes and stamps. Alongside the stack of admin is my address book. A delightful tradition and an old school approach, I know, to still have a hard-backed address book. Surely we all have everything on our ‘phones these days? But it’s one I don’t want to let go of. It feels like a constant and a ‘back-up’ in the event of technology letting us all down. Today was a moment’s pause in a typically busy year. A different year, we all know that. And enough said on that matter.
Today did feel like an oasis of routine. There was almost a nice warm glow akin to what we are sold in all those seasonally saccharin TV ads. It is a pleasure to write little notes and updates and best wishes.
There is another side though. The sadness that comes with reviewing the year and updating the address book. This year there has been one breakup and one death. It is to be expected, it is real life and time passes. But the experience is an emotional one. Crossing out a name in the address book feels real and tangible. It feels more polite than deleting a contact on my ‘phone. However, it seems less final, the shadow of the relationship or of the dearly departed friend remains on the page. Until it is time for a new address book that is.
The whole idea of Christmas and even birthday cards is, we are led to believe, on the way out. Something that is being replaced by texts, social media postings, or video calls. I think that would be a shame. Whilst I use all these new methods, and enjoy them, there is something more tangible when writing on a card and sending it in the post. Online communications have kept us all together this year, in some cases it has brought many of us closer than before. But a card has something else to offer, a physical connection, an expression of thought, love or friendship. And for me, it is an opportunity to share art. A card is usually an artwork, an illustration or a photograph. Which should be regarded as a gift itself. And favourite examples can be kept in one’s scrapbook. Now there’s another tradition – how old school am I?