In the modern era where electronic communication dominates, our snail mail mailboxes are bearing less and less bounty—at least the 11 other months of the year. But in December, oh how they overflow!
I don’t know about you, but our mail seems to be coming later and later these days. Wilton’s overburdened (the local outpost of the overburdened US Postal Service) recently ‘streamlined’ the mail delivery routes and were able to eliminate-slash-condense three of the routes into the others. The result? We used to get our mail around 4 pm every day; now, it sometimes doesn’t get delivered until after 7 pm.
Even still, no matter how late the mail does eventually get to us, we’re totally eager to open it. It’s much more personal and entertaining come December, even if there are bills hidden behind the gems. Sure, there’s still our share of junk mail (no, we don’t want another credit card, thanks, but I can always use another Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon).
But now, there’s much, much more for us to sort through and actually want to open and read.
There are numerous charities sending end-of-year donation appeals just before the end-of-year tax deduction deadline—those go in one pile. It’s a reminder for where we can continue to help out, especially at this needy time of the year.
Today’s copies of the Land’s End and Garnet Hill catalogs go on top of the pile of the different Land’s End and Garnet Hill catalogs that arrived yesterday. Usually around the third week in January I get around to removing the foot-high pile of catalogs that accumulated through the holidays and say, “Hmmm, I bet there were some things in there that would have
Then we save the best for last—the lovely envelopes that are actually addressed by hand! For these beauties are the holiday piece-de-resistance: the holiday cards!
Each one is more entertaining than the last. Who chose to showcase their gorgeous children with modern typeface gently wishing “Peace”? Who opted for the humorous expression of goofy family antics and a tongue-in-cheek message? Who went traditional with a gorgeous professional picture taken in front of the Ambler Farm Red Barn?
From some friends, especially those from afar, we get updates about how Nicole did in first grade this year and how Henry’s soccer team won the state championship, again! We get caught up on the story of their family’s vacation to the Grand Canyon, and chuckle over the shot of grandma riding atop the mule.
The etiquette of holiday cards can be mine-laden, if you choose to attempt to follow it. Do you send a card early and then if it’s not reciprocated cross that person off the list for next year? Do you write a personal note on each pre-printed card? Such ‘gentle polite rules’ are too myriad for us to even try to navigate, considering we haven’t yet gotten our act together to send ours out. I’m still compiling addresses, so it’s going to be a Happy New Year card. (I have friends who send Valentine’s wishes so I know I’m not the latest, at least!)
Whenever it gets sent—or even received—perhaps the best thing is the sentiment of the gesture. Especially given how dependent we’ve become on fast, cursory, electronic emails and texts, the actual tangible message shows someone something key: I’m thinking of you and yours.
It’s a lovely echo I’m grateful to hear each time I open the mailbox door.