Christmas cards + ten years

stamps2 stamps1I love sending handwritten mail. I just do. Ever since I was a little girl, way back in the days before email, when my parents encouraged me to seek a pen pal by placing an ad in “Rural Delivery” magazine, (an ad which read something like, “Hi, I’m Leah, I’m 8 years old, I like to draw and I hate my brother,”) and I got responses from other little girls across the country, I’ve loved everything about it.

I love: the actual writing on paper of thoughts and conversation, the writing of the recipient’s address on the envelope (copying it from my address book to be sure I get it right), licking or sticking on the stamp, sealing the envelope, putting it in the mailbox (the finality of it shutting closed, especially the big heavy one at the Post Office, is so much better than just clicking “Send”), then waiting, for weeks, and checking my own mailbox, every day hoping, until a return letter arrives.

Then of course there are the joys of receiving mail: I love seeing my friend’s handwriting, seeing whether or not they decorated the envelope, the stamp (is it interesting? I love an interesting stamp), and then opening it up, sitting down, reading the letter right away. A handwritten letter is like an actual conversation between friends over tea, it just takes longer and is more thoughtful.

Growing up, I liked when my family got Christmas cards, but knew that sending them out to other families was a task for grown-ups. Then when I moved back to Cape Breton in 2007, at age 23, I decided it was time that I sent some Christmas cards of my own. And since then, for the past five years, I have.

The first few years I ordered my cards from the Syracuse Cultural Workers, who are definitely worth supporting, as they use unionized labor, and sustainably-sourced paper and inks. (This was the first design I chose – I loved its simplicity, and the greeting on it: “May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.”) The last couple of years shipping from the US has felt prohibitive, so I’ve gotten my cards locally (although not sustainably – usually they’re Hallmark on sale). (I’ve thought about making my own cards, but my list runs to about 45 people.)

I like making a long list of everyone I want to send to, in November. I like emailing them to get their up-to-date mailing addresses. (Which is kind of funny, when you think about it.) I like checking the Canada Post website to find out the deadlines to send the cards by, to make sure they get to the respective countries on time. I like writing little personal greetings, and wishing people health, happiness, peace and joy in the New Year. And I like holding a hefty stack of cards about to be sent off, sorted by Canada Post workers, and delivered to my favourite folks.

My top five favourite things about Christmas, in no particular order:

  1. Christmas cards, giving and receiving
  2. Christmas music (though not ad nauseum)
  3. Spiced apple cider with a cinnamon stick
  4. Presents! (I mean, who are we kidding?)
  5. Reading quietly in a warm living room next to a lit-up Christmas tree, preferably while it snows outside

Also, a side note: yesterday, the 18th, marked ten years since I started blogging. I remember it well: I was sitting in Laurie Cooper’s basement office in Whistler, BC, using her laptop. (I was her children’s nanny.) If you’re interested, you can read the first few posts I made on my first blog, “huminbean”, here. It’s the ramblings of an 18-year-old non-skier or snowboarder living in a town where everyone skis and snowboards, and legal drinking age is 19. Oh, and I was definitely not cool enough to have fake ID. Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have done so much writing! Is that a good thing? I like to think so.

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3 Responses to Christmas cards + ten years

  1. Denise Arsenault says:

    I make all my own greeting cards out of recycled material, I find greeting cards so wasteful, and costly so I use the pictures and greetings from old cards to make new! (I went with vista print for Xmas though cause I had to show off my newborn) I also made all my thank you cards that doubled as keepsakes for my friends. I usually enjoy writing personal messages but this year got hectic.
    Favourite thing about snail mail; going to the post office and unexpectedly opening the mail box to find somethin especially for you!! Besides bills cause who wants thoses, and the flyers that are rarely even placed carefully enough so you end up with two…. Then of course you get to show off your cards!!! My family always strung them on the wall as a decoration itself, I have a cute cardholder that sits on the ledge of my stairs, everytime you see them, you are reminded that someone cares enough to take the time out of their lives to think about you and send a greeting card. But i don’t send them to receive them, in fact if I got none, i would be ok. I send them to give people that mean something to me, that same joy i love so much when I get mail. ❤

  2. marie aucoin says:

    Beautiful Leah ……will read more later on…..christmas rush is definitely on!

  3. aw cblocals. (re: your old blog) i am currently wearing the (probably) last cblocals hoodie ever.

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