Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

23 December 2013

Greetings in the digital age - the Christmas edition

The Christmas cards are done.  Late this year.  And that was after I had culled the list.  The overseas ones were sent ten days out from Christmas.  The interstate ones went out with a week to spare.  The ones in and out of my own city were dropped in the post box yesterday.  On the 22nd December.  With a muttered apology to the poor postal workers who have to sort and maybe even deliver my mail this close to Christmas.  I'm appalled at myself.

There was considerable inertia to get the Christmas mail done this year.  Deb found the same.  On her post I put it down the to the recent full moon.  But the real reason for me was West Wing.  I am at the business end of the boxed set.  It's been a big six or eight months. And one evening early in December I was so tired after a busy day that I couldn't think of Christmas mail so I put on an episode.  That may or may not have led to one or two episodes more.  That certainly led to a late night.  So that by the next night I was so tired from my late night that there was nothing for it but to collapse on the sofa and watch West Wing...

Nothing like the pressure of a deadline (and that awful episode where Arnold Vinick's hand is broken from too many hand shakes) to break a bad habit and get you moving.  And I do like to write the annual Christmas letter.  If nothing else, in the absence of keeping a journal, it serves as my own little reminder of our year.  I've kept every one I've written since that year I dared to cross to the dark side of the photocopied Christmas letter.  That would be 1995.

I've said (ad nauseum, some might say) that we don't write letters anymore because we have email.  But then we don't actually correspond by email either.  And email has been overtaken by the shorter, sharper and snappier Facebook...and possibly by other means electronic that I don't even know about. 

I reflected here about the change in how we tackle greetings in the digital age when someone has passed away.  And it would seem that in one short year lots has changed about how we send Christmas greetings too. 

Last year we received lots of Christmas cards and as for previous years, many photocopied Christmas letters that I would place in a special box on the coffee table to read and enjoy during quiet moments.  And last year there were quite a few letters that arrived electronically, most of which I printed out to put in the box as well.

This year we have received lots of cards.  Most of them are from people who live within a five kilometre radius of our home.  Most of them hand delivered.  We attend a church with people who delight in swapping cards with one another so the last couple of Sundays have been fun.  There were quite a few received from friends at the end of the school year as well.  Then a few cards have come in the mail.   But the letters.  As of today the count is two in post and two attached to emails. 

That said, Facebook is becoming a fun place to hang about, so please don't hear me complaining about a lack of Christmas mail.  It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in that electronic neck of the woods.  And I get it.  The inertia was enormous this year.  I find myself wondering if this year is it.  There will always be a collection of souls who will receive a card from us, for any number of reasons.  But I am wondering whether next year I go essentially electronic.  My letter writing self would consider this to be crossing over to the really dark bit of the dark side of Christmas greetings.  But things have moved along really quickly in the digital world this year - a lot of it good  - and I feel I am moving along with it.  I guess another year will tell.

Or maybe it really was just the full moon, after all.

No comments: