When I was a kid, my parents had a mail slot (they still do, actually, but of course I don’t live there any more). I can still call to mind the distinctive sound of the mail slot upon the mailman’s arrival – a metallic rattle, then a swish and a light thud as the mail hit the floor. Most of the year, I would tune out that sound – it was all junk mail and bills bills bills for my parents (something I’ve become all too familiar with). But there were two times of year when the sound of the mail slot was something special – the week leading up to my birthday and Christmas. Christmas mail was the best. Mixed in with the bank statements and phone bills were those distinctive not-standard-letter-sized envelopes in red and green, or (delight of delights) gold and silver.
The cards weren’t for me. They were for my parents, from distant relatives we wouldn’t be seeing over the holidays, plus old friends of my folks’ spread across Canada. But I still loved to receive them, read them (even if I had no idea who the people were), see them displayed along my parents’ mantle and on the special ribbon-adorned bulletin board that came out each December.
But as the years have passed, I began to notice that the mantle and bulletin board were getting pretty bare. Slowly, bit by bit, year by year, my parents received fewer and fewer Christmas cards. In the good old days, they received dozens. These days, they’re lucky if they receive two or three. Maybe my parents have been alienating and/or falling out with their friends, but I don’t think that’s it.
I think people have stopped sending Christmas cards. You need only google the topic to see that it’s true – there are heaps of articles talking about the decline of the card (blame Facebook, many of them say). Some are even declaring the death of the card, or advocating for it, suggesting that the tradition is environmentally irresponsible.
But we’re refusing to accept that. The tradition doesn’t need to stay the same. There are people who seem to send a card to everyone they’ve ever met, with no personalized message, just a scrawled name and an inserted form letter.
That’s not the practice that we at Porchlight hope to preserve. We think an impersonal card is hardly better than no card. What we do want to encourage is the sending of cards to the people we really care about, but don’t see as often as we’d like. The people you find yourself thinking about during the festive season, and throughout the year. The people who compel you to put pen to paper, even if it’s just to write I’ve been thinking about you/missing you/wishing you were here. Who doesn’t want to receive that card amidst the stack of bills and statements?
So this Christmas we’re starting a movement to #BringBackTheCard. We’d love it if people would put down their devices, pick up a great pen, and start sending holiday snail mail. It’s a busy time of year, we know, but that makes the ritual all the nicer. Put on something cozy, make yourself a hot drink, and spend some time telling your people how much they mean to you. We promise both you and they will be so happy you did.
If you need to stock up, you can find Porchlight cards in our online shop or by visiting one of our stockists. But honestly we don’t care where you buy your cards. We just really, really hope you buy them, write them, and send them.
Join the movement. #BringBackTheCard.