​Sealing Envelopes, Not Pressing “Post”

kasey Schumacher

sealing envelopes, not pressing post—kasey schumacher—nov 2020

Around this time last year, I stood at the counter of the post office, juggling my son on my hip while trying to take my credit card out of my wallet. I was buying a significant number of stamps, and the post office employee smiled warmly at me as I made my purchase.

“Seems like you're buying an awful lot of stamps,” an elderly woman behind me in line piped up. Her comment had an edge to it as if I was doing something wrong by purchasing stamps.

I chucked and replied, “Yeah, I'm getting ready to send out Christmas cards, so I have to stock up!”

“Wow…I'm surprised someone your age even knows what a Christmas card is!” she snarked back. I was immediately curious how old she thought I was, and why that would imply I didn't know what a Christmas card was.

“Uhhh, yep. I do. My mom sent them every year growing up, and it's a tradition I want to continue,” I babbled on, trying to explain myself. I continued to smile politely at the woman as I grabbed my receipt from the clerk. He and I exchanged a knowing glance as if we were buddies on the same team in this bizarrely rude post office interaction.

I went on with my day, headed home, and sat watching “The Santa Clause” as my husband and I addressed, stamped, and organized our annual Christmas card together.

I personally love the process of making a Christmas card. It gives me an excuse to set up professional family photos. Numerous photographers around the area offer mini photography sessions for the sole purpose of capturing images for the holidays. This year, my family and I participated in a mini session from the incredibly talented Liz from inablinkphotography. I had a blast picking out our coordinating outfits for the photos, spending time together, and (safely!) capturing pictures outside. iPhone family selfies serve their own purpose, but I love knowing we'll have high-quality photos to cherish for years to come.

And yes, I could still get professional photos taken but skip the Christmas card process. Since everything can be put on display via social media, I can see how many people don't find the need to send a card these days. Posting a photo or update on social media is quick, cheap and convenient. However, it will never replace the thought and time that goes into creating a Christmas card, gathering up your list of friends and family and sending each card on its way. Almost everyone I send a Christmas card to is also my friend on social media. I could easily post a family photo and call it good. But where's the holiday spirit in that? In a year that has been full of letdowns and adjustments, I will use any excuse to make something more special and significant. Traditionally, I'm a fan of finding ways to simplify things, but I plan to make an exception to that train of thought for years to come with my Christmas cards.

As an aside, I've been told Christmas cards are a waste of money. Sure, they're not exactly free. But I find so much happiness in not only sending them but receiving them! I love heading to my mailbox in December and seeing if we received any cards that day. Plus, plenty of websites offer ridiculous deals on holiday cards. Shutterfly.com knows its target audience well and offers deals and incentives on cards each year.

I use social media for many purposes every day and enjoy connecting with family and friends via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. However, I hope sending physical Christmas cards doesn't become a lost art entirely. This year more than ever, a simple card with a message of love, hope and joy for the season can make a significant impact in a person's life and remind them that you still think about them.

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