Yesterday, with the break in the weather–the milder temperatures and melting snow–I set out to unplug our outdoor Christmas lights on the back deck and those out on the tall evergreen in the far corner of the yard.
Since the dwindling snow made it rather easy to get out and about, it was pretty simple to roll up each of the orange extension cords and get them dried out in the garage until it will be time to return them to their designated Rubber Maid storage container for another year. The lights themselves will come down soon, but now they rest out there, dark and lonely.
It didn’t take me long, that little task, but it got me to thinking about how quickly our holiday celebrations come and go, passing into memory almost before we realize it. And I then began to recall the past few weeks and the wonderful gifts of having our kids and grandkids around, if but for a very short time to help us celebrate the season.
And so the “dismantling” of Christmas has begun and besides all of the taking down and putting away, there remains one other major ritual: Writing post-Christmas letters, thanking one and all for the thoughtful gifts, spending time with us, and sharing their holiday spirit in doing so.
For as long as I can remember, I have been an avid letter writer, and I’ve always felt that there is no better time than after the Christmas holiday to write and send letters from the heart–the old-fashioned way! No, I don’t mean handwritten by pen (my penmanship is frightful!) but typed out, printed, sealed in an envelope, postage stamp attached, and dropped in the post office to be sent on their merry way.
In this age of instant messaging, texting, and e-mail, most people fail to see much value in old-fashioned letter writing any more. But I’m not one of them. Receiving a written letter in the mail from a friend or relative has always been one of life’s greatest joys for me.
I must admit that I love all of the modern technology that has made texting, e-mail, cell phones, and other forms of social networking so readily available in our lives. Yet, all of this, I’m pretty sure, has pretty much rendered the practice of letter writing a forgotten art form. Perhaps one of the most disturbing things that speaks to the current state of communication is that many people with Facebook, Twitter, texting, and all other forms of social media don’t even e-mail anymore! To say the least, it makes me wonder where we’re going in our ways of communicating.
Still, I often write letters to friends and relatives for their birthdays, anniversaries, or to wish them congratulations for some achievement, get well wishes, or simply to send along family updates. And I know the chances of receiving any kind of reply or acknowledgement that my letter was received are pretty slim. Yet, I take great satisfaction in the simple act of taking the time to write and mail the letter.
And so I must ask: Readers, what are your feelings about the art of letter writing? Is there a place for it in our world of human communication? Or am I just romanticizing about a lost art from a lost time?
In some small way, I’ll do my very best to keep the practice of letter writing alive. If anyone reading feels as I do, and would like to correspond via the “old-fashioned” way, mention so in the comments section, and we can get the ball rolling.
This idea kind of brings back memories from long-ago school days when we’d have Pen Pals. Now, as back then, it would be a fun, learning experience. Regardless, if nothing else, take some time and write a letter to someone soon. It’s a good feeling–for sender and receiver! :-)….CortlandWriter
*Note: On my “Must Read” list is a new book by Simon Garfield titled To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing (Gotham Books)
- Girl’s Letter To Future Self Goes Viral After Her Death (newsy.com)
- pen pal 2014. (goshery.typepad.com)