Sending Christmas cards was never this complicated before technology got so good

Christmas cards is a subject that I could… and likely will… use for many essays over the years. but for this particular one, I want to focus on this year, and a funny set of circumstances created by the brilliance of technology. (Sort of.)

Every year… it seems… I get contacted by one or two (or more) people looking for mailing addresses. With kids away at school, it’s certainly an understandable request. And this year, with Jay moving into a new home, the request did arrive… at first from my sister.

The funny part of the story begins with her request… because as it turned out, I didn’t have the address.

I know. Shame on me. Terry and I hadn’t begun preparing our cards at that time, and hadn’t been looking through our address books or lists to see what information we needed. The idea that Jay had a new location for mail hadn’t struck us yet.

So everyone laughed, and a few days later we actually ended up getting Jay’s address from that very same sister of mine. Seems she had tracked him down before we could.

A night or two later Terry and I arrived home to find a message on our answering machine. It was a friend of the family. She was hoping we could get her my sister’s address. Yes… same sister.

And… umm…


We couldn’t.

See… my sister moved cross-country last year after the holidays. And while I know she must have sent us her new address, we couldn’t find it at all. And so there we were, having just finished exchanging details with said sister about an address she wanted but we didn’t have, only to find out that we didn’t have her address either.

People talk about how e-mail and other so-called advances are leading to a dumbing-down of the world. And for the most part, I agree with the thought. I do believe methods of communicating are often approached too informally these days… with emoticons and all lower case letters and little to no punctuation.

But that isn’t the point here.

Instead, we don’t send letters any more. That’s a shame. And it’s also a problem.

We laugh when people are shown losing their phones while crying that all of their information is in it. Contacts and addresses and phone numbers… all wiped out. And we cry when our hard drives collapse… taking with it pictures and information that we never bothered to back up, even though we knew we should.

But the overall truth cannot be denied. The tendency these days is simple to see. Once we have the information to establish contact… an e-mail address… a phone number plugged into the cell phone… we stop. Why bother to have a street address when you have a web site you can head to? Seriously. How many times do you address a letter to a person these days?

Could you replace all of the phone numbers you needed if you lost your cell phone? How about e-mail address is your computer crashed?

And in the holiday season of 2009… a reminder was sent to me during my preparations of Merry Christmas wishes to friends and family. Paper and pen isn’t dead just yet. There’s safety and security in having something written down… and a hug, or at least a kind thought, in the mailbox from someone special because of it.

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