Make it personal

 

Our Deb Williams reflects on the lost art of the letter, and explains why she misses Christmas cards:
 
It’s a crisp winter morning, and I’m standing by the bay window, looking out onto a fresh blanket of snow. It seems to hug even the most fragile branches. Today is a good day to spend a few quiet moments sending out my Christmas cards.

I believe my love for writing first sprouted in my early teens when I spent hours writing letters to pen pals and friends away at boarding school.

 
Humid summers in India were spent corresponding with cousins in England and aunts in Australia. Every time a letter arrived, I – for a moment — saw myself in their worlds. I read of the sticky, red earth of the Australian outback and the vicious geese at St. James Park in England. I would later discover both for myself.
 
In my late teens, my correspondence turned to love letters. They related messages of the heart that were simply too precious to be sent through an impersonal e-mail, and too discreet to be revealed over a crackling long-distance phone call.
 
Even after I got married, I left love notes around the house for my husband to find. Our courtship has been documented through cards, letters, and little notes. I believe a woman can never have too many of those. There are few things more precious than the arrival of a love letter, regardless of age or gender.
 
Sadly, I look around today and see that the world has changed. These days I dread bringing in the mail; it’s mostly bills or flyers. Where have all the letters gone?
 
One of my fondest memories of Christmas is sitting with my dad and stringing all the Christmas cards together. As the Yuletide season approached, wishes flowed in from all over the world. I had a stamp collection that was the envy of many of my friends. I realize now that these weren’t just cards; they were chronicles of people lives, their hopes and thoughts. Sending cards for a birthday or a holiday was a personal and intimate gesture. 
 
Now we live in a world of Facebook and instant messaging.  It is an impersonal space where it’s easier to settle for a generic broadcast than to labour over something personal and endearing. This is a space where there are no Christmas cards or love letters. We have forgotten how to build relationships, to grow together, and how to truly share our lives with each other. We live in a world where friendship has an expiration date and love is frivolous. It’s time to realise that life doesn’t have to be this way. 
 
With a gentle smile, I turn away from the window. Maybe, this holiday season we all will try a little harder, to make it a time for family, friends, and above all else – we will make time to spend together.

 

I

 

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