Coaches Corner: The Christmas Card
December 14, 2022
Writing and sending out Christmas cards is slowly becoming a distinct and lost art. Social media has taken over our human connectedness. Sure, we can scroll on social media anytime, day or night, and see what's happening locally and worldwide. But are we losing genuine connections? It is personal engagements that we cherish the most, and there is no substitute for the time and thought that goes into sending cards in the mail.
Some may say the reason for not sending out cards is the cost of stamps or the time it takes to sit and write, but when you think about it, it costs much less to touch a person's life with a thoughtful card or note. We spend hours upon hours scrolling social media or spending money on things that don't enhance a person's life. Perhaps, we need a shift in our priorities.
People love to go to the mailbox and find a card in the mail. They will most likely open that before opening any correspondence or bills. The card means that you are important, valued, and thought about.
I, for one, will not stop sending out cards. In past years, I have dwindled the number of Christmas cards I send, but after giving it much thought this year, I have decided to increase the number I send.
Because it is an opportunity to enjoy, enhance and touch lives every day...it is my way to show those people in my life how much I cherish and value them.
When I receive a card in the mail, I know someone has taken a few minutes to write me a message. I can hardly wait to open it as it shows they have been thinking about me. It fills my cup.
I recently received two unexpected cards in the mail, which meant the world to me because they were both filled with kind and thoughtful words. Receiving a message in a digital format is impersonal and is generally a last-minute thought.
A prominent educator and patron of the arts. Henry Cole traveled in the elite circles of early Victorian England and had the misfortune of having too many friends.
During the holiday season of 1843, those friends were causing Cole much anxiety. The problem was their letters: An old custom in England, the Christmas and New Year's letter had received a new impetus with the recent expansion of the British post system and the introduction of the "Penny Post," allowing the sender to send a letter or card anywhere in the country by affixing a penny stamp to the correspondence.
Now, everybody was sending letters. Sir Cole - best remembered today as the founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London - was an enthusiastic supporter of the new postal system, and he enjoyed being the 1840s equivalent of an A-Lister, but he was a busy man. As he watched the stacks of unanswered correspondence, he fretted over what to do. "In Victorian England, it was considered impolite not to answer mail," says Ace Collins, author of Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas. "He had to figure out how to respond to all of these people."
Cole hit on an ingenious idea. He approached an artist friend, J.C. Horsley. And asked him to design an idea that Cole had sketched out in his mind. Cole then took Horsley's illustration - a triptych showing a family at a table celebrating the holiday flanked by images of people helping the poor - and had a thousand copies made by a London printer. The image was printed on a piece of stiff cardboard 5 1/8 x 3 1/4 inches. At the top of each was the salutation, "To________" allowing Cole to personalize his responses, which included the generic greeting "A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You."
The first Christmas card was born. (Smithsonian Magazine contributing writer John Hanc December 9, 2015) Side note: $0.01 in 1840 is equivalent to $0.34 today.
Many traditions fall by the wayside, but you can choose to keep this tradition alive during this most beautiful time of the year. As much as you enjoy receiving Christmas cards, celebrate this beautiful season with family and friends near and far by sending Christmas cards to those you care most about.
To connect with Ellie: FB @coachelliewest coachinghearttocheart.com