It’s the digital age, it’s easy to keep up with people. You’ve got Facebook, emails, texting and tweeting. You can send a smiley to old friends, thumbs up or down to celebrities and politicians, job done.
But in all that messaging, we lose some of the personal touch. Choosing a skin tone that matches yours doesn’t really make it a personal message, does it?
There’s something about the act of writing things out by hand on paper, sealing it in an envelope, and putting it through the mail that gives the message a certain gravitas. Clicking send doesn’t even come close.
It will soon be Christmas, and besides being a magical time of year with all the joy and sparkle that it brings, I know all too well the sinking, pit of the stomach feeling; there’s so much to bloody do! Lists and lists of things, just so many things. One of those things lurking somewhere in the back of my busy mind is writing Christmas cards.
When it comes to Christmas correspondence, a WhatsApp with a couple of beer emojis and “Have a great one!” just doesn’t cut any mustard. You should really send a card. It’s a pain in the butt, but that’s the point. You’ve actually bothered to travel back to the last century and put pen to paper. And that means something.
How to make Christmas card writing a joy
First you have to get the cards (we’ve sorted that for you, check out our Christmas card bundles).
Next, it’s the act or art of writing them. This is where I can help you out. At the risk of sounding slightly smug, it’s all about attitude and chocolate. But it’s mainly about chocolate.
This is probably the hardest part. Pick a time that you know you can get two hours to yourself. You may have to be fairly strict and put something else off, but it’s worth it. Now you have a time, you have a plan, and a plan needs some supplies.
What’s your preferred nibble? I’m not talking about something that you have all the time hanging around the top of your fridge. I’m talking about something that has an “ohh” in front of its name, and an “I don’t mind if I do” at the end.
Ohh, caramelised cinnamon and chocolate almonds, I don’t mind if I do.
Sweet or savoury, it’s up to you. Just so long as it fits with the ohh… I don’t mind if I do, rule.
The tipple. I like a good whiskey, but yours doesn’t need to be alcoholic, just so long as you make a pleasing “mmm” sound after every sip.
Get a good pen, I can’t stress how important it is to have a good pen.
Now it’s time to find your spot. If the house is empty then the kitchen table is ideal. I’m a bit of an old fart and like to sit at a desk with everything prepared in front of me. Chocolate, check. Whiskey, check. Good pen, check. Address book and a bunch of really nice cards, check and check.
Music, bugger, I forgot the music. Bang on Spotify (without the ads) or something similar. Make sure it’s soothing and feels a bit like a hug. A touch of nostalgia should do the trick. Here’s a playlist.
Now embrace the fact that you’ve taken some time out of your hectic schedule to just breathe and write. Writing is wonderful, you’ll feel more in touch with the person that you’re writing to.
Notifications popping up will interrupt your train of thought. So (this may be a tough one) put your phone away and give this your full attention. Think about the recipient and smile while you’re writing, slugging and nibbling.
Now, tell me you won’t feel a little smug as you seal the envelopes and slip them into a post box.