I almost never opt out of the mailing of physical missives to people during the holidays. I think I did in 2010, an odd and distressing fall just didn't give me an opening for such things.
I'm not religious. I've come to think of the New Year coming along as just a more intense month and quarter end for taxes and forms and such.
But I do think it's a great thing to trot out our list and send something physical to people. See if the thing gets returned by the P.O. and you've lost track of someone. (This happened once this year so far but the address was perfect. Resent and it didn't come back.) Maybe include a little note for people that you infrequently (or never) connect with via email or social media or, whoa, 'in person.'
This year I took a professional shot I'd purchased from a photographer with us and our building and some of the other skyline behind us, had Snapfish print it with "Season's Greetings from our backyard. Forrest and Linda." I ordered a couple of hundred, with envelopes. As of today (the day after Christmas) I have prepared 89 cards. Some I sent after receiving one from another party. Some I sent one day and, in a sort of mind meld, got one from those folks the next day. I have received, as of Christmas Eve, 57 cards for people and 15 from organizations or businesses.
Of course, we received cartoon animals (always at least one cat). We got various sort of not really holiday cards with swan or boat or deco design or reference to Mayan Apocalypse.
There were plenty of personalized ones with pictures of people with their kids or just pictures of the kids, some with elaborate multi-picture chronicles. Some included pets or obvious future children in baby bumps.
A number included elaborate recounting of 2012, often illustrated. I managed to read most of these to be end.
I'm sure we will receive a few more in the coming week. And I'll mail a few more, too. And then I'll start to wonder if I should do it next year. I've thought of saving the ones I received and making collages on blank cards next year. Or going back to a really mechanized approach with no hand-written notes, pre-printed labels, rubber stamped return addresses. This year I hand-addressed them and hand-wrote the return addresses. I used (and verified and corrected entries in) a database with 626 entries some of whom I'd never send a card to and a few of whom I don't remember who they are. I usually have to delete a few entries (or remove one name) this time of year to acknowledge deaths. Haven't had any break-ups (that I know of) lately but that happens, too.
It seems to be a lot of wasted effort in this era of electronic things, but still I go on and so do many others. For me, it's always a diminishing return in shear numbers (I send more than I receive) but there is a positive psychic return. And in the 'you just never know category' someone I once exchanged cards with but who is now just a facebook acquaintance from the past, found one of our cards from 28 years ago and published it on my timeline. So, I leave you, dear readers with this old sentiment from a time when these dogs were alive and we wore strange glasses: "Have a Warm and Cuddly 2013!"