Snail Mailed

One of the joys of the holiday season is finding out about what your friends have been up to in the past year through their Christmas cards.

On Christmas Day, I spent about three hours just leaning back in a chair, and very deliberately going through the cards that friends had sent along. Many of them include messages, long and short, shedding more light on their activities.

xmas cardsSome come only in card form. But even that is a delight, since the years are adding up for all of us, and just hearing from old friends, and knowing that they are here, always cheers us. Of course, the flip side is that in a few days after Christmas we will get returned two or three cards from distant friends we sent cards to, who have either moved and we need to change their address, or they have “moved on,” and we need to eliminate them from our list. The second part saddens you.

Yes, some write long, long letters. Today these might even arrive via e-mail, being quickly sent, and saving our friends postage. If you send out a lot of cards, that postage can add up while Internet communications works well!

Going through the comments and letters in the arriving cards, you learn all sorts of items. Some people now are also grandparents, and of course and as it should be, they like to tell about the accomplishments of both their children, or their grand (and some great) children.

That aspect makes us proud: the accomplishment of our friends’ children. Many of them are really sharp kids (or so their grandparents say), doing so much, and seeming to really enjoy themselves. We are proud, even those we don’t know them closely or at all.

So we hear of people graduating from college or becoming a doctor, or of new births or new careers and even of ailments. “Still in there after battling cancer,” one said, and we were relieved to hear of this person’s progress.

Since much of our mail comes from the senior set, we find that many of them find time to travel, to all sort of exotic places. One couple we know in England was taking an Asian cruise, only to find that all four of the ship’s engines conked out. There they were in what they call 33 degree (C) weather (about 100 degrees F) without any air conditioning. And this lasted several days, with finally one engine and then another one getting partially restarted at sea, before they slowly steamed for an unexpected port. They were given a complimentary stay at a top hotel, and provided tickets for another cruise. What an adventure!

Another couple took a cruise with their extended family around New England and to Canada, aboard a ship named for their family. It made it sound like so much fun we wished we had been with them.

Opening Christmas cards is not like talking on the phone, up close and really personal. Yet going leisurely through the cards gives us a certain pleasure. It’s a part of Christmas we always look forward to each year.

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One more holiday story: a Christmas Party invitation one person got gave the time and place, then added: “Adult admission: one festive beverage; child admission: $700.” Guess how many children showed up?

Image: Provided by author.
Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County,, and Georgia news,