Perhaps it’s going off on a slight tangent, but something I really treasure is the arrival in my mailbox of a real letter.
Postal services have been around for a long time – Roman soldiers sent letters home from the frontiers of the empire – and the introduction of a one-penny postal service in England in 1840, coupled with increasing levels of literacy, meant that once upon a time letter-writing was a significant part of many people’s lives. Today, of course, email, text messaging and social media are turning letter-writing into something of a lost art (there were once up to six mail deliveries a day in London: here in New Zealand the postal service has recently reduced deliveries to three times a week), but there’s still something about opening a real letter that I don’t think electronic communication can match.
The picture above shows some of the ‘real mail’ I’ve received recently from people I know and love.
The Christmas card in the top left – my first of the year – was sent to me by my best friend, Becks. Inside she writes that she found it at a church fair and it made her think of me. The hand-painted image depicts the Virgin Mary adoring the infant Jesus accompanied by a lamb, one of the traditional symbols associated with Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God.
The postcard and letter are both from my lovely friend Michelle, who blogs over at Vera Gin Vintage and lives over in Australia. Although we stay in touch mainly by text message we both make an effort to write to one another on a regular basis, which means we both get to enjoy the pleasure of real mail.
The thank-you card and invitation – a real, printed and posted invitation! – are from my friends Steve and Varya, who oversee the Pacific operations of the missionary and social justice organisation Operation Mobilisation, and is to a thank-you afternoon tea for their supporters.
As for me, this week I need to get to work on my Christmas cards. Yes, real cards, for real friends out there in the real world!
What about you? Do you love receiving a good, old-fashioned letter or postcard? Will you be sending Christmas cards this year?