The weather outside is frightful(-ly warm, for mid-December), but don’t worry: holiday traditions such as tree-lighting ceremonies, parades, decorating, and shopping are full-speed ahead (full-steam, if it stays this warm!)
Letter-writing and the mailing of greeting cards is still alive and well, as far as traditions go, even though many folks send their greetings via social media or email these days. But, in honor of Letter Writing Day (celebrated every December 7), here’s a little history about personal correspondence:
- The first documented letter was written by the Persian Queen Atossa (mother of Xerxes), around 500 BC.
- Here in the United States, December 7 is designated as “Letter Writing Day,” but cultures around the world regularly celebrate the art of writing letters. (In Japan, for example, the 23rd of every month is dedicated to writing letters).
- British civil servant Sir Henry Cole is credited with “inventing” Christmas cards in 1843, as a way to encourage “ordinary people” to use the Postal Service.
- In America, as the number of family farms decreased in the 1880s, women took on the responsibility of “working on kinship,” which included keeping in touch with distant family members through holiday greeting cards.
- By the 1920s, the greeting card industry included 40 factories, and more than 5,000 workmen.
- Non-profit organizations began selling sets of cards in the 1940s, to raise funds and awareness for their programs.
- Today, Americans purchase 1.6 billion holiday cards each year
The greeting card tradition now includes personalized cards with family photos, even the ubiquitous Christmas Letter, and more. With more responsibilities and less time, families are turning more often to other options, including email and social media greetings, which are far less personal (but get the job done, nonetheless).
If you are planning to celebrate Letter-Writing Day, or send your holiday cards the old-fashioned way (in an envelope, with a stamp on the outside), remember these important dates to ensure your friends and loved ones will receive their cards in time for Christmas:
- December 15 is the deadline for oversized packages and non-urgent letters/cards
- December 20 is the deadline for 1st Class Mail
- December 23 Priority Mail Express will get your cards and letters to their intended recipients in time for Christmas
Windsong homeowners use their mailbox time to greet neighbors, particularly in our newer communities where mailboxes are centrally located, rather than curbside. Receiving a stack of holiday cards in brightly colored, hand-addressed envelopes is sure to make for wonderful conversation!
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