I spent all yesterday afternoon writing cards and I still haven’t finished. There’s a ritualistic element to it. Put on CD of baroque Christmassy music, because you should enjoy writing cards to all your dear friends and relatives and not look on it as a chore. On the table: bottle of ink, fountain pen, list of people who sent me cards last year, address book, piles of cards. Then as you work through the list, wonder, ‘did that person have that card last year?’ Try to suit the card to the recipient.
For those who think Christmas is more commercialised now than in the olden days, here’s a quote from The Diary of a Nobody, published in 1892.
DECEMBER 20. Went to Smirksons’, the drapers in the Strand, who this year have turned out everything in the shop and devoted the whole place to the sale of Christmas cards.
Do you send many cards?
Carrie said the great disadvantage of going out into Society and increasing the number of our friends was, that we should have to send out nearly two dozen cards this year.
The writers intended people to laugh at the Pooters, so we can assume that two dozen was quite a small number of cards to send (for those who could afford it). The post has changed, of course.
DECEMBER 21.To save the postman a miserable Christmas, we follow the example of all unselfish people, and send out our cards early.