One of the greatest pleasures of Christmas, for me anyhow, is the sending and receiving of cards, one of the few genres of paper post that still seem to hold their own.  This year I was late writing them as we returned from a long trip just before the holiday season – I realise this may not hold water as an explanation, but there it is. 

It was wonderful to find the post pile full of handwritten envelopes, some instantly and affectionately recognisable, others less so but identifiable in combination with the source of the stamps. And inside, handwritten personal messages, some supplemented by a home made and printed ‘newsletter’ giving all kinds of interesting overviews of the last year. 

One thing I notice – paper Christmas cards are almost exclusively sent by Brits and, to a lesser extent, Americans.  It is rare to receive one from elsewhere, though I understand the French have, or had, a custom of sending cards in the new year, rather than in the run up to Christmas.  However, based on my unscientific survey, the card tradition, at least as practised today, seems to be predominantly Anglo-Saxon. 

Keep them coming, and so will I.  And for those with whom I don’t exchange Christmas cards, I hope you had a fabulous holiday and I wish you a joyous 2019. 

Photo credit: Annie Spratt at


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