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Holiday e-cards? NO.

Holiday card

Photo credit/card design: Eliza Jane Curtis

This post is #3 in a four-part series sponsored by Dell. Leave a comment for a chance to win a Dell Inspiron One 2320 Touch computer! Details at the end of the post.

The giveaway has ended, and the winner will be notified by email. Thank you to all who entered!

Electronic calendar? Use one, love it. Electronic to-do list? Couldn’t live without it. Email? Some days, I appreciate it; other days it feels like a necessary evil. Still, it’s indispensable. Even electronic party invitations and a few goofy e-cards work for me.

But electronic holiday greetings? NO WAY.

I wish I could embrace electronic holiday letters. So much easier and better for the environment! Paper cards require the annual scramble to get peoples’ mailing addresses, and all of that envelope-stuffing, -addressing, -stamping and-licking. I’m getting a dry mouth just thinking about it.

Technology helps out a bit — I print mailing labels instead of addressing envelopes, and I compose my letters on the computer. And I love all the beautiful photo cards made possible by digital photography + the Web. But I usually use regular boxed cards (purchased for half-price after Christmas the previous year, of course) and I hand-sign each one.

I can’t say I enjoy the process of getting the holiday cards out the door, and I don’t send them every year. I have fantasies about relaxed addressing sessions in front of the fire, with cheerful music and a mug of tea moving the process along. More often, I’m up late at night in mid-December with a hand cramp and a pained expression on my face.

Even so, I couldn’t imagine going virtual.

I love the annual mental survey that happens when I update my mailing list. Some are people I see every week, others, once a year or less. Some are friends in the neighborhood, others are friends from childhood. Some get holiday cards that read like thank you cards because they’ve made such an impact on my year. No one gets cards out of obligation or to keep up appearances.

Some years are bittersweet as I remove people because our relationship has faded or because they’ve died. But usually, it’s wonderful. I add the names of new babies and new friends. I also love an excuse to send paper mail to friends with whom I mainly communicate via email. There’s something magical about recognizing an online friendship with a physical card. (I still remember how I touched I was to receive a printed baby announcement from a dear blogging friend.)

On the receiving end, I LOVE it when my mailbox is packed with colorful envelopes, cards, pictures of growing children…and the letters. I LOVE HOLIDAY LETTERS. The longer, the better. I don’t care if it’s crammed with braggadocio, or printed on cheesy stationery, or badly written. I love hearing the stories of lives I care about even if the presentation is cliche. I tape cards and letters and pictures to the back of my front door so I can reread them throughout the season.

So, until further notice, I will continue clogging the postal system with my holiday cards and letters. I’ll keep sending bits of paper to the people I love; something real to turn over in their hands and stick on the fridge. It’s the best way I know to give them a little bit of me.

* * *

Dell Inspiron 2320 Touch

You might win this.

The giveaway has ended, and the winner will be notified by email. Thank you to all who entered!

And now for a little excitement from our sponsor: Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a Dell Inspiron One 2320 Touch computer! Your comment can be about anything you like, but I’d love to hear some holiday card stories.

GIVEAWAY RULES (read them, as you have more than one chance to enter the giveaway)

The giveaway will run until Friday, December 16, 2011, 11:59 p.m. EDT and is open to all U.S. residents. A winner will be chosen at random using Random.org from all eligible entries. Each reader has two chances to win by leaving a comment on this post (#3 in the series), and the final post (#4 in the series), which will go up next week. Readers can also leave comments on the #3 and #4 posts by other Babble Voices writers participating in the Dell Family Tech campaign. Note: Not all Dell Family Tech post comments are eligible for this giveaway — only comments on the third and fourth posts in each author’s November/December 2011 Dell series.

One comment per person per post, please. The chosen winner must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!

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