Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Digital's great but some things are just better in reality

Did I miss the memo about the Christmas slowdown being cancelled this year?

Gosh, it's all busy busy busy all around me, and not even with Christmas shopping and parties, although there does always seem to be a focussed urgency to catch up with people, let alone complete tasks as the end of the year looms. I am crossing my fingers that next week might actually see some relenting of the hectic pace of the last few weeks.

I've seen some great, and some truly dreadful attempts at offices trying to do the "green"  thing and send digital Christmas cards / videos but to my mind there's nothing like proper Christmas cards because otherwise you are just one click through and gone (or worse still a lurking memory associated with something awful), whereas cards sit  innocently on shelves (or desks in the case of clients) for a while, an active reminder of the sender. 

Call me sentimental if you will, but in this season of goodwill I like to be reminded of my friends and family, and even in my days as a client, it was nice to get cards from the agencies and suppliers I worked with. Sure, having to actually write your name (heavens!) in this keyboard-centric age  is seen by some as a chore, but I like digging out my fountain pen and spending some relatively calm time writing notes and messages to people I care about.

Maybe I inherited the habit from my Dad?  He is meticulous about maintaining his Christmas Card List book, carefully noting who he has sent cards to as he writes them and after Christmas checking off who he received them from every year, updating addresses, adding children, and sadly deleting the departed as he goes. In itself it's a journal of relationships and ties, family and friendship histories over time crammed between its' covers. It might lack the vivacity of photos and status posts that we are used to in a Facebook-world but to the geneologists of the future, those tracing family trees, these things will be gold.

Christmas cards - just a fore-runner of social networking?  Most of us aren't in regular active contact with the majority of people in our Facebook friends list, just as we don't necessarily frequently see all the people we send Christmas cards to, but to me that doesn't diminish at all the value of someone taking the time to write and post me a card. Or, in the case of my talented designer friend Trev, who has taken the whole notion of personalisation one step further, and who for years has been compiling a cd of interesting music and sending that instead of cards, designing the album art to reflect events in his year, from weddings, holidays to children & George the cat.  I have a collection of these mad, fun eclectic cds from over the years which I love, and I await the new one in eager anticipation every year. It's become part of my things I associate with Christmas just like exchanging a new Christmas tree bauble or decoration with one of my other best friends, a lovely tradition I adopted from her family.

So whilst I applaud the notion of charity that is so often the excuse for not sending Christmas cards, I'd rather buy myself a more expensive than usual sandwich in M&S of a lunchtime, because they make a donation to Shelter (charity supporting the homeless) than not send cards.

That said I did like this agency's attempt to bring to life what Santa's iPhone would be like.....

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