Hauling the Mail

 Day 318

Handwritten correspondence seems to be dying a slow death.  Perhaps this is part of the reason the United States Postal Service is a gazillion dollars in the red and has resorted to some “out of the box” solutions like stopping mail delivery on Saturdays and re-instituting the pony express and pack mules.

You realize you shouldn’t believe anything I say—the post office would never stop Saturday delivery. Right?

On one hand, I guess the decrease in mail saves paper.  Although in theory, paper is a renewable resource.  But, I also find it  sort of sad that pixels have replaced ink.  No one sends invitations, they send Evites.  Birthday greetings are often wall posts on Facebook. Although I do get a lot more greetings since Facebook, so I’m not exactly complaining, merely reporting.

I personally don’t send a lot of mail, just occasional letters to my 100-year old grandmother who doesn’t have an email account—yet, and I like to give cards.   When we started The Simple Year, I didn’t really want to discontinue all correspondence so I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do.

As often happens, it wasn’t even an issue.  First, I still had some back stock of cards and stationary saved.  Also, thrift stores seem to have an abundance of cards.  Although I might have to buy a mixed bag of four Father’s Day Cards, one Congratulations on your 8th Grade Graduation, and a Happy Easter Abuela card to obtain the three birthday cards I was after, but they are still generally only a dollar or two a bag which is less than half the price of a single card at the Hallmark store.  Then I just re-donate the rest.

But, I do want to share with you some other pretty creative solutions I have discovered.

Patron of the Arts

I found several packages of scrapbook paper at a thrift store and paid to have someone make me a handful of cards with it.  I felt like I was supporting a local artisan while using recycled goods. Plus the cards were beautiful, unique and STILL cheaper than a Hallmark card.

Keeping Your Options open

My mother and her friends actually exchange cards that they think are funny for birthdays. They leave them blank and don’t seal the envelope so they can be used again. If you knew my mother, this wouldn’t surprise you.  I like the idea, but this is probably a technique that can only work in a group of longtime friends.  Can you imagine just handing one of your coworkers a blank card and then after they open it and give you a quizzical look you announce, “I left it blank, so you can use it again.”?

For the rest of your tenure with that company you will be known in certain circles as “the blank card” lady/man.

Simple Solutions

My youngest daughter, Kelsey brought home this birthday party invitation last year.

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Now believe me, I can appreciate the simplicity involved here.  But when she first handed it to me, I was pretty sure she and her friend had drafted the invitation on their own during kindergarten snack time.  Since it looked so fishy, I promptly ignored it.  I might not have been the only one since the birthday girl’s mom sent out a mass email in support of the party a day or two before.

Recycling

Last year for my 44th birthday, or rather my almost 45th birthday, my clever friend Jan gave me this recycled card from her daughter’s actual 5th birthday. I love it so much, I still have it.photo(209)

 

I suppose ultimately no matter what type of greeting you send it is always the thought that counts.

Also, don’t forget I’m trying to find someone to take over this blog at the end of the year, if you haven’t, please take a look at The Handoff for details.

 


7 Responses to Hauling the Mail

  1. My husband and his brother have exchanged the same birthday card for about 15 years… they just put new messages on a post-it. It’s kind of fun to look back at the various greetings.

  2. My family and friends know me well . . . they never put my name on the outside of the envelope, and if they do, it’s in the far upper left corner where I can cover it up with a return address label. I’ve got tons of orphaned greeting card envelopes that have come in very handy for Scouts and other crafts! I also will cut cards in half and glue the picture half to a piece of scrapbook paper and make my own card out of it 🙂

  3. I hate the whole card industry, which probably makes me weird, but the waste of paper and the outrageous costs for a card always make me cringe. If I want to give a card i like to make my own, often on the computer and then printed out. When I receive a card I always try to reuse it, usually by cutting them into squares and reusing them as gift tags (as long as the back side is not written on). A simple hole punch in the corner with a little ribbon and voila, several tags out of one card.

  4. Regarding USPS:
    They’re not having any problems about price of postage versus costs of doing business. That’s propaganda. What’s going on is, Congress decided in 2006 that the USPS needs to have all the money to pay for all their employees’ future retirement packages on hand now. Imagine you’re going to get a pension when you retire in 20 years. Most companies and government agencies don’t put your pension money aside into a savings account now to hold onto until then. They factor it into their budgets the year they have to pay. And the number they want the USPS to have on hand for “yearly” benefits? More than double what they actually pay in retirement benefits each year anyway.

    It’s an orchestrated ploy.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/45018432/The_Truth_About_The_Post_Office039s_Financial_Mess
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-02/understanding-the-post-office-s-benefits-mess.html

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