Maybe everyone's waiting to send out Christmas cards this year because very few have wound up in our mailbox.
One of the neat things about the holiday season has always been getting cards in the mail. Growing up, my mother used to put the cards up on the door in our front room. You'd be able to stand there for a few minutes and see which people cared enough about you to take their time to write up a brief note to you, wishing you the best for the holidays and the new year ahead.
The best cards are ones that include a recap of what the family has been up to since they last sent a Christmas card. One of our first neighbors in Quincy still includes us in their list of recipients. The family's daughters, who were high schoolers when they lived here, have grown into women with lives of their own.
While my mother still sends out cards -- and receives plenty in return -- we haven't sent out Christmas cards in a very long time. Maybe that's why we haven't received very many cards this year. You have to give to receive in the world of Christmas cards.
With so much hustle and bustle that goes on at this time of year, we just don't have the time to send out well wishes. My wife threatened to send out Christmas cards this year, but that plan fell by the wayside.
Sending Christmas cards is a decidedly old-school thing to do. These days, it's so much easier to post a photo of you and your family to your Facebook page and let the likes and comments from friends and family flow in. It takes just a few seconds and doesn't cost you a dime. There's little need to post what your family has been up to over the last year because those who follow you on Facebook already have an idea thanks to your posts throughout the year.
This is the busiest time of year for the Postal Service. While my family may not send out cards, we have plenty of other reasons for the mail carrier to come. What the post office may lose in delivering cards to our house, they more than make up for in package delivery.
It has always been easy to feel for the mailman around the holidays. Back in the good old days before the Internet, the men and women of the Postal Service had the unenviable task of lugging around department store catalogs. Those things used to weigh a few pounds each, but were filled with Christmas goodies that you had to have.
The back of the catalogs was where the good stuff was at with all of the toys. The sporting goods were usually stuffed back there, too. You could easily burn a few hours circling all of the things you wanted before handing the catalog over to Mom. You'd remind her where to look for your gift suggestions.
Sears and JC Penney used to be the big catalogs growing up. Every now and then, we would get a catalog that only had sports stuff in it, an offering filled with stuff from the NFL, NBA and MLB. It's like they knew who lived there.
It's almost too easy to shop these days. Instead of catalogs, all you have to do is go online and visit a retailer's website. You can instantly search for what you like, put some items in a virtual cart and hope someone buys them for you.
Still, without the Postal Service -- and the folks who work for places like FedEx and UPS -- we wouldn't get any of our cards and gifts. They are the MVPs of the holiday season, just as they have been for years.