I didn’t have a lot of ideas when Paul and I started to discuss what we should do for the 2011 Christmas Card. Should it be our year in review, about the wedding or some other topic? I never thought I would be one of those people that would send out the “Christmas Letter” type of card. Quite frankly, they used to annoy me when I got them in the mail. Somehow my life just never seemed to measure up to those folks who took the time to write those yearly retrospectives.

But then, I never expected to be doing lots of things that I now do; use a magnifying glass to read small print for example, shop online or have a Facebook page. I guess the mere efficiency of the mass letter wins out over repetitive writing. Then there is the fact that times are different. Communication is different. We email, text, Facebook and stay connected as we are moving through our days, so writing a holiday card to stay in touch is old-fashioned and to many, unnecessary.

So okay, call me old-fashioned, but I actually think there is still a lot to be said for receiving a hand written note with an interesting stamp on the envelope. Of course, my note is mostly done on the computer but I do try to add a little something handwritten to each person. Whether or not anyone can actually read my writing is another matter. This year I was running so behind that many of the personal notes just didn’t happen. Of course, I don’t bake cookies and give them out anymore either. Time seems to evaporate at a rapid speed.

So this might surprise you, I actually enjoy going to the Post Office, engaging the postal clerk in light-hearted conversation (I consider this a challenge), view all the new commemorative stamps and then purchase several different kinds. I am sure this annoys all the other postal patrons since everyone today is in such a hurry. I want to look at all my choices. When I am at the counter I tune out all the other customers and focus on the stamps. Maybe it is the fact that the postal clerk has an interested consumer or just that everyone else in line has to wait, I don’t know but it is fun seeing them smile.

I bring the stamps home and decide which one goes on each envelope depending on the contents and destination. I like to think people notice. I actually think they like little things like fun postage stamps. I like to believe those little images make them smile. Seeing the stamp on the envelope is something simple that may only affect them for a few seconds, but I choose to believe it makes a difference.

Back in the day collecting postage stamps was a huge hobby and the most collected thing world-wide. It also was important where the stamp was postage marked and if it was hand cancelled. Postage is one of those items that we all come in contact with and use. Kind of like the weather we all experience it and have it in common. Not as easy to start a conversation about stamps as it is the weather, but the connection is there all the same. Of course weather can actually impact our lives, stamps just facilitate information being sent and received from person to person.

Most men seem to view commemorative stamps as unnecessary. They go straight for the flags or whatever is in a book. Nothing fancy, just a stamp to stick on an envelope and get the job done. Women on the other hand like the variety and shopping experience of choosing their designs. We develop a connection with whatever we are sending and want the appropriate stamp on the envelope. Now there are websites out there selling personalized stamps. While I think those are cool, I kind of think it is cheating. There was honor that was associated with stamp design and people couldn’t be on a stamp until they had passed. Yes, I know…old fashioned.

I must say that since the stamps have become self sticking they feel more like a sticker than a stamp. It used to be such a process to stamp all the Christmas envelopes and put them in the mail. We would get out a little dish of water, a round sponge and a cloth to keep our fingers non sticky. Now it is a breeze. That is one modern convenience that I greatly appreciate.

So this is a mundane fascination with postage I know. But I bet you look at your envelopes from now on and see what type of postage is on the upper right corner. If it is a commemorative stamp you know someone took the time to stand in line to purchase that especially for your envelope. Be appreciative and the next time someone makes a comment about the weather, ask them if they have seen those new Tiger Stamps yet?