Why I abandoned snail mail Christmas cards for e-cards
For the past few years I’ve sent family and close friends Christmas cards that I have had made myself. I have painted the image in watercolour or drawn an image in pencil, scanned the image, had the card designed and printed.
You may wonder why I sent these handmade Christmas cards. The main reason is that I want to to give family and close friends something special from me at the end of the year. The seasons greetings or Christmas cards one finds in stationery stores and other places are so generic and in many cases so banal that it’s not worth buying them.
The Postal Service inside of the country has worked reasonably well although it takes well over a week and sometimes up to two weeks to be delivered compared to the distant past where it took a few days.
Posting overseas takes much longer and in one case a couple received their Christmas card the following August. Hardly anyone uses snail mail these days but it was an opportunity to stand out.
Some people tell me that Post office officials not only in this country but in others open the envelopes to find out if there is money inside. I think this stems from the old days when Post Office employees would feel the cards to see if there was a R100 or R200 note inside.
Aside from furtive fingers, the cost of local and foreign postage has risen astronomically.
To make the card requires a designer but fortunately I have an in-house one. Printing costs have risen as well but to print on card paper is not too high. Professional scanning does cost but it is well worth it especially when you have a high quality image. Fortunately this year I really had a water colour painting that I did mid year and it was quite suitable for a year-end card.
I think the main reasons for going digital are that there is so much work involved, the postal costs and postal delays.
I tried out the new digital way of producing a Christmas card online. I scanned my painting with my cell phone, got my in-house designer to design the card, found an online card site, loaded up the images and it’s all set to go. The whole process took about two hours. There are no costs involved except for the data costs used on the laptop. The card can be sent via email, WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media apps.
It’s sad to no longer use an institution that had a proud heritage of delivering letters and parcels throughout the country. But with the customer service having deteriorated abysmally and the costs rising astronomically, it’s time to let go of the past and say goodbye.
It’s a pity because I always thought about the mini people involved in the postal services. But if their leaders have no will to provide a tip top class Postal Service, then frankly what role does it have in a modern society.
I certainly hope that family and friends will enjoy receiving my custom designed Christmas card via electronic mail this year.