Where’s the personal touch?

My regular readers know I rarely “rant” here on my blog.  But this particular subject has been bugging me now for a couple weeks.  And it has to do with the Christmas season.  No – I’m not going to spout off about the commercialism rampant this time of year… although that’s another bug in my craw… but something a bit more inane.

I and my family both send and receive a lot of Christmas cards each year.  We take the time to write them and sign them by hand.  We always have.  Yep, we have the latest in computer technology at both home and office, but I’ve always felt there’s nothing like the personal touch – we use pre-printed return labels (usually ones I get from the Civil War Preservation Trust or other historical groups) but we always address the envelopes by hand and sign the cards by hand.

However, a large percentage of the cards we receive are now coming with computer-printed envelopes (both address and return) and… and here’s what’s been bugging me… computer-printed signatures on the inside of the cards.  And these aren’t the cards from businesses I’m talking about.  Cards from friends and families.  Our names are printed inside the cards, and the sender’s names are also printed inside.

In other words, not a single thing is hand-written by the sender anywhere.

Sure, I love the technology as much as anyone.  Here in our office, we print everything by computer, including envelopes and such.  Looks more professional.  But I’ve always felt that holiday cards are different.  Even when we send them from the office, we hand-print them instead.

But when I get a card from a friend or neighbor these days, and I see that the envelope is computer-printed, I figure that the card inside is also printed instead of personally signed.  And without exception, I’m right.

Maybe it’s just a difference in taste, but I much prefer to at least personally sign the card.  I know, I know, the thought is there regardless… but I think putting the card in the printer, etc., actually takes more time than just signing it by hand, so pre-printing isn’t really a time-saver.

Maybe we’re still in the “gee-whiz” mindset when it comes to personal computers.  Even after all these years.  Maybe some folks like the look of the finished product, computer-printing their signatures out in cool script and such.  But if there’s one thing that perhaps ought to stay “personal,” maybe it’s the holiday card.

Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned.  As I said, I’m as much of a techie as the next person, but I will always be filling out such cards by hand.

Ah well.  If you include a sawbuck or money gift card, you can send the greeting to me any way you want.  I’ll overlook the pre-printed envelope and the pre-printed card inside.

Seriously, maybe it’s time we get back to the personal touch.  With all the e-communication and impersonal nature of the networks we all depend on every day, perhaps some things still ought to be done by pen on paper.

Well, off to churn some butter, bring in some water from the well, and adjust the TV antenna for better reception of those three channels I get.

In black and white, of course.

Published in: on December 19, 2007 at 12:30 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Couldn’t agree more. My wife and I look at the Christmas cards we receive that have no hand-signed signatures and say to each other “What’s the point?” And frankly, cards with only signatures don’t do that much for us, even when hand-signed. They smack too much of assembly line signing. Write a few lines! Tell us something about what’s going on. I’m not a big fan of the “Year in Review” page, but they can be fun when informative and written with some wit and style. Certainly better than nothing at all!

    Continued success in all your endeavors, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

    Phil LeDuc

  2. Well, ya know, my wife and I for the past two years have bought our Christmas cards form the Friends of Gettysburg, and I wrote a short vignette for each of the three barns depicted and set up a computer file for each of the three cards, which explained what part of the battle each of the barns was “involved in” [McPherson: Iron Brigade/26th N.C.;Bryan: 11th MS University Greys; Culp’s: Wesley Culp]. I also added “Happy Holidays from Carol and Rod”. Soooo, I thought it was a personal touch . . . Happy Holidays to all!

  3. Thanks, Phil – good health and best wishes to you and yours!

    Rod, LOL, sorry about that 🙂 Well, that would definitely be more personal when done that way! I also buy the Friends cards and send them to a lot of folks.


  4. J.D.: My 4-year old son received a card in the mail from Santa Claus, himself. The envelope and text on the card were printed on a computer. And I have to apologize — but I’m just not going to allow you to speak poorly of jolly old Saint Nick.

  5. Don’t worry Dave, I won’t! Not this close to Christmas, anyway – he’s still watching!



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