I love receiving mail. Greeting cards, postcards, letters — even the occasional catalog or flyer… Real mail is tangible and affirming, intended for me and only me (although yes, sometimes for the CURRENT RESIDENT, which is really just another way of saying ME). Real mail requires multiple steps in execution — the spark of an idea, the planning, the creation, the delivery, and the receipt. While not necessarily a Rube Goldberg-style miracle, it’s a process that takes both time and effort to complete, all in the hopes of transforming an abstract idea into an actual thing in my hands. Ta-da!
This appreciation of the real — what Boulder-based company Artifact Uprising refers to as “the disappearing beauty of the tangible” — is something I feel year-round, in just about every scenario. During this pandemic of 2020, with more high-tech options available than at any other point in human history, it is this realness that so many of us are seeking. We are wading through streaming floods, holding high our omnipresent smart phones as beacons of connectivity and hope, each notification chirp a cause for both celebration and weariness.
Show me the real!
Deck The Cards
As our team grows, secret gifting games have become a part of our holiday season (more people = more surprises!), but this year’s all-remote arrangement posed some new challenges. To simplify, we rolled out “Deck The Cards” — I’m only into projects with fun names — with just a few steps:
- Opt in (or not!)
- Identify the address where you’d like to receive cards — real mail or email — and how many cards you’re willing to send
- Send cards to the addresses provided to you by the organizer
Simple enough, right? This quick process — yes, there’s obviously a form for that — allowed everyone to choose if and how to participate. Filling out a form might seem like an impersonal way to start the process, but it also allowed those who chose not to participate a little extra space to gracefully step aside without drawing attention. Plus, while I really really really wanted to send and receive real mail, the chance to opt for online cards gave extra privacy for those who didn’t want to share their home addresses. Finally, since everyone loves an open-ended Text Box question, we also included a field to ask people about their celebratory preferences (Results ranged from “I like humor!” to “I celebrate Christmas, but I’m open to receiving cards for any holiday!”).
Happily, this isn’t one of those stories that starts with “Simple, right?” and then turns into some unexpected disaster. While there was a bit of juggling on the organization end and the occasional bit of confusion or forgetting on the participant end, it all worked out pretty well. We sent, we received, and we celebrated.
Putting this together, I can see how it might seem like I just wanted to do this project for my own selfish reasons. When I suggest that this project could be extended into other seasons, I can only imagine you might think the same thing — So she wants cards for every holiday now??
But really. Do you not like receiving mail? Do you have any idea how many holidays there are? “The holiday season” could be just about any time — or all the time. From Watermelon Day to holidays you’ve actually heard of, and across all the seasons (Here’s looking at you, spring!), there’s a lot to celebrate. If your mailbox is ready, let’s celebrate together.