Society

Greeting the traditional way

Colourful: Christmas cards. Photo: S. James   | Photo Credit: mamp21cards_main

“Sending a card on Christmas is like lighting a diya on Diwali,” says Jose, an engineering student. “It just can’t be done away with. It’s something very intimate and important. Everyone would surely mail Christmas cards to at least the closest relatives and friends.” In most Christian homes, writing cards is a traditional practice where family members are engaged from a younger age. In the modern era of emails and text messages, the charm of greeting cards has plummeted. . Yet, Christmas seems to be one major time when arrays of greeting cards show up on store shelves. “There are few people who send cards on occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. But, cards sales are better during Christmas. People make it sure that they pick a card for dear ones,” says Navaneetha Krishnan, store manager at Archies gift shop in Milan’em Mall. “Also, we do more innovations in card designs for Christmas. In other greeting cards, the designs are quite stagnant.”

“The tradition is not followed as staunchly as before. Earlier, the family would sit down and write personal notes on cards and put them in covers to be posted. For friends living abroad and in far off places, we would post the cards even a fortnight before Christmas,” recalls Benjamin, a commerce student. “As kids, our parents would always ask us to write to elders asking for their blessings on Christmas. And if it’s a younger person we are writing to, we convey our wishes. Along with a personally written season greetings, we would also send a card… and receive one in return from all of them.”

Some believe that writing Christmas cards stems from the tradition of writing letters of wishes to Santa and to the God, while some say it’s just a gesture. “Instead of an email or sms, cards and a handwritten message on them give a personal feel. There’s also a touch factor to the card which is not the case with an electronic computer message or a cell phone text,” says Don Scaria, a marketing officer. “People also like to collect and preserve greeting cards. For a long time, in our family, we used to pin up and display the cards we received under the Christmas tree.”

“In churches, we have a tradition of writing wish letters to the God and posting them in a box placed there. And Christmas is an occasion to ask for boons and wishes. It’s believed as a time that ushers in good luck. Probably, that’s why writing Christmas cards is also so traditional,” speculates Josephine, who runs a small shop selling Christmas cards and decorations, outside the Rosary Church for the past 25 years. The greeting covers at Josephine’s shop come with a pre-printed Christmas message or wish or a bible verse on them.

When it comes to designs, there’s no dearth. From the humble cards on platform shops, costing Rs. 5 or Rs. 10 to the most innovative designs like cards cut out in the form of a Christmas tree and large book cards in the typical Christmas colours of red and green, there are plenty of choices. Cards containing a Christmas winter landscape cut out between their covers and cards that open in multiple layers to form a small two-dimensional Christmas tree are the latest arrivals at Archies gift shop. An exclusive range of cards for kids, come with Christmas puzzles, quiz and games inside them. Poster-cards are varieties that open up into a Christmas poster that can be stuck on walls. The prices of the cards range from Rs. 40 to Rs. 170.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 6:05:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/greeting-the-traditional-way/article5482802.ece

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