(I wrote this in December 2011.)
I did my annual drive to Star, North Carolina today to get the special Christmas stamp cancellation on my Christmas cards. Star is one of the US Post Office’s “Christmas towns” that is authorized to use a special hand cancellation stamp each December. A contest is held to choose the stamp design. One stamp is made. It is destroyed at the end of December.
I think this is the eleventh year that I’ve done the Star stamp cancellation. It is one of my longest running current Christmas traditions.
This is the first year that I’ve sent fewer than fifty Christmas cards - forty-nine to be exact. That’s down from 200 plus in years past. Here is a breakdown of where the cards are being sent:
Asheboro, NC – 47%
Utah – 29%
Other cities in North Carolina – 16%
Other states in the U.S. – 8%
This is one of the few years that I have not sent at least one card out the United States.
The longest distance is 2,910 miles. The shortest distance is 1/2 mile.
I needed new addresses on ten percent of the cards. The most interesting missing address was my son. He sent a text message with his new address when he moved. Text messages were the only thing that did not transfer from my old mobile phone when I replaced it a few months ago.
I stopped by the post office twice last week to buy Christmas stamps. The lines were too long for the time that I had available to me. I went by Food Lion this morning, hoping they would have Christmas stamps. My cashier had two books and another had one book. They were the religious stamp. Here is an estimate of the religious affiliations of the people on my Christmas card list:
Mormon – 35%
Methodist – 20%
Baptist – 14%
Unaffiliated – 15%
Wesleyan, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian – 10%
Atheist or Agnostic – 6%
Here is the card that went to almost everyone. It’s a Hallmark Thomas Kinkade card. It reminded me of the historic district in Asheville, NC, where I plan to take my son while he is visiting for Christmas.
One of the more interesting remarks made several years ago was when one recipient told me that I sure chose nice cards “for being a man.” There are all kinds of niches for holiday cards. I haven’t seen one, though, called “Ugly Cards Chosen by Men.”
This card went to all but one nephew. He is not a Thomas Kinkade fan. His was another missing address. I sent him a message saying if he sent me his address that I promised to not send the Thomas Kinkade card that was going to everyone else. I had his address in less than five minutes. His card had glitter, though. I think he will get over it.
I shot this photo and the lead photo after I dropped the cards in the mail slot for the special cancellation. This was only the second time that I drove to Star during daylight. Most years it has been on Sunday or Monday evening. One year was on a Saturday and another year was on a Tuesday. It has rained or been foggy most years. Snow was falling two of the years.
Here is the special Star, North Carolina Christmas stamp cancellation. I estimate that I have mailed 1,400 cards with the special stamp cancellation from Star in December. I am asked several times each year after Thanksgiving if I am doing the Star stamp cancellation trip. I was non-committal this year, not even sure if I was going to send Christmas cards. I decided yesterday to keep the tradition going one more year. This is the latest they have been mailed – six mailing days before Christmas – but I think they will arrive in time at all destinations.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.