Asylum Reservoir Number 2, Mattabesett Trail, part of the New England Trail, Middletown, Connecticut

All the green gurus advise against sending holiday cards, but I sent two different ones out this season. I think that paper correspondence remains one of the great domestic arts. One of my cards was a 5-by-7-inch postcard thanking some of the people I worked with in 2011. It showed the above scene, on the trail I maintain with my husband: a section of the Mattabesett Trail in Middletown, Connecticut. The other card measured the same but folded, with two more personal photos and a greeting inside.

Western societies waste resources in far worse ways than printing up and mailing cards, but a lot of cards circulate. The cards I sent were made in the United States of paper certified SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) stock. I have since learned that the same company offers recycled paper only by special request. I’ll be using that next year.

I don’t feel guilty about mailing cards. I reuse wrapping paper, get presents for my family at antique and thrift shops and at the town dump, shopped at an independent cafe in Gorham, New Hampshire for other presents, and gave my inlaws New Hamphire maple syrup I bought on the way somewhere last summer. Cards are my present to people, too. I put a lot of time, thought, and resources into them and I want the recipients to enjoy them.

Then I want them to use my cards for other purposes.

1. Cherish them forever in your scrapbook. OK, I know that’s not likely. But many people do tell me they enjoy my cards, at least for a few weeks. Electronic cards only please you when you have your computer on.

2. After the few weeks of appreciation, cut them into gift tags for next year. My reservoir shot could make three or four Impressionistic views.

3. Shred them and use the confetti as packaging or storage cushioning.

4. Use them for fire starter.

5. These cards will make good coasters.

Happy Holidays.

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