Christmas card trivia

Last year I offered to send the first 20 commenters on this entry a handmade Christmas card.

Unfortunately Myne didn’t receive her card, so I decided to check with those who hadn’t already contacted me to see if they got their cards. Then I decided to do a little trivia of card-related stuff:

  • Number of people who signed up: 20
  • Number of people who sent me their mailing address: 15 (nine in North America, four in Europe, two in Africa). I sent an email reminder to those who hadn’t sent their address in.
  • Number of cards mailed by me: 15
  • Number of people who confirmed receipt of their card: 9
  • Number of people who confirmed they did not receive the card: 4
  • Number of people I didn’t hear from (but I hope they got their card!): 2

I’m so disappointed that four cards went missing: two that were sent to the USA and two that went to Nigeria. I’m most surprised about the USA-bound cards, given the proximity of Canada and USA, and given the relatively reliable postal services in both countries. My guess is those cards were casualties of a busy Christmas season and I wonder how many cards get lost during heavier-than-normal mailing seasons. I still think it’s an unusually high number of cards to lose though!

The Nigeria-bound cards not reaching their destination did not surprise me: my skepticism of Nigeria’s postal system (from past experience rather than assumption) is a reason why I normally don’t offer to mail cards to Nigeria. After I mailed the cards I realized that the fact that they were a bit 3-dimensional worked against them: someone in the mail-sorting department might have thought there was something in the cards and ripped open the envelope, only to see some fabric and other crafty goodness instead. Having destroyed the envelope, what else could they do but throw the card away?

A friend of mine from Europe says the same thing would happen if she tried sending something like the cards I made to her home country. Her mom does something clever though: she doesn’t seal the envelope! That way if an opportunistic thief curious person who wants to see the contents of the envelope can without damaging the envelope. If they are not interested in a handmade card addressed to someone else they can simply close or seal the envelope and keep it moving. Of course someone might be rotten and simply throw the card away anyway, in punishment for the lack of a prize within the card. I will try this trick next year.

I also received Christmas cards, from reader Gochi and Clara…lucky me!

I love receiving mail that isn’t a bill, and I think a lot of people do. But as we do less writing on paper and more typing, the art of sending letters or cards may soon die. Because of that I want to write thank you cards this year for situations where I’d normally just say thank you in person. I can still say thank you, but I’ll also share a card too. I’ll start with a thank you card for my neighbour, who left a loaf of banana bread and a Christmas card on my doorstep (so nice!).

16 thoughts on “Christmas card trivia

  1. I think the reason I don't like e-cards is the same reason I don't like e-books: I like to display them. e-mails are convenient, and I'll admit I've purchased some e-books when I was being cheap or some e-cards when I needed to send a complimentary note super last minute.

    Otherwise, I very very much love giving (and receiving) items in the mail. :)

    I don't think I've ever sent anything to Nigeria that wasn't via a physical courier (i.e. friend traveling for the holiday) or express mail. Although I wouldn't dare send something small like a seasonal card all the way to Nigeria via express mail…

    • I too love getting and sending mail!

      Aside from letters and cards, I haven't sent anything to Nigeria except through someone or express mail either. I guess I'll have to resort to e-cards to people in Nigeria for now.

  2. I love receiving mail that isn't bills but I'm getting less and less of it. Pity my card got lost but I appreciated the thought and that snapshot. I had lost a book I sent to a buyer in Canada once and since then, I don't really trust the postal service between the two countries. I think the customs check messes things up.

  3. Naa, i think the days of opening up envelopes cause they look like they have money/valuables is over or am i being delusional? do people still send money by post?
    i think 4 mia cards is a big loss.

    Better luck next time.

    • Well no letters or cards that I have ever sent to Nigeria over the years have ever made it there, but maybe it's not because the envelopes are being opened. I'm the kind of person who tends to send little things like bookmarks in letters, so that's why I thought the reason my letters weren't making it was due to that.

      I agree that four MIA cards is not good at all! I should let Canada Post know about this actually.

      Aww, thanks for your encouragement.

  4. If you were white and non-Nigerian, I would have labelled you a racist. Don't you think the busy christmas period could have affected the Nigerian cards too. Dont you think the US postman could have destroyed the US addressed cards, because he knows they are mere christmas cards that dont contain any important documents, and he couldn't afford to go to all the houses because he wanted to be with his wife by noon time.

    Did you ask the Nigerian addressees whether they have ever received non-courier mail on their addresses. Most Nigerian houses do not have letter boxes, and most do not even have house numbers. The houses that have numbers could have three or more conflicting numbers. If you send an unsealed envelope to the addresses you sent the cards to, they will still not receive it. Tell your friends to go to their nearest post office, I promise you, their cards will be waiting for them there. It's not too late, the card will be destroyed after sometime.

    That is not to say some dubious Nigerian postal workers don't open mails. If you go to Nigeria to work with the NPS would you open people's mails?

    • “ skepticism of Nigeria’s postal system (from past experience rather than assumption) is a reason why I normally don’t offer to mail cards to Nigeria”

      That's what I had said in the entry. Because no letters or cards that I've sent by regular mail over the years to Nigeria have made it to their destination while letters to other countries usually do, I've come to mistrust the Nigerian postal system. This is the first time in my years of sending Christmas cards to people internationally that I’ve learned that they didn’t receive it.

      It was my own family in Nigeria who told me that the reason my letters or cards don’t make it to them is because it was probably intercepted by someone in the postal system, just so you know I didn't just make that up. They might be wrong but this is what I've been told to explain why letters aren't received.

      I agree with you that many houses in Nigeria don’t have letter boxes, and the numbering system for houses on various streets can be confusing. However the cards that were sent to Nigeria were sent to a PO Box and a person’s workplace, so they were not sent to home addresses. I will encourage the two Nigeria recipients to check their local post office to see if their Christmas cards are still around.

    • I was one of the recipients of the Nigerian bound christmas card. I have received several mail via my box before. The p.o box was used by my grandparents (in the early 60's) and is currently used by my parents and now us kids and we receive mail regularly from it.
      If any mails are held back, brown slips are inserted informing you of registered mail or some other large contents that need to be picked up in person (showing an ID card).
      On the whole, quite a number of mail come through and from time to time, some don't or are mutilated by the time you get them. Going to ask for a card without a brown slip is just a waste of time and when packages are not picked up in the specified time (after 2 reminders) they are usually sent back to the sender.
      My guess on this missing card is as good as GNG's. It went missing because someone thought there was something bigger than a card in the envelope. It happens everywhere!

  5. I have received and sent mail from different country . my card got lost but I appreciated the thought . I had lost a passport I sent to a buyer in Canada once . I don't really trust the postal service between the two countries. I think the customs check messes things,we should aware about this.

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