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January 06, 2014



The German post office will return letters as undeliverable if the recipient has died, but they also in typical German fashion add that it has just been reported to them that the person has died and that one shouldn't take the undeliverable notice as an official death notice.

I understand your motivation for removing addresses...I just can't bring myself to do it. It feels so final. I do like your idea of framing addresses of the deceased in black. That's a nice idea.

I like the way address books can trace the history of my friends and relations. Some addresses have not changed in decades, and others are spread over several pages with many many cross-outs.


Every year after New Years, I do the same thing with my address book. Do continually use the same address book? Every 4-5 years, I treat myself to a new one but now I wish I would have kept the old ones since I like your idea about outlining the deceased in the book.

Sometime in January, I organize and go through all of my stationery. I use the time to condense boxes, evaluate what I'm running low on, order address labels, etc. It gives me an idea of what's left in my paper stash and I can recycle old boxes that were only holding a few cards or writing sheets.

Abby Nolan

I also like the idea of the black border around the deceased. It is probably no accident that it resembles the mourning stationary with the black border. Or is it? Happy New Year.

Lisa M

My Christmas card list of 100 is put on a Word document complete with address and headed with the year. When I get a card in return, I go to the list and highlight it in yellow. Sometime around the first of the year, I print it out, fold it in half, and put it in my address book (it's a large one). I have lists/addresses from over 10 years ago and they've come in handy. If there is a new address, I note it with the month/year on the list when I highlight it and update the address so when I print it off for next year, all is correct.

If I nixed everyone who didn't send one back, my list would be very short indeed. I'm usually pretty forgivng in that respect as a lot of the receivers are older relatives that just want to see the kids growing year-to-year. Make no mistake, I DO cross people off the list. I feel like Santa with that naughty/nice thing going on. It's a control thing I think - who's on, who's off.

Lisa M

PS - Really like your idea of framing in black those that are deceased. It seems fitting and I've gone back over my lists and done the same. Thanks for the idea.


An interesting side tale...

I received a lovely "Thank You" card in the mail last week from the grown daughter of someone I had sent a Christmas card to. Unbeknownst to me, my old friend passed away last February. We've kept in touch via Christmas cards for the last decade, so it's no surprise to me that I didn't know of her death. But I thought it was so very thoughtful of her daughter to respond to my Christmas card! Especially when some would have been outraged or thought I was tactless to have sent it. She wrote a lovely note about how her mother had appreciated our friendship, and she included a copy of the obituary too. Seriously - so thoughtful! I've definitely put her note in my stack of items to reply to in kind. :)


Resolve to send less mail?! You're funny! Who does that? I admire your erasing people but I imagine they must not be close friends. The only people I erase are people I'm not very close to or only know through the post. I have some dear old friends that just can't seem to get the letter/card thing together. I've resolved to just keep killing them with kindness and keep sending but, I do that with only a few.
As for resolutions, I'm forever endeavoring to keep my reply lag time short. Always room for improvement there!


You misunderstand me, Jennifer. I would never resolve to send less mail. That is contrary to my interests. I am tired of getting mail returned due to bad addresses and if I have sent two unanswered letters to someone, I think it's their turn. Like I said, if you write back, you get back in the book. Fair's fair.


For my holiday card list (which is very different from my list of regular mailing contacts), I keep track of what I sent to whom year over year in a spreadsheet (mostly because I often have a huge stash of the same cards and want to avoid sending someone the same card in consecutive years). When I got married, my manymany new extended in-laws were added to the holiday list, which doubled its size. I added a column to keep track of whether or not we received a mailing from each person we sent to.

After two years, I checked this year to see if we had ever received a holiday card from each person on the list at any point. If we had not (several of his first cousins were guilty of this), we decided on a case-by-case basis whether or not to send them anything this year. (An aunt who had never mailed anything stayed on the list, for instance.) We purged about 20 addresses from our list this way. Only one of those 20 spontaneously sent us something this year, which I replied to with a new year's card. It saved us $10 in postage and a decent chunk of energy spent buying, writing, and addressing cards to people who don't care enough to return the gesture.

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