Brown Paper Packages

Lo, ’tis the season for mail, despite the digital age. We wait and we hope for the things we’ve ordered to arrive (some have, some may still…) and place bets on the amount of cards this household will receive.

But it’s not just about waiting and hoping: there’s a bit of effort involved here, a process to go through. Stamps, post boxes, timing: it all needs line up perfectly.

Many of Dublin’s post boxes are older than the Free State, some even built into stone walls, stocky and strong enough to last for another century. I use the one on the above left to send letters for work, and barely look twice at the royal insignia from another life of this nation.

While I have three post offices within walking distance of my home, my favourite one is for work: the General Post Office, one of Dublin’s iconic buildings and the focal point of the 1916 rising. It is an ordinary post office yet a beautiful space with a quiet hush about it.

And can I just say that I love the timeline of the GPO: “altered and enlarged 1904-1916, reopened March 1916, destroyed April 1916.” The impeccable timing of the Irish. Rebuilding took another 13 years.

Packaging, envelopes, that final thing to tuck in – posting things does become a bit of a project. Other challenges:

  • to write or not to write a family newsletter – they can be so cringey but still… it is news from afar. Social media does fill in the gaps very much, but still there are those who I don’t hear from or of all year, and it’s lovely to be able to sit down with a cup of coffee and get a glimpse of their lives.
  • just writing the flipping cards without a letter even. I hate to just send a card with our names and a cheery greeting so if I’m not doing said letter, then I feel the need to at least write something. With the mass produced letter, I still have to write something on that as way of personalizing, so whatever way, I write. My hand does get tired, not being used to such activity (digital age and all).
  • I never have the right amount of stamps, or the ones with the right amount of postage. Price of a stamp just keeps going up and up here (mostly because it was cheaper than other places so they are getting in line with the rest of Europe – can’t really blame them). I made a list of three cent stamps and twelve cent stamps that I need and then the local post office couldn’t sell me them until after 1 December.
How many stamps does it take to send a card…? Just two, if you’re happy to overpay.

And though deadlines are passed and time has flown, I’m still sending out greetings of good tidings of great joy: Peace and joy to all of you in this season and throughout 2018!











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