Still, with all these minor tribulations, it's still a pleasure to actually write out the cards. Because the people you choose to keep in touch with, are usually those who are a source of happy memories. There were those days of leaning against the radiators at school gossiping, or staying up late at college chatting, or bopping up and down at the disco. There was that time with the babies' bottles at the fondue restaurant; the roast chicken which still had the plastic bag with the giblets; making rude noises with grass stems in a Parisian park; leaning into the gale force wind as we set off to play badminton; meeting the firstborn, and the secondborn, and sometimes the thirdborn. On-line I've found people with a shared interest in cross stitch, Star Trek, the X-files, Anders Zorn and Quakers, and some of them have ended up on the Christmas List.
They say when you die your life flashes before your eyes, but surely writing out your cards is a happier way to experience that same phenomenon, and you get to receive cards in return!
P.S. I had some foreign stamps left over this year, so I used them to send off some cards in the Amnesty International Greeting Cards Campaign. I'm not sure if my one card would have any effect, but I choose on this subject to be sceptical, and not cynical :-)