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Christmas Gift Guide
Culture

Facebook, Twitter ruining Christmas, says bishop

A British bishop insists he will write 60 traditional cards a day and hand deliver as many as he can. He says Christmas should be personal.

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This, children, is called a Christmas card. You write inside it. Yes, yourself. StampTV/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Time ensures only one thing: that nothing is the same as it used to be.

It's hard, though, to accept that, especially with the elements of life we hold most dear. Like our sports, our faces and our festivities.

One British bishop has decided to dig his heels in against the inexorable pull of social media on our interpersonal relationships during the holiday season. He's decided to sit down and write 600 Christmas cards by hand.

This might seem quaint, a calligrapher fuming at the invention of the typewriter.

However, the Right Reverend Paul Bayes -- Britain has Left Reverends too -- believes his method is personal, while the likes of Facebook and Twitter are mere digital chill.

He told the Telegraph: "At Christmas I believe something has been lost by the trend away from sending cards. E-cards or a group email are OK, but they're no substitute for a hand-signed card through the letterbox."

Bayes is the new Bishop of Liverpool and he clearly has defined ways to express love, love me do. However, there is an increasing number of humans who have never written a Christmas card in their lives. They might have signed a birthday card for someone at the office whom they don't really know.

Christmas to them represents lots of Facebook likes for their party photos, online shopping and a new iPhone.

Bayes, on the other hand, believes there is "added value in handwritten messages." Perhaps he feels that because he's still able to write. There are many for whom even a signature on a credit card receipt presents severe problems of hand-mind co-ordination.

Still, the bishop insists: "There is nothing wrong with social media. I have a Facebook account and I really enjoy myself on Twitter but a hand-signed and -- even better -- hand-delivered card conveys personal intention."

But what, these days, is personal anyway? The personal has conflated with the public. We live out our lives with everyone watching on Facebook and Twitter. Indeed, we find greater meaning in the fact that they see what we're doing, with whom and feel moved to immediately comment, or at least approve.

True, it only takes them a flick of the finger. But to us, that flick is as if the finger were stroking us gently from the top of our heads to at least the middle of our backs.

What's charming, though, about the bishop's intentions is that he appears to have 600 friends. Real friends, who will presumably appreciate the effort he's taken.

Making an effort is so passe, bishop, but I respect your commitment. So much so that I have a Christmas gift for you. It's called Bond. This is a company that employs robots to, well, send handwritten notes.