Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Christmas Card Conundrum

To card or not to card? That is the question I've been asking myself these last few days. Despite what your initial reaction might be, no, it's really not too early to be thinking about this. I am all about celebrating Thanksgiving to the fullest before decking the halls, unlike my next-door neighbors who have their trees--yes, trees with an s--lit up in their front window. No offense if that's your thing, but that ain't me, bruhhh (as my 14 year old might say). I've got to start thinking about it now because these things take planning if I don't want to be sending out New Years, or for that matter Valentine's cards.

Christmas card on their way to the post office a few years ago.
On the one hand I love the tradition of Christmas cards. It makes me all kinds of happy to find cards from friends and family in my mailbox throughout December. On the other hand, I am trying really hard to cut anything unnecessary out of the budget this year. Having a senior is ex-pen-sive. Postage for 50+ cards is ex-pen-sive. Heck, the cards themselves are expensive.

A few of our Christmas cards adorning our refrigerator a couple of years ago. 
Also, it seems we Christmas card senders are a dying breed. I remember my parents' mailbox being jammed full of cards all throughout December growing up. I was always quick to volunteer if Mom asked someone to go get the mail, because who knew what exciting tidings would be waiting at the end of the driveway? Now we maybe get a dozen cards in the mail on a good year with a few more handed to us at church. I've been sending out 50+ cards a year and feeling guilty about all the people we love that didn't make the cut (hint: if you didn't make the cut, it's probably because we didn't get one from you. We love you, but we have had to keep things under control somehow).

Maybe with the advent of social media people are seeing enough of each other already. Maybe tweets and Instagram posts and Facebook updates have usurped the once mighty Christmas card. Chances are if I like you enough to send a Christmas card, I already know that you had a baby this year or that you went on vacation to Cancun. I've probably seen fairly recent photos of your darling family and know that your kids have grown a ton. Still, I think there is just something about getting an actual card in the mail. It doesn't matter to me that I have already seen those updates and pictures--I want to hold them in my hands and tape them to my fridge with polka dot washi tape. I just do. And a little part of me thinks that if I do, maybe you do too.

Care to weigh in? Do you send cards? How do you feel about digital or emailed Christmas greetings? Cheap and practical or too impersonal? What are you doing this year, and more to the point, what should I do this year?

P.S. Here is a ghost of Christmas cards past:

This gem from 2011 remains one of my all-time favorites. It's non-traditional, but it captures my kids' personalities at that time so well.

Edited to add my thankful list for the day. Can't believe I forgot that!
Snail mail--it really does make me happy to get something in the mailbox besides bills and junk mail
A day off--my kids don't have school today or tomorrow. It's kind of blissfull--like a second weekend without all the crazy running around
Hot chocolate. I'm going to go have me a mugful right now.

1 comment:

Donna C. said...

I send around 80. If I don't hear back for 2 in a row then I cross that person off the list unless they are really important to me or I know they cannot send cards for some reason. My 106 year old aunt loves to get them but doesn't write well enough to send them anymore. I love to get them and am sad that so many traditions are going away.