There were years before email, Facebook, and blogs when I mailed out around 300 Christmas cards. I wrote notes in them. I sent photos of our children and pets. I exchanged holiday recipes. I only corresponded with about twenty people on a regular basis so the annual Christmas card was the logical way to “catch up” with friends and relatives who lived far away.
And who can forget the years when the carefully worded and beautifully printed “holiday letter” was mass-mailed to everyone? Some were worthy of literary status, especially for their circumspect descriptions of less-than-wonderful events. “Johnny spent three months in jail.” was transformed into “Johnny spent the summer staying in a training facility that encouraged him to reevaluate his priorities and redefine his future.” Others were intended to make us envious of awards, promotions, vacations, purchases, and enterprises. But most were just a welcome review of family triumphs and tragedies for the year. I have several in my files that I still treasure, especially since the senders are now in heaven.
Christmas cards are still a creative outlet for a few talented souls. Some family photo greetings and hand-embellished cards are so memorable I feel like they need to be framed and displayed. But I fear there isn’t much in my life that needs to be emblazoned on a photo card, nor do I have the time or patience anymore for creating my own cards.
When I did my shopping last weekend I glanced at the rows and rows of boxed Christmas cards. Apparently someone still sends them. Or at least the manufacturers hope they will. I can’t find it in my heart to NOT send out cards, but I have not decided yet how to determine who should get one. Thanks to email I correspond with some friends on a daily basis, others at least weekly. Then there is FB and my blogs and a letter here and there to a few family members. I suppose my holiday wishes will be expressed in some combination of paper and electronic greetings. Just have to sit down and make some decisions.
A doctor was interviewed recently about the stresses of the holidays. This is just one example of the myriad little decisions that must be made during the next few weeks. There are gift giving, decorating, menu planning, and travel decisions to be made….hundreds of little details. Then there are the more difficult decisions about which relatives to celebrate with and which ones to avoid. Don’t even try to tell me that your family doesn’t have such problems. The holidays can quickly become the perfect environment for producing an ulcer.
I don’t know about you, but “to send or not to send” is just one more thing I need to check off my list so I can move on to other things…like putting up my tree.