Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Cards

My favorite cards always had Santa on them!

Every year the number of Christmas cards we get is fewer and fewer.  I hate to admit it, but I have become one of those who stopped sending out cards. It used to be one of the things I looked forward to about Christmas every year when I was a kid.

My mother used to buy a box of cards and a set of 50 stamps every year.  When she was in the mood she would take out the cards, stamps and her address book and write out the cards to family and friends.  I was sitting right there next to her “helping.”  She didn’t trust me to write out the cards, but she let me pick out the cards from the assorted box, to send to each person.  When the envelope was sealed I got to put a sticker on it and a stamp in the corner.  It was an annual mother/daughter event.  Knowing my mother, I think she just sent cards because it was the “social” thing to do.  Everyone sent them. Whether you saw the person every day or not in ten years, you still sent a card.  Then, one year a close relative died.  My mother said it wasn’t appropriate to send cards the year a family member dies.  And the tradition of the two of us sending cards died that year too, she never went back to sending them.  I picked up where she left off, sending out cards from the family.

When I had my own daughters I was looking forward to sharing the “Christmas card” tradition with them.  Well, by the time they were old enough for that, computers were household fixtures.  If you are going to “send” anything at all it wouldn’t be by “snail” mail it would be by email.  And there were dozens of websites offering all sorts of ecards for free.  And so we have another old tradition murdered by new technology and progress. Another way we used to have of reaching out and communicating, from one person to another,  with a personalized, handwritten card has fallen to the wayside and modern ecards, with typed messages have replaced them. Isn’t it a shame really? 

I remember opening all the envelopes, reading the notes, looking at the pictures and hanging the cards up on display.  And I am just as guilty.  I have stopped sending cards.  Somewhere along the way things got busy, too busy; and the holidays too hectic and something had to go.  It was the cards.  

We still get a few Christmas cards, but they dwindle each year.  I used to spend a fortune on special cards at Hallmark too, now I rarely buy a card. One day greeting cards may be extinct.  I can’t help but feel I contributed to their demise.


  1. Just discussed this with a friend today. We are in our early thirties and some of us send then out and others don't. I have always chosen not to, but as I get older, I think I'm going to start. I helped my 91-year-old widowed grandpa pick out his Christmas cards this weekend. He only bought a pack of 14 but I bet it took him all day... you know, write one, address it & stamp it, take a nap. Write another, address it & stamp it, take a nap. But, what a wonderful thing for him to keep the tradition going after my grandma passed away. If he can do it, I have no excuse.

    Erin ~ IN

  2. I feel like we are losing every form of communication we used to have in favor of new technological advances. A phone call and/or a little Christmas card once a year is too much? I hope you start your own tradition, I used to love doing it every year and always sent them the first week of December so I knew they would be there in plenty of time. There is something to be said for old traditions. God Bless your grandfather for living such a long life and doing his part to keep in touch with those he cares about!