Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Christmas Card Debate

I was recently flipping through a magazine and came across an article on the outgoing trend of sending Christmas cards. The author seemed very sure that this was an "old-fashioned, out-dated" tradition and that we should all embrace technology and do away with the old through-the-mail ritual. This saddened me.

For as long as I can remember, my Grandma Phyllis would always send out an annual Christmas card and a Christmas newsletter. They were so much fun to receive for a variety of reasons. The first was that you could always look forward to getting something in the mail that was not a bill. The second reason was to see how many Guidepost/LWML/Feed the Children stickers she would slap on the envelope. The third, and most important was the annual family newsletter. Grandma would document to all on the mailing list what was happening in her own life as well as the lives of her children and grandchildren. Even though I was always able to be present at most of these detailed events, it was fun to have a yearly account of what went on in all our lives.

As I became an adult, I decided that when I got married, I wanted to carry on that tradition with my own family. So the first year Michael and I were married, we sat down and wrote our first Christmas letter. It was fun to see what we had accomplished over the year and where we wanted to go for the next year. The first couple of years, we received oodles of cards and newsletters similar to ours. It was such a great way to stay in touch with those you went to college with or friends who had since moved away. I loved receiving pictures of my friends and their kids, seeing how each family had changed or remained exactly the same over the year. But as time as gone by, the letters/cards have gotten fewer and fewer. To be frank, it feels as though the merriment of Christmas cards has dwindled. Of the 50 people we send out cards to each year, I think we've only received about 15 actual cards in reciprocation. I believe this is a result of one of two things. Either we are loosing friends and being cut from lists (which I pray is not the case), or people are doing away with this age-old tradition. Maybe I'm particular, but there's something much more special to me about receiving a real card and update from friends and family in the actual mail, than receiving an e-card or a generic "Merry Christmas" to everyone I know on Facebook.

What do you think? The only con I see for sending out the cards is the cost of postage and the cards themselves if you're trying to cut back. But I believe the pros outweigh the cons considerably. My hope is that my friends, family, and readers of my blog that do send out letters/cards will continue to carry on this tradition. You're helping spread Christmas cheer to our family for sure!

Merry Christmas!!


  1. I used to send hand-made cards to everybody (particularly when I was a choir director and had a pre-made address list of recipients). . . no way I would have time to make cards, anymore (those were the days?), but I also don't feel like I can justify the cost and the time it takes to get it done.

    I have a couple of other friends who have been trying to rally the troops to send cards out, but in the midst of writing a thesis, applying to doctoral schools, trying to find grant money for summer research, AND all of the family obligations that come along this time of year, there's just no way. . . all that stuff's expensive (money AND time), and it's hard to justify it at this point in my life. . . maybe someday, though. It IS a nice way to let people know you're thinking of them -- especially people who aren't on facebook, and who you don't get around to calling often enough.

    Speaking of which -- Merry Christmas to you guys -- it's been fun to watch your family grow!!

  2. OMG I didn't realize that was so long! Sorry to bogart space on your blog comment section!!! :)

  3. We used to send out cards, but the last two years we didn't. I'm not sure why. We just didn't get around to taking a picture and ordering cards. But you're right. The Christmas card stack is dwindling. I don't want to see this tradition die out. You've inspired me--next year we'll get cards out again. And I'll be sure your family is on our list.

  4. No cards for us this year...but I liked yours!