Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Whither the Christmas Card?


My friend Rev. Di commented on Facebook that she wasn't receiving many Christmas cards and maybe this was the last year she would send them. I've noticed the same phenomenon myself--usually by this time in December we have a big bowl full of cards. This year not so much.

Which raises the question: Whither the Christmas card? Is this tradition that began in Victorian England loosing its popularity?

I can see several reasons why this may be true.

The popularity of email, blogs, Facebook and Twitter (and other internet social networking sites) enable people to find and keep in touch with long-lost friends and relatives year-round. Even us Baby Boomers are doing it!

This year I created a Christmas letter and enclosed it in more than 75 hand-addressed envelopes. This took many hours. Rev Di reported she sent out more than 100! E-greetings would be cheaper and quicker. I have to admit that in some ways I would be relieved to give it up.

On the other hand, we've grown up with this tradition and it wouldn't feel right to abandon it just yet. I do limit my card-sending to close family (because they want to see the Christmas letter) and out-of-town friends. Otherwise the task would be overwhelming.

Are you sending out Christmas cards this year? Why or why not?

Do you think this tradition is becoming less popular? Will E-greetings replace it?

10 comments:

Reformed Catholic said...

I have to admit, I grew up in the tradition of Christmas cards, and having fallen for those advertisements on the back of comics when I was a boy, sold Christmas cards door to door. I actually made some money on the stuff for about 4 or 5 years.

Before I was married, as a single guy, I sent them to family and friends.

My wife, did not have this tradition instilled in her. I really have no idea why, but she's 9 years younger than I am and grew up in the 60's. So we don't send out cards. We do get them however.

That said, why aren't people sending cards? A stamp costs 42 cents, an email maybe 1/100 of a cent !!

mid-life rookie said...

Plan is to write letter and address cards tomorrow evening. Mailed from my office they should arrive just before Christmas. Need to write a letter this year as the last two years at this time were difficult, so need to send out some good news.

Rev Kim said...

Dave & I sent out Christmas cards for the first time this year, because we had a kinda good picture taken of us up in Grand Teton. But we didn't do the Christmas letter, because really, who wants to hear about the preaching conferences and con-ed we did this year? We realized in thinking through the Christmas letter that our lives are quite boring.

Presbyterian Gal said...

I am sending out minimal cards this year. I plan to do lots of e-cards (watch your box!) by Jacqui Lawson. This is because I am grievously sickened by the death of our planets trees. It does not bode well for our species continuance. So I'm doing my tiny part to conserve. Though the one sheet of toilet paper business ala Sheryl Crow is NOT gonna fly in my house.

Kathryn said...

After years of sending out more than 150 each year (kind of inherited my mother's Christmas card list when she died, I guess) this year I'm only sending to people whom I wont see, and who don't have internet access. Otherwise, eCards for most people - and I flat out refuse to send cards to people whom i see anyway.
At church we have a giant card for people to sign and make a donation to World Vision of some of the money they've savedby not writing cards...but it's hard to break people of the habit, I find.

j,too said...

When you have lived in many states and towns, Christmas cards are a nice way to keep in touch with old friends. These folks may not be there with me through all my daily walks, but are always welcoming no matter how long the time between visits. Our card and letter just keep up the contact till we "meet again". It's especially fun when the kids are young too.

DannyG said...

We do cards. #1 reason is tradition. #2 reason is that it is something (J) can do even with the wheelchair and limited vision. #3 like others, we've lived pretty much all accross the continent at one time or another, and have far flung friends.

Rev SS said...

I'm all for using electronic media (saving trees etc.) for as many as possible, and no cards to people I see regularly. Still send about 30annual letters to friends in different parts of the country where I've lived, who I don't 'talk' to much via phone or internet during the year.

Bad Alice said...

I don't do regular cards. Too many steps, never enough time, very tiring to the hands, quite expensive to mail. I love e-cards. For one thing they are usually animated--so much fun! They don't cost anything. There's no transit time. I don't have to brave the craze to buy cards, and I can feel good about my little corner of being green. I can certainly put as much time into a thoughtful message as I would have on a regular card. All win win to me.

stinuksuk said...

We still do cards and the Letter.
Usually the letter is a travelogue about our vacation, and some family updates. With no children and church work, we also lead boring lives!
However, I grew up writing notes to my grandma's in german and have continued that tradition by writing a german and english letter to send to relatives.
This year, I have gotten a couple egreetings and maybe in the future, will consider that. Although, I really enjoy the basket of cards!! Some of the older relatives don't have e-mail anyway.