RIP CHRISTMAS CARDS
This headline may be premature, but the Christmas card tradition that we know (and I hate) is not long for this world. The tradition, of course is the sending and receiving of cards to everyone you have ever known. It is a woman’s tradition, men help and will read the incoming cards, but if not for women, Christmas cards would not be sent.
|This cranky re-run is from December 2013|
My mom would start the Christmas card process the day after Thanksgiving and was not finished until the week before Christmas. She wrote a personal note to each recipient.
Mrs. Cranky is not ready to give in and quit the tradition, but she will be the last of a dying breed. She sends out over three-hundred cards a year, many to people she has not seen in years and is not likely to see again. Mrs. Cranky limits the personal note to those whose first name she remembers. This process takes over eight hours (with me as an assistant) and costs at least $300 in stamps and stationary.
None of this effort makes any sense in today’s world. The Christmas Card tradition of old is the equivalent of today's Facebook; the yearly sending and receiving of cards to see who has friended you, and who has unfriended you.
“I don’t think Sally Schwartz from Memphis sent us a card this year…guess we’ll cross her off for next year.”
“Damn we got a card from my mom’s old neighbor Mrs. Cattsenwaller, I better add her to next year’s list.”
The new generation is having nothing to do with this tradition, or will at least end it soon. My son laments,
“Why spend hundreds of dollars when I can create one card, with multiple pictures and send it to all my friends with the push of the send button.”
My son is correct of course, and that is why the card sending tradition is not long for this world, but I do understand Mrs. C’s point of view. Her, (my) generation would view a cyber-greeting as cold, tacky, and tasteless. Thus we will continue to purchase cards, stuff envelopes, address envelopes, add return addresses, lick stamps, lick envelopes, and cart off several pounds of cards to the post office all to wish "Merry Christmas" to everyone we have ever shook hands with.
My children’s generation will receive these cards and think, “Damn, why do these fools spend so much time and so much money when there is email and Facebook?” My children’s generation will never understand how critical the card tradition has been to the women of my generation, and until the collective mindset swings over to usage of modern technology, the post office will be remain very busy in December.
I give it five to ten more years at best.