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Monday, December 22, 2014

RIP CHRISTMAS CARDS - a cranky re-run

This cranky re-run is from December 2013
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.

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.



  1. I send out a few cards, but not many. I think it's costly and the folks that I love know that I love them. They don't need a card. End this costly tradition.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  2. i sent a handful this year. should have sent more. the only one i've gotten from my family is from one of my brothers - and he handwrote a letter and xeroxed it for general distribution for the first time. :)

  3. "...cold, tacky, and tasteless..."
    Those're my sentiments.

    Besides, I figured out long ago that if I mail cards to family, on Christmas I can explain they didn't receive a gift because I spent my Christmas budget on postage and cards.

  4. It's already gone! I send two or three cards to folks who do not use Facebook. The time and money and inconvenience amount to a big heap.

  5. Christmas cards are DEAD and good riddance. Bah, humbug!

  6. That's an amazing number of cards to be sending out. I don't miss Christmas cards and prefer them to those dreadful letters people send out where they brag about vacations, promotions and their kids. But I worry that this is just a start, with letter writing and real published books soon to join the dodo on the extinction list.

  7. Yup. We're still doing it. Probably sent out thirty this year. The number fluctuates. I dropped a couple folks off the list, even though I might see them from time to time over breakfast or such. We did get ONE tacky, cold e-Christmas card. And they're from our generation. Just too lazy to send out cards. And that's what I tend to think of anyone who sends only e-cards. Lazy.

  8. I agree with the younger generation but SWMBO think e-cards are disgusting. So guess what we're doing?

  9. Hi Cranky Man,

    I gave up sending cards years ago. It is a right pain in the arse.

    Sadly, in the UK, we are the greetings cards kings and I *still* get them.

    One day people will get the message.

    Happy Holidays.




  10. Check your mail in a couple days. After reading this I put a #$%& sweet sentimental card in the mail to you. I know you'll like it!

  11. I LOVE Christmas cards--of course, I've been designing my own for about 10 years!!

  12. I think you are right which is sad since most of my family works for the post office. The only ones I send are to kids and contain money. Computers and smart phones have really put a nail in the coffin.

  13. I started blogging because people liked my self deprecating Christmas letters.
    I used to spend a long time on those letters. Now I hate them and all the work involved. But I'm not on Facebook and I like to see pictures of people that I don't see any more in person. So I continue to send the Christmas cards and letters.
    This comment is almost as long as my stupid Christmas letter. The End

  14. I recall years when the mailman would deliver TWICE each day. Mother taped dozens to the wall in the shape of a tree. I was fascinated. The cards that arrived with pre-printed names (and no personal message) were considered "cold, tacky and tasteless." Mother religiously kept track of who reciprocated and slackers were abruptly crossed off the list! Great memories, but I only mail out about 6 of them these days - mostly to senior ladies who still enjoy "real" mail.
    Merry Christmas, Mr. Cranky!

  15. I still give Christmas cards out. They get appreciated very much.

  16. I never send them. I tried one year, but it was a hassle getting the addresses.

  17. Hope you are right there is 5-10 more years for cards; brother works for the post office and plans to retire within 2-3 years. My mom too would start her cards after Thanksgiving. I send a few out, only one this year. Its neat to receive them, a hassle sometimes to send them.


  18. I only send cards to immediate family and a few treasured internet friends. This year I skipped the overseas friends because postage is just too much.

  19. You are right. The purpose of Christmas cards was exactly the same as how we use Facebook and texts now, so there is no need for them. The extra personal touch conveyed by a handwritten card is a by - product.
    I finally quit sending cards 3 or so years ago when I realized I was resenting the (considerable) expense, and the cards you receive are not all fantastic. Hastily scrawled signatures under a generic greeting and those horrible inserted "annual letters" from certain families were in no way any more personal or charming than a "to all my friends and family" Facebook post. Personally I like the flurry of texts and Facebook posts on Christmas day and am happy to get them.

  20. Regarding your comment on my post, he has been mistaken many times for Larry David..