I have vivid memories of being with my grandmother in the days leading up to Christmas as we gathered at her house to celebrate together. When she wasn’t preparing her famous creamed onions or putting up last minute decorations, she was at her desk reading Christmas cards she’d received and thoughtfully writing her own responses. Most times we’d be running her cards to the Post Office on Christmas Eve so they would be postmarked before Christmas. Her friends might not receive her cards before Christmas but they most definitely would receive a personal and meaningful note from Gladys Decker.
But times have changed. Personal Christmas cards turned into printed annual newsletters (that we all dreaded reading), which have now turned into photo cards that can even be addressed and mailed without you ever even touching them. Being an executive at a greeting card company, I used to think this was great: give customers an option of getting their obligatory cards out the door in the easiest way possible. At least they were still sending a physical card and keeping the Post Office in business. But this year I’m rethinking whether I really need to spend $300 on cards and stamps to send to my ‘Christmas list’, which ends up being a small subset of people I keep in touch with anyway and most of whom will likely throw them in the garbage come January 1st.
Facebook has facilitated relationships beyond that Christmas card list—and I now share way more with my ‘friends’ then I ever would have shared in a Christmas card. I mean, really, doesn’t everyone know by now that my family is NOT as picture perfect as we appeared in that one shot on the Christmas card? Besides learning about my new business venture and our family vacations, my ‘friends’ have also heard about how my 2 ½ year old dropped the f-bomb last month and my 1 ½ year old dropped a turd in the tub. At least last year I found a card on Minted that said ‘All Is Calm-ish and Bright’ which described our 2013 perfectly.
But this year, I think it’s either time to honor my Grandmother and make Christmas cards personal again or it’s time to scrap the whole thing. Maybe I’ll sit down with the kids and decorate cards for our friends and family. Or go the digital route and record a video greeting on GiftGram so people can see what life is really like in our house (have you tried doing a photo shoot with a 1 ½ and 2 ½ year old? I’m sweating after just putting their clothes on!). But one thing’s for sure: if you get a card from us, it will be really special so you know how glad we are that you’re in our life.