As every single commercial is quick to remind you, the Christmas season is clearly upon us. For many, with the festivities and frantic shopping comes another holiday duty, the Christmas cards. But in this increasingly digital world are Christmas cards still relevant?
It is a complicated question, especially for people like me who come from a family that values traditions like this a great deal. For me, cards are a Christmas staple, a way to remind all those people I have lost touch with that I am still thinking of them. They are a beautiful way to update distant friends and relatives on what has happened to my family in the past year.
It hardly ever works out that way, though. Often, the cards are simply stuffed in the envelope with little more than a cursory “Merry X-mas!” and a scrawled signature. The personal touch that characterized Christmas cards of old is gone, taking with it some of the magic that made them so special. With the rising number of users on social media sites like Facebook, we have the ability to know someone’s life story with just a few clicks of the mouse. With all that information, it seems a tad ridiculous to rewrite it all in a letter, and even more ridiculous to pay for the stamps to send it!
Having been a child that was unreasonably excited to both receive and send Christmas cards, it pains me a bit to see what the once touching tradition has become. With so many of my family members living overseas, getting those first cards completely covered in spidery writing from my grandparents, grand uncles, grand aunts and various other relatives always signaled the beginning of Christmas for me. I even used to beg my parents to let me stick the stamps on the envelopes, although I always managed to mess that up somehow.
I finally conceded defeat, however, when I received a Facebook message from my 87-year-old grand uncle. It simply said, complete with Santa Claus emoticons, “Happy x-mas 2 all. Missin u all a bunch. Lots n lots of luv!” I guess maybe it is time for the Christmas card to bow out gracefully.