Christmas cards (or Hanukkah cards, or generic “holiday” cards, but I’m going to say Christmas) are supposed to be a way to reach out to the people you care about, to friends and family near and far, to send them the greetings of the season. Lately, though, it seems like people see Christmas cards more as a chore than as a privilege, a time to think about how blessed you are to have people you care about.
I noticed it a few years ago. I was getting more and more envelopes from friends with labels, and fewer with hand-written addresses. I didn’t really think anything of it; it’s really not a big deal. Then, the pre-printed “From Whoever” cards appeared. What is that? You can’t sign your own cards? You don’t need to write a personal note (although I think you should, however short), but not even to sign them yourself? It makes me wonder if people genuinely even know to whom they are sending cards, or is it just an assembly line of stick the label, stuff the card, seal, stamp, send, stick, stuff, seal, stamp, send?
I told myself that these people at least had to know who was on their Christmas card lists because they’d have to get the addresses of their friends and family in order to add them to the spreadsheet that would feed the labels. However, the impersonal Christmas cards have reached the point of the ridiculous. People are posting online forms asking their friends to submit their contact information if they wish to receive a Christmas card.
Here’s how it works. Somebody posts an open spreadsheet (a google document or the like) and says “Hey, if you want to get a Christmas card from me, fill out this form.” No, I do not want to subscribe to your Christmas card. I hope that you want to send me one, but I’m not going to fill out an online request for it. You should send Christmas cards to the people you care enough about to contact them individually to get their addresses (or get it from one of their friends). Send cards to the people who are worth the one second it takes to sign it.
If this is your approach to Christmas cards, take a deep breath. Think about what Christmas means and why you’re sending the cards in the first place. It’s not to send somebody an impersonal piece of mail, it’s to reach out in the spirit of Christmas.Start early if you need to, and do a little at a time. Turn on a Christmas movie, grab a hot cocoa, and spend some time with them. Enjoy it. You’re blessed to have so many people to love at Christmas (and I hope I still make the cut).