Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas, card or no card

Do you send out Christmas cards?  A few years ago, I would have thought that a strange question.  Doesn't everyone send out Christmas cards?  After watching my mom fuss over getting a multitude of Christmas cards addressed and stamped each Christmas season, I just considered it a required part of the Christmas festivities. That was, until last year.

Last year money was tight.  I just didn't see spending money on Christmas cards that everyone would throw out in two weeks, in addition to the postage.  We could use that money for a gift for someone...or groceries.  So, I broke out of the Christmas card obligation and didn't send a single Christmas card.  I almost felt like I was committing some Christmas sin.  No Christmas cards?  What a grinch!  You know what?  No one called me to complain they didn't get a card. No one had a ruined Christmas because I didn't add to the pile of Christmas cards. No Christmas curse was cast upon me.  It really was ok.  In was quite liberating.

I noticed that we received considerably fewer cards last year.  I assume many others made the same financial decision. The trend has continued on this year as well.  It might be the result of the 'ole if-you-don't-send-me-one-I'm-taking-you-off-my-list-next-year situation. That is entirely fine. I really don't want to send cards based on the Rule of Reciprocity anyhow.  What is the point in that?  I'll wish you a Merry Christmas on paper if you do the same? I'll admit, some of my Christmas card deliveries were based on the Rule of Recriprocity guilt.  Sort of along the lines of, "Even though I haven't talked to Sally in 10 years, despite her living 5 miles from me, I should send her a card because she sent me one."  In reality, Sally was afraid to take me off her Christmas list, too. It just seems, well, a tad silly. The decrease may also be because others may still be in a financial bind.  Or, some may have come to the same realization as me - not sending out cards isn't the equivalent to turning green and trying to ruin Christmas for everyone.
I know some enjoy sending out cards and I think that is great; I do like receiving them. Some years, though, it is simply a chore and a last minute duty.  I never seem to have my act together enough to enjoy it, but always thought I had to. So, you won't be getting any cards from me this year.  In fact, you probably won't be getting any from me next year. It doesn't mean I'll never send out Christmas cards again.  It simply means I've decided that supporting Hallmark is no longer a Christmas requirement.  I still wish everyone a Merry Christmas, card or no.
Merry Christmas!


Beach Mama said...

There have been a few Christmases (is that a word?)that I have not sent cards. I have definitely trimmed my list down. I also suffered from "reciprocity guilt."
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Anonymous said...

I am usually a Card person. We were both in the military as Children, and then in the military as adults, so we have lived quite a few places. Cards seem to be the quick way to say we still think of them. However, this year - I went with the el'cheep half priced cards from the Dollar Store (seriously) which hopefully scream, please add me to your burn pile. . . . But - Postage is high. I have yet to find the extra moneys to buy all of the stamps right now. We might have January Cards. I sent out family and 5-6 people who are not on facebook cards. :) They are all ready to go - just need stamps.

Lisa said...

I always did cards until last year too. It wasn't really the cost of cards that changed my mind, it was the postage. A box of cards from the Dollar Store you can get pretty cheap, but I did not want to spend $40 on stamps. There are a few people that live far away and don't use a computer that we do send something to but everyone else gets an email, FB post from me.Maybe not as personal but a lot less expensive. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I am old-fashioned. I write Christmas letters. Granted, they are generic typed letters, but letters nonetheless. And, I don't send them just at Christmastime; I also write letters in spring, summer, and fall. And, lest you lump me in with the stereotypical Christmas letter crowd ("William won his second Olympic gold medal this year."), I also include bad things in my letters, not just the good things ("Billy fell down the stairs...again...and chipped another tooth.").

I like getting letters from people and I like getting photos (the whole family, please, not just the children or pets, some of whom I've never met). However, if people are just going to send a Christmas card with "Love, the Carpenter Family," and no photo or letter, I could do without it.


lexi said...

I have SEVEN boxes of cards from years past when I purchased and never got around to sending out cards. This year I did the $15 Costco prints and actually sent out 50 cards!!!