O Christmas Card, Christmas Card, wherefore art thou Christmas Card?

The rise of social media has created the fall of Christmas cards.  There.  I wrote it.  I have known it was true as evidenced by my sparsely stuffed mailbox these last few years, but continually tried to deny it.  I miss holiday cards.  Anybody who knows me knows that I have enjoyed the social media experience, very much, maybe too much, since I first learned it even existed in 2007.  Ironically, I learned about Facebook from an actual Christmas Card, made of paper and mailed through the USPS; my friend, who always included a photograph of her stunningly beautiful daughters taken in some sweet tropical place, wrote in her note, “look me up, I’m on facebook” and I walked downstairs that winter day, rather puzzled,  and asked my hippie scientist boyfriend, with whom I lived at the time, “what is facebook?”

I’ve thought about it over the last several holiday seasons, and have watched as my *winter*solstice*season*mail* life went from, in the 1990’s, so many cards that I would have them strung on satin grosgrain ribbon across a ten foot span of my dining room door jamb, down to a decorative metal, and in the shape of a Christmas tree,  -‘over the door card holder’-  in the 2000’s, reduced to last year, four.  FOUR cards mailed for Christmas received in my rural route mailbox.  It’s our own fault.  I used to love to write a lovely letter and enclose it in a glittery shimmery card.  I would buy all new pens in metallic inks and fresh markers to decorate the envelopes with holly leaves and berries and swirls, (a silly thing to some I’m sure, but something left over from my years in retail, making decorative signs throughout the store at Christmas time, and a nice little personal embellishment on a blank envelope) and sometimes I’d include a photograph, back then of my daughter, and more recently of her daughters, but now, what’s the point?!

I used to love to order at least one box of cards from the MOMA catalog, always artsy and fabulously adorned and unique, and I would send those to my good friends and people I really loved, or people I knew would hang it up and it would be used decoratively, as opposed to being tossed right in the trash.  I would have more generic “winter” cards for my friends who were Jewish or were not particularly participatory in the whole Santa/Christ experience, and then I would have a more youthful design to send to friends with little ones.  I put a lot of effort into the Christmas card sending process over most of the years of my adult life.  Right now, on my desk upstairs, sitting since Thanksgiving, I have four boxes of cards, the same four boxes that I pulled from the attic last year and did not send.  I have lovely stamps with poinsettias on them and I have a drawer full of metallic gel pens that would be terrific, but I just don’t have the same desire I used to, to write and mail, which is odd, since my living room is totally transformed into a panoply of shiny glittery Christmas regalia…I mean, it’s obvious to anybody who walks through my door that I engage in the entire holiday season experience…and yet, here the boxes of cards sit, unopened and unwritten…

All of my friends or acquaintances know everything that I would possibly share in a Christmas card note because of social media.  I shove pictures of my beautiful granddaughters into their eyeballs several times a month, all year-long!!!  I am far worse really than some Cashmere Bouquet scented old lady with a shiny leather wallet clutch who unfurls her photos in line at the grocery store, because I don’t ask, as the old grandma would, “would you like to see a picture of the girls?”  I just jam it into your face.  My handful of friends who do not live near me no longer need a lovely handwritten note to ‘catch up’ because they know from both my blog and from my Facebook page, and now my instagram link, that I am living HERE, working THERE, doing THIS, wishing for THAT.  It’s my own fault that there are no more Christmas cards, we did it to ourselves.

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