Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Card Musings

As a kid I remember my parents doing Christmas cards. I think they traded off each year since I remember one parent or the other sitting down to the big pile of cards and a long list of people, but never together. I would wander over to whatever parent was doing them and look over their shoulder and ask "Who's that?" on a name I didn't recognize. I would get "That's someone I used to work with." "When was the last time you spoke to them?" "About 20 years ago" would come the response.

I thought that was sort of strange, sending a Christmas card to someone you hadn't spoken to in years, but now as I reach the end of my 30s, I find that I have people on my list that I haven't spoken to in nearly a decade - and they're all relatives. Cousins mostly.

My wife and I have a system: she does "her" friends and family, I do "mine". My list is a lot shorter than hers, so this is okay by me. And every year I try to cut mine a little shorter ("Do I really need to send one to my cousin in San Antonio? Nah."), but of course I end up getting a card from her, so I have to rush a card out to her before Christmas day hits, and remember not to try to cut her again next year.

The other thing that is changing is the personal note. I used to put something personal on each card I sent out, letting the receiver know that I actually thought of them when I sent the card. But as each year passes the time available for doing cards gets shorter, as do the notes. Sadly, I sent out a few cards this year that had just my signature, something I tried long to avoid.

One thing I have never done - and don't plan to do - is the yearly message/family newsletter. Long time friend Jim does this, and as he points out, it is somewhat analogous to blogging. I hadn't thought of if that way.

The last thought is that I try to send out Christmas cards, not "holiday" cards. If the card we pick out has a holiday greeting, I usually write Merry Christmas on it, even to my Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist friends. No one seems to mind - I certainly don't when I get a Hanukkah card, which I do every so often.

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