I have a bad feeling that one of my favorite holiday customs is going the way of the dinosaur.
By this time most years, the railing in my living room is plastered with cards from friends near and far, wishing our family happy holidays and best wishes in the new year. Not this year.
Every day for the last week, as I peek into my mailbox at the end of the day, I expect to be greeted by a last-minute onslaught of cards. So far, it hasn’t happened. As I write this, I have on display in my living room a measly couple of holiday cards—and about just as many theories about why.
The simplest explanation is that people are too darn busy to bother with Christmas cards. I seem to get mine out later every year. This year, I had to click on “priority, three-day shipping” to make sure I’d get them in the mailbox before Dec. 25. I’m still waiting for them to be shipped to me.
Another theory is that, given the digital age we live in, taking the time to write a card, print the address on the front and find a stamp is way to yesterday for many card-givers. This is the first year I’ve received “e-holiday” cards. I’m not a big fan of them. After a quick glance, I hit the delete button and they’re gone, unlike the ones taped to my living room banister that I like to glance at from time to time, as do guests to my house.
Then there’s the issue of what sort of well wishes to send in the card. Do you buy Christmas cards only, and risk offending folks who don’t celebrate Christmas? Do you go with a generic “happy holiday” message, or even a happy new year theme? Or, do you simply choose the easiest option, which is to opt out of card distribution altogether?
Along with the conundrum of which well wishes to send in the card, there’s the challenge of whom to feature on the card. Most people with kids choose to put a picture of them (their kids, that is) front and center on the card. But it's not easy getting family members to cooperate for a picture, whether that means dressing up, combing their hair, or simply smiling for the camera. Here again, the simplest solution is to say the heck with it.
But I hope it doesn’t come to that. I'm still holding out hope that I'll get that last-minute pile of holiday cards in my mailbox this year, and in years to come.