Christmas Writing

shoes at christmasJoe’s Post #75

Writing in the 2013. For Christmas.

chirstmasIn the old days, it used to be Christmas Cards. You know, those funny things made of paper that look like birthday cards. You’d have a long list of friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, evil clowns, teachers… whomever, and you’d sit at a chair with a glass that was 90% rum and 10 % eggnog and you’d hammer them out.

They’d begin nice enough. “Dear Auntie June, missed seeing you this year but I hope you’re doing great. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”  After 5 glasses and 50 cards, you tended to get a bit punch drunk…. or just plain drunk. “Yo, yo, uncle Don, wuzzup? Why doesn’t that Santa dude have any children? Because he only comes once a year, and when he does, it’s down the chimney. bahahaha!”

Now, however, the fine art of writing and sending Christmas cards is nearly lost. Today, we send text messages, emails and post on Facebook. I’m not saying it isn’t nice to wish everyone a Merry Christmas on your timeline, but have we lost that personal touch?

In some cases, maybe, yes. If you just post on your time-line or mass send an email or put up a picture of a tree on pinterest, with or without a picture of you wearing pumpkin underwear, it’s not really making it personal. Unless it’s personally insulting to someone which does actually count.

santa 2However, most of the wishes we send via some form of electronic media are just as good, if not better than the old card method. They can be personal, intimate, naughty or nice (as requrired.)

So, despite the fact I managed to get out a ton of christmas cards this year (sorry, Paula, you’re new address arrived too late), I’m thinking electronic may be the way to go. No more licking envelopes. No more buying a truck-load of stamps. Next year, it’ll be some form of electronic seasons greetings.

May Santa forgive me.

How does everyone else feel about this trend away from pen and paper and towards cyber communications?

9 thoughts on “Christmas Writing

  1. Saint Nick forgive me, but I’ve been thinking the same thing about sending Christmas cards. But I don’t know whether I can give it up cold turkey (pun not intended, but I’ll take credit for it anyway). Since I’ve been the Queen of Christmas Cards for decades, I may not be able to weather the inevitable withdrawal.

    For more than 20 years I actually designed and printed my own cards (each one literally hand made in the days before I could afford to send my designs off to a printer, that being the pre-Vista Print era). I suffered terrible pangs of guilt the first year I broke down and sent store-bought cards. Then, in an effort to avoid hand writing the same “personal” messages over and over and over, I finally broke down about 4 years ago and started enclosing one of those dreaded mass Xmas letters. Another tradition defiled!

    My card list now runs to about 140, and I probably receive less than half that number from others. So I’m starting to question my efforts as a Christmas Card Missionary. Is it a sacred trust? Or a misplaced (large) investment of time and money I could be spending on something equally thankless but more fulfilling? Like writing.

    Thanks, Joe, for this chance to get my Christmas Card angst off my chest. I feel so much better now. Yeah. I think I’m cured. I’m free! Free at last!

    Speaking of free, Christmas Cards are selling for practically nothing this week. I think I’ll just run out tomorrow and check out the bargains …

  2. Dear pod person Joe; we received the card that you sent, thank you very much. I would be very grateful if you were to spare the life of my good friend Joe, he’s lived a good life and does not deserve to be replaced with a ‘pod person’……even if that is the only way to get him to send out christmas cards. Sincerely, Joe’s friend (the equally inept card sending) Brian.

    ps. nice Mustang! I know you bought it ’cause that’s just not Joe!

  3. Ah Joe,
    I must admit that one of my strongest memories of ‘Christmas Past’ is my parents sitting down together, going through a much crossed-out and revised ‘address list’ and sending out personally crafted messages to everyone in their ‘sphere’.

    Looking back, this made a lot of sense in the circumstances. My family had moved from Canada, to Oregon, then back to Canada. In the process, my parents left behind good friends, not forgotten, with whom they wished to keep in touch, if only via the annual Christmas card round-up.

    Never a ‘Christmas Letter’ – I fondly recall my mother’s thoughts on that subject, though she more than once threatened to send a parody to those who blessed us with the: “Susie was elected homecoming queen and starred in the school musical….” sort of message. My mother was a very talented writer with a wicked sense of humour and we had to threaten dire consequences to keep her from sending out something along the lines of: “Bob has only another three weeks in reform school, we’re hopeful he’ll be home for Christmas. Paula’s joined a punk rock band. She is so talented and you should see her fake ID. So authentic, you’ll swear it is real. We’re confident she’ll be able to play in the ‘Puss-in-Boots’ Club this New Years Eve with her new band, ‘Twisted Kittens’….

    But alas, I must admit that although I embraced the Christmas Card ‘duty’ in my early years, I ‘lapsed’ early on with the advent of e-cards and with only a modicum of guilt. While it was always lovely to receive cards from college classmates, enclosing family photos with children I’d never met and catch up on another year of family activities (I did feel ‘connected’ across the miles’)…. I never knew what to do with the cards and photos I received. It seemed plain wrong to just chuck them upon reading. Inevitably I’d put them all in a big envelope for a couple of months and keep them around, my road to hell paved with good intention… I was sure I’d send answering ‘New Year’s’ Cards. At the very least, I’d go through all the envelopes and update my address book with the senders’ return addresses, so that next year I’d be ready.

    But with the advent of e-cards, I knew I was done. Liberated from a task that inevitably brought me more guilt than joy.

    I still like that remembered image of my parents with the egg nog, though, and the hilarious fake stories my mother threatened to distribute. Thanks for the memories, Mom and Dad.

    • Am I ready for liberation from Xmas cards? I still don’t know. I fear that perhaps it’s only these small (admittedly slightly onerous) rituals that keep Christmas from just devolving into another day, drained of much meaning beyond spending too much money and eating too much food. Does this make me a romantic traditionalist? Or an obsessive compulsive with a cynical streak?

  4. Electronic greetings have become much more sophisticated. Last week, I received a greeting from a colleague that was specifically designed as a Christmas card for professional contacts. It was quite attractive design-wise and it had tasteful animation and music. I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve become a bit of a slacker when it comes to the holiday cards, because I manage the care of a loved one with health issues and it takes a lot of my time and attention. But it’s nice to see what’s being sent by others – electronic and paper.

    • You know what, you’re exactly right! The e-cards are getting so much better but at the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts. I reminder that someone, somewhere, is thinking about you. Other than your real estate agent. Or dentist.

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