Monday, 5 December 2005

Christmas Cards

I still haven't sent any Christmas cards this year. I procrastinate about it every year and then always send them late. Honestly, it's one of the those Christmas chores I don't like even though I admit I like receiving cards.

This year, I figure it makes more sense to take the money I usually spend on about fifty cards and stamps and just give it to charity instead. I can then send a personal Christmas greetings by email.

Christmas cards are soooo last century.

Christmas cards started when Sir Henry Cole commissioned John Calcott Horsley in 1843 to create a card he could send out to his friends to make them aware of the needs of the poor during the holiday season. By the 1860's, Christmas cards had become a business. It does seem a bit pointless in this day and age to spend money sending bits of paper to each other with little more than a generic picture and a printed greeting. Image how much money could be raised if everyone gave their card and postage budget to a good cause. That was the original purpose in the first place.

So chances are, you won't get any dead wood fibre with my handwriting on it this year. To reciprocate, you're more than welcome to strike me off your Christmas card list and drop a few more coins in a charity box. Just send an email instead.


  1. I've always enjoyed your off-colour seasonal sentiments! Perhaps the email can carry on the tradition.

  2. I was seriously considering skipping Christmas cards this year. Not for philosophical reasons, but just because there's no time. But I realized I had an hour and a quarter to spare this afternoon while Brian was at his social skills group. This morning I happened to be at Ikea where there was a Unicef stand set up. "Great!" I thought. "I can pick up some cards." Well, I didn't stop to think about the price until the cashier started ringing the sale up. Fifty dollars for three packs of cards! Obviously I didn't want to appear petty and say I had changed my mind, but if I'd known the price, I would have thought twice about the purchase. In any case, I can proudly say I've supplied 78 people in India with the measles vaccine. So, I've managed to make my donation to charity, as you suggested, and still keep one foot in the last century. Don't worry, though, you won't be receiving any dead wood fibre in the mail from me this year. See you soon!

  3. Aha! That supports our theory that we are getting fewer cards this year because of e-communication. But can I put in a little plea for cards?

    Every year I get a real paper card from my 90 year old aunt in Australia. Her actual real live handwriting is there, and her almost indecipherable (whew -- spell check, anyone?) handwriting is seemingly written using the same ink and same fountain pen that she's been using for at least 20 years. And her card invariably has a kangaroo on the front. Would I ever get an email from her? Never. Would she ever figure out how to receive one from me? No way.

    Then there are the people who believe that it doesn't matter what email account they have, as long as it's free. You know the ones: their addresses are something like, or They go for a year or so with the same address, then forget their password, and blithly (sp?)get a new one.

    To say nothing of the people who only open an email if they know it's coming, because otherwise it could be a virus.

    All this said, your entry did make me think a bit about cards and email, and perhaps I should start up an email virtual card list. But what would be the protocol for such a thing? I've yet to figure out how to decide if someone is good enough a friend to get a paper card. The mind boggles.

  4. Hi Lewis, thanks for your Christmas card!

    Point taken. I know two people who don't have email nor even a computer so I will probably send them a Christmas card afterall.

    Luckily, I don't think I know anyone who treats their email address as disposable but chances are, I'm talking too soon. Let me see how many addresses bounce when I try! Don't think I know anyone who needs notification that I'm sending them email before they will open it - thank goodness.

    You raise a very interesting issue with regards to what the protocol should be. At this point, my thought is that if they have an email address, then they get an email card. Period. If they don't have email, then maybe - maybe - I'll send a card. That keeps it nice and black and white. Realistically, I'd add exceptions for close family. My mom wouldn't be happy just getting an email!

    I think it's a very slippery slope to go down the "if someone is good enough a friend, they get a card" route. If they're close friends, you probably keep in regular contact anyway so do they really need a card with a signature? I appreciate it can be a tricky call.

    The big drawback with email greetings is that you don't get to collect and display a seasonal decoration of cards that can be easily shared and viewed.

    That said, I must say most Christmas cards are dull. I took pleasure picking out humourous (and off-colour) cards and sending them to people I knew would enjoy the joke. That chuckle is a little gift. It's expensive hand-picking cards that way so I eventually went the charity card route like Adrienne. Bland imagery but at least the profits helped someone.

    As Sean suggests above, I suppose the answer is to send humourous images along with an email greeting. Good excuse to go get myself a scanner!