Holiday cards


When I was a kid, growing up on the mean streets of New York, my family sent out very few holiday cards. It just wasn’t seen as a “Jewish” thing to do. Relatively speaking, Chanukah isn’t supposed to rival Christmas. It’s a minor holiday, and the day to recognize the coming of Christ certainly has some juice the so-called Festival of Lights lacks.

As I got older, however, I started feeling the card thing. I’d buy a 20 pack of holiday cards at CVS and send them to friends and family members. I’d always make sure to write a quick note—HAVE ENJOYED YOUR FRIENDSHIP THIS PAST YEAR. or YOUR FEET DON’T SMELL NEARLY AS BAD AS THEY USED TO. Those sorts of things.

Now, as a suburban dad with two kids, however, I feel like the holiday card thing has gotten waaaaaaay out of hand. To begin with, it’s some sort of perverse suburban law that if one had kids, he/she is required to order a 50 pack of cards featuring a cute photograph of the tykes from Kodak Gallery or Shutterfly or whatever. Second, upon receiving the cards, the recipients are supposed to grade them, sort of like parting gifts on a game show. I wonder why they chose that picture? Did they realize Rex has a booger? So on and so on. Two years ago, my wife was mortified when we accidentally wished people “Good Heeth” on our card.

What drives me most crazy is that holiday cards—a seemingly personal idea, where one human being wishes another good fortune in the coming year—has become utterly impersonal. This year, 80 percent of the cards we’ve received have our names printed by computer on labels. I’d say 99 percent of them contain no written messages; no acknowledgments that our relationship constitutes anything more than that of a mail order catalog company. It’s always the same old sentences—WISHING YOU LOVE AND HAPPINESS IN 2010—without the heart to back it. Were, say, Charles Manson the accidental recipient of one of these cards, he’d surely believe the sentiment were directed toward him. There would be no reason to think otherwise.

So, what that being said …






3 thoughts on “Holiday cards”

  1. Jeff – I disagree with you, I think the photo cards are fine. We (wife and I) do them as an easy way to include a photo which we would do regardless.

    We personalize at least 90% of the cards with a note anyway. I am not a believer of distributing cards to mere acquaintances so most are friends and family I care about, some possibly that I have been lazy with corresponding with recently.

    How about form letters included Jeff? Now that is a bigger pet peeve of mine…

  2. I’m literally in the middle of placing stamps on cards that have printed labels on the inside and outside. Not to play the blame game, but this is true: my wife asked me what I thought about having pre-printed labels as our “signature.” I think I asked, “Where’s the love?” but I cannot remember her response. The funny thing is, I think she asked me after I read this blog entry. And I believe this si the first year we’ve ever used pre-printed labels on the inside. Wild, weird stuff.

  3. Just a follow-up to my last comment. Here’s what it says on the card: “Wishing you a very happy Holiday Season!” Underneath that is our oh-so-personal pre-printed computer label valediction: “Happy holidays! Nik, Davina, Emily & Sara.”

    Well, at least the ink on the label is green…

    It has about much warmth as a card I’d get from my insurance company. Sigh.

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