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 noteâ€”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 cardsâ€”a seemingly personal idea, where one human being wishes another good fortune in the coming yearâ€”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 sentencesâ€”WISHING YOU LOVE AND HAPPINESS IN 2010â€”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 …
FROM THE PEARLMAN FAMILY TO YOUR FAMILY.
MAY YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON BE FILLED WITH HAPPINESS AND HEETH.