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August 18, 2022

Out of My Mind

Christmas cards are not obsolete in high-tech world
Another holiday season is rolling around, and once again, it’s
time to send out Christmas cards. Now I realize it’s not absolutely
necessary to mail Christmas cards to my friends, but I like to.
I’ve done it for many years and I enjoy the tradition of making a
list, checking it twice, and sending out my annual holiday
letter.
But as much as I want to keep on doing it, it is becoming a more
scattered effort as life goes forward.
Christmas cards are not obsolete in high-tech world

Another holiday season is rolling around, and once again, it’s time to send out Christmas cards. Now I realize it’s not absolutely necessary to mail Christmas cards to my friends, but I like to. I’ve done it for many years and I enjoy the tradition of making a list, checking it twice, and sending out my annual holiday letter.

But as much as I want to keep on doing it, it is becoming a more scattered effort as life goes forward.

First of all, there are many people I’d like to send cards to, but I don’t know their addresses. Well, at least their snail-mail addresses. That’s because many of these folks and I communicate almost exclusively via e-mail.

They are not any less dear to me for this, but the reality is that they are my e-mail friends. It would be a pretty substantial job for me to collect postal addresses from them, and frankly, I usually forget to do it until it’s too late.

So I have a group of postal address friends and relatives, to whom I’ve sent actual physical cards to for many years, and I have e-mail friends, to whom I sometimes send ephemeral e-mail greetings – when I remember to do it.

Now, this year, I have a whole new group of friends on Facebook. This is not so bad because I can send out a mass Christmas greeting to everyone and it doesn’t have to be complicated, more along the lines of “Happy holidays, y’all!”

The question, I suppose, is whether or not it’s still worth it to send out the physical holiday cards.

And the answer is: Probably not, but I’ll probably still do it anyway.

You see, it’s kind of at the point where it’s so easy to exchange greetings in cyberspace that the real cards aren’t needed. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who don’t send out Christmas cards and don’t see the need for it anymore.

After all, why spend the money, the time and effort required to write out all the messages? Why compose a holiday letter and get it printed up? Why get photos made of the kids to send out to the relatives, when you can just as easily send them an e-mail with a JPEG attachment?

And let’s face it, cards ain’t cheap. You have to buy the cards, the stamps, perhaps printing costs for photos and letters, and if you have a professional portrait of the family done, then there’s that as well.

Who’s got time and cash for this anymore? Well, not me, really, but I’ll still do it … at least for a while.

I have a whole raft of cousins and aunts and uncles in Canada, who I don’t see often but do like to exchange cards with. And some of them are elderly and unlikely to learn to use a computer anytime soon. That means e-mail is definitely out where they’re concerned.

The elderly aunts and uncles especially like to get cards, so I can’t just drop them altogether.

And maybe no one else sees it like this, but the effort I put forth on the physical cards is kind of like a little mini-gift. There’s very little effort or cost involved in sending an e-mail, but it feels like cheating.

To the people I hold dear in my life, I’ll probably go on sending real cards. Just because I want them to know they mean something to me.

Maybe that seems a little foolish to the Facebook generation, but so be it. Guess I’m entering geezerhood.

Kathryn McKenzie
A staff member edited this provided article.

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