26 December 2009

Are Christmas Cards Obsolete?

As I peeled the Christmas cards from our fridge and placed them one by one in the garbage can, it occurred to me: Are Christmas cards out-dated? This is bound to offend someone, but I am sticking with it for a minute.

The first Christmas card was sent in the 1840’s in England. They were used to promote propaganda from the Royal Family. Businesses caught on years later and began sending cards to their customers to try to retain a contact. In the War Years, cards were used to promote patriotic feelings among those at home. Dwight D Eisenhower sent the first Christmas cards from the White House, 2000 of them. In 2005, this escalated to 1.4 million. Well, I’ve never received a card from the White House.... Anyway. This brief history was found on multiple websites.

My question for today: what's the point? With the internet and communication abilities now available, a Christmas Card seems a pointless waste of money to me, like buying a pack of baseball cards for the gum? No one does that anymore. (The gum tastes gross and stale anyway.) Christmas cards are not huge expenditures each year, but hanging them on the fridge or door for a few weeks before trashing them seems like an insult to those that spent so much time making them, addressing them, and sending them to everyone on the list. Then when you receive that card from a family or person that you forgot to include, and you hurry and send another card out and hope it gets there before Christmas so you look thoughtful. All this for what? Granted its nice to get a card from a long lost friend, or that person that for whatever reason your communication has decreased to a yearly Christmas card only. This still begs the question, “Why?” Does it ever really reconnect us to each other?

Am I alone in this? I also wonder, do people really care if they don’t get a Christmas card from a particular person? Do you feel slighted? Do you have a checklist of people that you must receive one from? I really want to know if I am alone in these thoughts. Don’t hate me and scratch me off your christmas card list or anything. I’m just saying.

Does anyone actually save these Christmas cards? I admit I have trimmed the family pictures off of a few over the years. Are there actual feelings of guilt when you consider throwing these in the trash? And how long does a christmas card need to be saved? Is there a guideline?

I don’t want to be all negative, I do enjoy the collage created by the mass of cards as we find spots for them on the fridge. It adds to the feelings and thoughts of the season. And perhaps that is the point after all?

I realize this makes me sound like the reincarnated Scrooge. I am not trying to be a bah humbug here by any means. Like I said, I’m just sayin’. Perhaps we send these seasons greeting because it represents tradition. A sense of Christmas duty. A chance for us to show off our good looking kids with a picture. Our Christmas cards the past two years have promoted Disneyland. We should be shareholders.

So are Christmas Cards out-dated? I submit to you, readers, they are.