With Thanksgiving almost upon us it’s just about time to think of the next thing, sending out the holiday greeting cards. Holiday greeting cards have always been special for me as I felt they were a great way to re-connect with friends and family, especially those living outside of New Jersey. But over the years I’ve noticed that most of my family and friends don’t feel the same way. The photo card, mostly of someone’s kid, sometimes of the whole family, seems to be the most popular choice. Then there are the general “season’s greetings” cards or my favorite, the funny, smart-aleck ones. I don’t care about the type of card, but it saddens me that most of these cards don’t come with any personal message, just a pre-printed message and the family name and sometimes a signature.
A step above this has been the more popular holiday form letter that is sent to everyone. At least in this case you might find out about what’s been going on in someone’s life if you haven’t been able to see them too often during the year, but it’s not as personal because it’s addressed to you and the dozens of other people on their mailing list.
Now I know how hard it is to write a personal note to each person. I’ve been doing it every year in shifts to keep my hand from permanently seizing. I did it the year I moved into a new house with my then-fiance, I hand-wrote every card when I was pregnant and when my daughter was a toddler. I’m a busy person ,too, but I did it because I didn’t want to just sign my name to a card without sharing a part of my thoughts and experiences that year with people I cared about. I also felt that it was one way to slow down during the holidays and really take a little time to send a meaningful note to each person. Over the years I have to admit it’s been frustrating to not get something similar in return from a growing number of people. It seems particularly disheartening when I send the card first and simply receive a generic card in response with just a signature. Did they get my card yet? Were they really so busy they couldn’t write more than more than just their names?
Then I started to wonder whether people actually enjoyed getting these holiday anecdotes from me or if they really preferred to just get a simple card with a cute photo as everyone else seems to favor.
I really wanted to continue my personal tradition this year but frankly, the experience has been tainted a little about my frustrations and expectations. I feel the holidays are about giving, yes, but also enjoying yourself, so I’ve decided not to send handwritten cards this season and will be mailing a photo card with a typed holiday letter. However, I can’t give up entirely on the personal touch and I’m still ambivalent about the switch so even though it will be typed, my letter will still be tailored to each person. I also hope my preschooler will help me decorate the envelopes for close family and friends.
I think this will enable me to enjoy sending Season’s Greetings once again and be okay with the fact that most of the cards I received will be simply “greetings.”
Originally Published By Sandra K. Lee November 23, 2009 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
Sandra K. Lee