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Christmas Cards: Christmas Greetings Belong on Paper: This Year's Top 3

This is the picture we attached to our Christmas card this year.

Have you noticed a drop in the number of Christmas cards you’ve received this year? Because I really haven’t. At least, not a significant one. I just counted them and my family is at 59 with a few mail days left to add to that tally. But, if what I’ve been reading is accurate, then we’re the exception. Because it seems that many are noticing a sharp drop-off from last year.

Madeline Holler wrote about it yesterday. Although she loves Christmas cards, she fears that their days are numbered. “If this isn’t the year Christmas cards died,” she writes, “it’s definitely the year they went into a life-threatening coma.” Madeline’s received fewer than half of the number she normally gets. And she’s not alone. She notes that Slate’s Kate Julian has also noticed a dip in Christmas cards. Julian took it to an informal poll and found out that many of her co-workers have experienced that same dip.

There are many possible explanations—the economy, e-cards and working moms who don’t have the time to deal with an extra holiday chore to name but a few. (Am I the only working dad who plays an equal role in getting holiday cards out?) Madeline has added one more to the list. Facebook. She correctly points out that thanks to it, we’re up to the second on virtually everyone we could ever want to know about. Given that, why bother with Christmas cards?

Though I definitely think there’s something to what Madeline’s saying, I hope she’s wrong. Maybe it’s a southern thing, but sending out Christmas cards is right up there with getting a tree for us. We sent ours last week. Real cards, that is, because we feel that an e-card just doesn’t do the trick. In a society that’s digitized virtually everything, the real McCoy means more than an email. After all, I can’t remember a single time I’ve read an e-mail card more than once. But I go through our stack of Christmas cards every day. And as I did so once again in counting them this morning, I picked out my three favorite ones.

3. I simply love the card that my nephew, David, and his partner, Frank, sent. It has a picture of their son, Ian, and although I see plenty of photos of the toddler on Facebook, the Christmas card picture is a classic. Above the picture is but one simple word: Joy. Simply looking at it brings me just that.

2. One of my lifelong friends has adopted four children. Two boys and two girls. And thanks to a little snafu, the girls arrived at the exact same time—one of them is from Haiti. All four of them are smiling beautifully on the card his family sent. That card represents so much…not only family and Christmas, but also humanity. I simply love it.

1. But my favorite card this year is a silly one. Though I’ve not had a boss in nearly 10 years, I must have liked the last one I had very much. Because we still keep in touch. And this card is from him. Here’s what the front of it looks like:

On the inside he wrote a message which made reference to the unexpected fifth child my wife is now carrying. He also made reference to a potential remedy for the onset of a sixth such child—tongue firmly planted in cheek, no doubt:

“I was considering sending John a package of frozen peas for Christmas, but I figured they wouldn’t keep…maybe we should just request that Santa tone down on the ‘magic’ for the Osborne house. Merry Christmas.”

Isn’t that classic?

So how about you? Did you send out Christmas cards this year? Do you have any favorites to report? Have you noticed a dip in the number you’ve received?

John Cave Osborne’s personal blog.
John Cave Osborne’s book website.

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