Christmas cards, anyone?

Do you send out Christmas cards? To whom? How many? Why?

No one sends cards any more, right? You tweet, you text, you message on Facebook. Who wants the expense of buying cards and standing in long lines to buy the postage? It’s all so 20th Century.

Me, that’s who. I am Old School. I still do it. It gives me satisfaction. Some few of you received a card from me in the the mail. For the rest of you, here it is — Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa!

But you know, someone is buying Christmas cards.

Some 1.6 billion units are sold each year, with women purchasing 80% of them. (Women have also invented Galentine’s Day, just before Valentine’s Day, which you can learn about here.) 

The number of cards I send has declined over the years. Some people die, some drop out of sight, some don’t send a greeting card back.

What’s that?

Should I send a greeting to someone who doesn’t return the greeting? Here is the nub of the issue.

Do you send a card to make someone else feel better, or to make yourself feel better?

If it’s to make yourself feel better, getting a response should not count, but, sorry, for me it does.

I have some friends who remain on the list even if they don’t respond. My friend M, for instance, comes from a huge family and she doesn’t send cards out because it would take too long and cost too much. Good friend C does not send cards out. Period. Too much work?  I am not sure but keep him on the list because… he is a friend, even if a nonresponsive friend. 

Some nieces and nephews get cards even though only one niece responds. (Naturally, she’s in my will.) Their generation doesn’t have the card habit.

My list is also greatly reduced from when I was the gossip columnist at the Daily News, and I got hundreds of cards at the peak of my notoriety. I responded to each one, because that’s how I was raised. As a retiree, only a handful of the former “business” card senders remain, and I am happy to have them.

For me, it’s a mixed bag. I send some cards to make me happy, others to make them happy. 

My tradition is to send the cards out immediately after Thanksgiving. I like to be first, and usually am, and it also gives the recipients plenty of time to get a card to mail me.

Assuming they want to.

And don’t get kicked off next year’s list. 

22 thoughts on “Christmas cards, anyone?”

    Yo Pallie,
    You look familiar. Just like the guy in the card that I got shortly after Thanksgiving. My father was like that. He took pride in using a “fountain pen” to write out the card and the envelope. Usually, dad put a little note in each card. I remember on his list was a few Seabees. That list kept getting shorter as time went on.
    My sister and her eldest daughter picked up the habit from dad. First out by Thanksgiving. Me, not as punctual. My list goes way back, starting with family. Being Italian, there are a lot of cards going out. I have no idea how large the family has gotten, now that we’re into the fifth Italian – American generation. One of these days, we’ll have a cousin’s party, as we used to do. Also on the list are friends and business associates. Each card gets a short note. Most of the cards include the word “love”, because we do. Why, you asked. Because, like you, it’s a generational thing. I send them for any number of reasons. I want to let the folks know that we are still alive and that we still care about them. Sure, we would like a reply, but anymore, we don’t expect them. The family that has miles between us always include an up to date accounting of them and their off springs and their off springs. Sometimes with pictures. Sometimes, there’s a info on the back of the picture. name, age, etc. I know I wrote a note in your card. I just don’t remember what I said. I know that I did not include politics.
    And your right about this 21st century. At this fast paced life, no one wants to sit down and wright out a long list of Christmas Cards. Never mind the expense of the cards and postage. Time. No body got no time !
    As you said:
    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah, Health and Happiness !

  2. Stu, Have a lovely holiday and a great new year. We are up in the Poconos in a private home for the week. Nice to sit by a fire and sip wine far away from Philly and the sounds of sirens and ATVs running up and down 6th headed toward South. Our kids are in the first and second wave of being vaccinated, so we are taking a big, long breath of relief because the grandkids have been quarantining — so they should not be contagious. Finally an end to this mess is in sight!! More than one mess. Best, Wanda

  3. Well, I still send them out. Many of the people I send to is basically the only time we exchange correspondence. I think it’s nice to remember people we worked with or grew up with.

  4. For my family members and people I really like, I do hand-drawn cards that are humorous and light in nature. I also send religious cards for my Christian friends, and ‘Happy Holiday’ or Chanukah cards for my Jewish friends (some of whom get the hand-drawn jobbies instead). Christmas cards, for me, are a tie to the past ways of doing things taught to me by my long-gone parents. If I do not receive a card, I continue to send… for a couple more years. I also continue to write letters in longhand, and have a large album of responses (real response letters, not machine written) from many of those to whom I wrote who were kind enough to respond (among them Frank Rizzo, John Cardinal Krol, Marjorie Mezvinsky, Mr. Rogers, and Dan Rostenkowski). One very special card comes each Christmas from a couple my wife and I met in Charleston 10 years ago. I spotted a small purse on the sidewalk, and inside was about $1000 in cash, a bunch of credit cards, and a hotel key. We took the purse to the hotel, and within minutes the hotel reached the woman who had lost the purse and we returned it to her. She had arrived only that day for her child’s wedding the next day. As I said, we exchange Christmas cards every year, even though our paths crossed only that one time and for those few moments.

    1. there goes Vincenzo with the “names” !
      I’ll have you know that Chief Halftown sent me a birthday card ! Wish I saved it.

      1. My son Christopher has a personal letter from Tom Landry. Remember him? Chris wrote to him when he was eight years old because he loved the Cowboys (which I why I have cut him out of my will). Landry wrote a beautiful, personal note which I had framed as a birthday gift to him and it now hangs in his den. I’ve found that most well-known people will almost always respond if they are sent a personal handwritten note.

        1. Vince,
          just for s****s and giggles, pen a letter to some of our politicians. I’ve always gotten a form letter, edited by some associate.
          My wife on the other hand, when she was active with the Tea Party years ago. She didn’t get a hand written letter from obama or anyone else that she wrote. And she used to tell them what was on her mind – then sign it !
          In response, the IRS was nice enough to contact her FIVE years in a row ! So that proves that personal attention is not loss nor wasted.

  5. I still send cards as well but I’m old-school and proud of it. I like to let others know I’m thinking of them.

  6. This is a lovely piece. In my opinion, Holiday Greeting cards are a nice tradition.

    I send them out… this year, many more since I will not be seeing people at parties and gatherings to wish a personal “Happy Holidays”. Always the generic, “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”. Some are to business associates. Usually send about 20 out each year, (this year about 35) and receive about 4, but keep doing it, because I enjoy it. Makes me feel good, and also self-expression. I look for cards that are “special” in some way. Even had a stamp made “Season’s Greetings” in Old English type to stamp inside blank cards.

    So, from one old boomer to another, Happy Holidays, and Best Wishes for a Happy, HEALTHY, New Year.

        1. I may be mistaken, but I think he came up with the funniest motto for Philadelphia tourism: “PHILADELPHIA, THE CITY THAT —HEY! THAT’S MY CAR!”

  7. For the first time in decades, I haven’t sent cards or done much decorating apart from the wreath on
    the front door.
    My husband is working only part time, and at a lower hourly rate than he’s used to.
    My hearing loss makes paid employment practically impossible.
    Still, we are hopeful. If I can find them, I will be sending New Years cards.
    Happy holidays and love and friendship to all!

  8. Christmas cards were aplenty when I was a kid. Mom would write over a hundred and recieve as many. We’d string them across the living room ceiling corner to corner and scotch tape them on the staircase posts. These days I don’t write any, my wife does and that has become less and less.

    My favorite cards I keep and bring out each year to reminisce. Radio host Russ Miller’s are the best. Russ was WWDB’s Saturday morning’s 8am to noon host for 25 years until they abruptly changed their talk format to music in 2003. It was called Real Estate And Your Estate. I had listened since about ’85.  We met in Florida in ’93 through a mutual friend and my wife and I were invited on his show. We remained friends until his passing in 2016. He also moved there in ’93. 

    His cards are handmade and personalized with pictures he’d cut from magazines,( he told me back then that as long as there’s no profit, it was legal) A new poem or special writing was composed with each card. On the back he had his trademark called RUSSMARK with a  stetson western style hat above it.  Many of his unique card covers were photos of the 1800 Cowboys and Indians and the modern Southwest. Like sittin’ around a campfire shooting the breeze or someone playing a guitar. Reading these cards each year remind me of what a talented man he was; he taught real estate and was a very successful broker before WWDB. He also coached lawyers in estate panning, played piano, was a  writer, mechanic, painter, sculptor, storyteller and pilot when he was younger.  What’s amazing is he had no degrees! 

    The sad thing is his dotcom site of his many short stories is  inaccessible?? I’m grateful for the 10 or so I do have plus these great Christmas and birthday greeting cards.

    Happy Holidays to everyone!


  9. What’s not to love about Christmas Cards? Going to the store and picking out the right one, getting and sending them. Buying the stamps( thanks to the forever stamp I have a variety) A a very special thanks to The Postmaster General Denny ( even not is in his name) I’m receiving gifts and card long after the holiday.
    Please accept a belated Holiday greeting.

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