Pick a card, a Christmas card

I sometimes think I am the last person in the world who sends out Christmas cards (also Hanukkah cards).

But since I get cards from friends and relatives, I know that’s not true.

Christmas is the largest “card time” of the year, with about 2 billion being sent. 

That’s a lot of cards, and a lot of postage.

An estimated 61% of greeting cards are sent during the holiday season, with no other holiday being close. Valentine’s Day is in second place with 25%, followed by Mother’s Day, 4%, Easter, 3%, and Father’s Day, 2.5%, followed by “other.”

So while I am not the last person to be sending cards, I am in a small minority — only 15% of Christmas cards are bought by men. Joining me in that minority — Dwight D. Eisenhower, who in 1953 became the first president to send White House Christmas cards.

I enjoy being in the company of American heroes.

In 1962, the post office issued its first Christmas postage stamp. It now has many Christian stamps, plus stamps for Jewish and Islamic holidays, as it should. 

With the sound of one hand clapping, I ask why you send greetings cards? Since I can’t hear you yet, I will examine why I send Christmas cards.

For one thing, it’s not just a card. It contains my annual letter, which brings everyone up to date as to what transpired in the past year.

For me, that changes things. It’s almost like distributing a column.

My “holiday card list” is smaller than in years past. Not being PC with “holiday,” you know me better than that. During this season I might send Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa cards. 

My list is smaller for several reasons.

First, the Grim Reaper has trimmed my list, by selecting friends to “go home.”

Second, as I am no longer employed and no longer a Grade B celebrity, I get fewer cards from businesses, PR people and assorted strangers. The way I was raised, when you get a card, you respond with a card.

Third, I have trimmed the names of some who don’t observe my second stipulation above.

Now I think about this.

Who are the cards for, really?

Me, or them? 

Does sending them a card recognize their humanity — or mine?

Does it recognize their importance to me? If so, why would I cut them just because they don’t reply?

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t cut them all.

I have a small selection of nieces and nephews who just don’t send cards. It’s a generational thing. They don’t send me birthday cards either. (One does. She will be remembered in my will.)

So I keep them on the list.

In case you are wondering — no, wishes on Facebook and Twitter don’t count, according to the head dean at the Stuniversity.

For those of you who will not be getting a card, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

14 thoughts on “Pick a card, a Christmas card”

  1. Happy Holidays, Stu! Stay healthy, so you can continue your brilliant column for those of us who like to consider both sides of the discussion. Thank you!

  2. I remember my mother kept a ledger of cards sent and received. You might get a card after missing once, but never after missing twice.

  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours Stu, and everyone posting.

    Christmas cards bring back vivid memories.  We’d string them across the living room ceiling and up the stairway bannister.  A bit gaudy, I suppose, but this time of year was for the kids.  My parents celebrated the season from Christmas Eve until January 6th.  Then we’d count the cards as we took them down. Always over a hundred. Mom started writing after Thanksgiving and mail them around December 15th. And always  answer a late or new one.  I figure I could write a book on Christmas pasts, but no one would buy it. 
    Happy Hanukkah too.

  4. Stu–
    I, too, do the Christmas Cards in my family. I always insist that the card contain the word Christmas on the card. Not Happy Holidays or the like even though I have a daughter who would never think of sending a “Christmas” card.
    Question for you. Do you mail them? I always do. I don’t wait for a gathering to hand them out. No e-cards either unless you’re housebound with age or an illness.
    I also send Hanukkah cards to our Jewish friends, but no Kwanzaa cards because it’s a manufactured holiday (see Ann Coulter about that), although black friends get my Christmas cards.
    So, you’re not alone.

    A surprise blog on cards. I was waiting for your remembrance of Pearl Harbor.
    Like you, I send cards because I want to, not because I have to. Dad, then sister and now a niece send their cards out right after Thanksgiving. Kinda – Sorta makes sense. The receiver of said card enjoys it that much longer. I procrastinate, therefore right now, I should be writing out the cards.
    Like the fellow bloggers here today, there are traditions ( hanging cards on stairs ), Recognizing this season as CHRISTMAS, not a holiday and sorry to say, the list does indeed get shorter every year. In the ’70s, way over a hundred cards went out, with most of them going to family.
    To all out there in this crazy universe. MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR !

  6. A Christmas (or holiday) card is a way of saying ‘I care for you and am thinking of you.’ Stu, your poignant reference to friends and family who have gone away was touching. A nice column, and I got a kick out of your reference to a niece who will be remembered in your will. And best wishes for a happy New Year. May 2022 be everything 2021 wasn’t.

    1. There was supposed to be a LOL after that, which didn’t post. I suppose the humbug got me!

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