• Marilyn Gardner Woods

Is it me?

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

I’m having serious feelings of unpopularity which harken back to my junior high school days.

It’s one week before Christmas and I have received two—count them—two piddly little Christmas cards.


Have I done something to offend people? Friends? My insurance guy? The bank? Where are all the embossed greetings of the season? Cherubs? Candy canes? Santa and Rudolph?


The two cards that John, my postman, has delivered are personalized pictures of perfect families. One celebrating the daughter’s wedding; the entire family wears sunglasses and the greeting says “Stay cool…” The other, an apple-pie collection of beautiful blonds posing near the water, all dressed in blue.


That’s it, the extent of my collection this season. I have to think it’s something I’ve done or not done.


I don’t dislike the photo greeting card. No signature required, no heartfelt message. I prefer it to the long and indulgent Christmas letters which populated my mailbox for years. What I miss is the Hallmark or American greeting card we all used to send. Is the tradition a thing of the past?

Sir Henry Cole, who founded the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, is credited with beginning the English-speaking ritual of sending holiday cards. He commissioned an artist to create one-thousand engraved greeting cards in 1943. It featured a prosperous-looking family toasting the holidays, flanked on both sides by images of kindly souls engaging in acts of charity. The caption read, “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”




The greeting cards companies boast that Americans still purchase approximately 1.6 billion holiday cards a year. This old-fashioned tradition appeals to many, apparently. Is that appeal compelling enough to survive the convenience of the digital era? Is the decline of handwriting a contributing factor? Is the price of a postage stamp a reason for the void of heartfelt Christmas cards in my mailbox this holiday season?




Or is it something simpler? I haven’t sent a holiday card to anyone in six or seven years. I think that will change Christmas 2020!


Dear Marilyn,

I did not send out any cards out this year. (Many friends are known to me by their email  only and not by address and zip code.) I used to love to create the cards and get them too.

I am now sending my 96 year old mother in Denmark real postcards She loves it! I am choosing interesting cards as she can no longer hear me over the phone nor can she follow the 3 step commands for emails  and photos.

I too will rethink sending out cards. God Jul, Bess


We have not sent out cards this year and seem increasingly likely not to every year.  It might be because of the increasing burden of too much 

communication via email and Facebook, etc.  I also think hat half the population is depressed by today's politics and just don't feel joyful enough 

to bother.  At  least the thinkers. Bob


Times, they are a-changing. That's for sure. 

Another timely bit of insight, my friend...

Merry Christmas! (By way of email, to prove your point.)

Love, Chris 


I hear this same comment all the time - no Christmas cards!! However, we do receive plenty of photo journals online, and we send them too, as you know because you received one. I think you are correct on all counts: it is an added expense to buy and send cards by snail mail; receiving individual greetings from friends is lovely, but a pain to write (especially with fingers that are developing arthritis); it takes a lot of time to write all those individual messages; and what we really want to share is photos of grandchildren!! 

Having said all that, I still miss collecting all the pretty cards and pinning them to the felt banners we used to have, or lining them all up on the mantelpiece in the living room. Merry Christmas. Jill


Your card is in the mail!!😊❤️🦊J9


I haven't sent Christmas cards in several years.  I worry that everyone on my old list is thinking that they are the only ones not getting a card from me!

Merry Christmas, Marilyn.

Kay

You know, I was thinking the same thing... my mailbox is filled with non-profits wanting money!

Let's promise to send each other cards next year....Donna


I’ve been meaning to email you ever since I got your musings about ironing!  Tom worked for IBM for 30 years so every week for many years I ironed 5 white shirts since that was an important part of the IBM “uniform”.  But I used spray starch or had to sprinkle everything to get all the wrinkles out.  It wasn’t until many years later that I found an iron that puts out so much steam you hardly ever have to wet things down.  It is more expensive than the other irons but it is well worth it and I’ve had it for years.  It is a Rowenta.  I would highly recommend it if you decide to bless your son-in-law by ironing his shirts again!!


The picture is of two flat irons that were my grandmothers.  I never knew until I read your story why there were two!  That makes sense!!  I use mine for doorstops now!!  Our grandmothers didn’t have to lifts weights to have strong arms - they just ironed!!


I’ll tell you why I think there are fewer and later Christmas cards this year!  Thanksgiving is usually earlier so we don’t think about Christmas cards until after that, and this year the Saturday after Thanksgving was the last day in November!  I think it caught people off guard and they were late getting their cards out.  Usually we start getting cards December 1st and this year it was a couple of weeks into December before we got anything and it was just one card!   They have been dribbling in ever since but not the number we usually get.  Also our friends are getting older (although WE aren’t!) and a lot of them aren’t sending cards anymore or they are sending them by email!!  I don’t think it’s just you so don’t fret!!

Keep sending your stories - I obviously enjoy them and relate to them or I wouldn’t keep commenting on them!! xox Shirley


     Ah, Christmas cards. You are right on all counts; I loved to collect them and to write quite a bunch of them. But I did have my rules: cards were for people living out of town or people I hadn't connected in quite a while (in-town friends and family I would wish them greetings personally and/or gave them a gift. Alas, I haven't written a Christmas card in ages; I do prefer to write Christmas emails because then I can put in one of my photos (I take my photos quite seriously - by the way, I always look forward to the photos that you strategically include  in your 'musings', you have an eye).

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