I’ve never been very religious, but I do have a fondness of some of the traditions of Christmas. I think I began sending cards to friends and family in 1972, the first Christmas I was not living at home with my parents. Above is the cover of the hand-made card I sent that year, or actually a recreation of it from a black and white photocopy. It was made from two layers of colored paper, a light color cut to show the white interior, and a dark color cut more extensively. Pretty crude, but lots of work. For years the recipients asked if I was going to do more like that, but I was never that ambitious (or had the time) to do hand-made cards again. Thereafter they were store-bought cards.
I’ve send cards out every year since, with a list that fluctuates but is usually around 30 recipients, and since we’ve been married (1989) Ellen and I have both sent cards, adding another 20 or so for her friends and family. Some years I had time for lengthy personal notes in each one, but I think that was only in the early years. Generally I write a short note, a sentence or two. Ellen likes lengthy notes, and most years is still writing cards the week of Christmas. A few times we tried the “printed group letter insert” method of telling everyone what we were up to in the past year, but most years there isn’t a lot to write about. Our lives are fairly similar from year to year, except perhaps for a vacation trip and a few events like weddings or funerals attended, which do not make for gripping reading.
Today I asked Ellen, “Do you want to send Christmas cards this year?” and she answered, “Not really.” So I think we’re giving up the tradition. We may be late to that trend, the cards we receive have dwindled. Ellen’s sister Ann hasn’t sent any out for at least 10 years. Older relations are dwindling, too. We get some cards from our generation, but most everyone we get them from has our phone number and emails, and that goes for people we work with as well. My blog covers most of the more interesting things we do with pictures and commentary (at least interesting to us). So I guess my plan going forward is, if I receive a card from someone with a personal note, I’ll reply in kind, but explaining we’re not sending cards anymore. Cards with just signatures or printed names will probably not be replied to, except perhaps for an email thanks. I’m not a fan of e-cards, so I don’t plan to go that route.
It’s not easy giving up a 40-year tradition, but as you get older, you yearn to simplify your life, and this is one small way to do it. If you’re reading this, and you usually get a card from us, be sure we wish you the happiest of holidays!