Allow me a bit of snarkiness, since it is the holiday season.
If you're sending me a pre-printed holiday card, without so much as a smidge of ink from your own handwriting – please, don't bother.
Ok, I don't really mean it… but here's the thing.
I am one of the people who really enjoys holiday cards. I have since I was in college – when I would come home for winter break, plop down at my mom's kitchen table and leaf through the stacks of cards and letters from family and friends across the world.
I studied the yearly progression of photos – kids getting bigger, parents getting older… pored over each litany of accomplishments to see who was winning the competition … and laughed with my siblings over the hand-scrawled letters from a dear auntie who tended to share a bit too much about the indelicacies of aging.
Today, holiday cards are on the decline. Market research shows a continued drop in sales since 2007. The biggest slackers, no surprise, are the 20-somethings. Sure, that age group has been perpetually delinquent in this category (including thank you notes). But now with social media to keep them instantly updated, it doesn't appear they'll grow into the habit, either.
The thought of taking the time to make a list, buy cards, write cards, stamp and send cards – only to wait days for a response can seem rather tedious and old-fashioned.
And that's too bad.
Maybe it comes from moving around so much as a military family, but the annual updates made me feel connected, grounded. And that's what I hope for each time those holiday envelopes now come to my own house. Life for me and my friends has become terribly frenetic. Working moms have little time to chat, update our status, or tweet. Maybe that's why I feel ever so slightly let down when I tear open an envelope from a friend I haven't spoken to in a while – and there's only a photo. I already know what you guys look like. Tell me how you ARE.
It's not like I've done any better from year to year. I thought I was doing so well! I ordered my photo cards on Thanksgiving weekend. They arrived a week later – and have sat ever since, mocking me in the box by my bedside. What's the hold up? The note. I haven't had time to compose a proper note. What I want to say is I miss you. I miss the days when we could yack for hours. I'm sorry I don't call, or even e-mail. But you're in my thoughts – even if you don't get my card until after the New Year.