What ever happened to …. ?


… old-fashioned holiday cards, printed on nice stock paper, with breathtaking scenes embedded with glitter?
And inside those old-fashioned cards were heartfelt messages — get this — hand-written in pen. Can you believe it? No. It’s true.
Things like:
“I hope everyone in your household is doing well. Bill had a good year at the firm and the girls are busy, active teenagers. See you at the Fourth of July barbecue.”
Oh! And sometimes folks would have a sense of humor and send one of those Shoebox Greetings cards with a Far Side holiday scene on the front and a witty note inside. But always there was the signature in ink. 

The thing about these now rare gems — we received three in total this year — is that is showed that someone took the time to sit down with a stack of cards on one side and an address book on the other and thought for a few moments about the addressee.
Then came the dreaded Holiday Newsletter. Can you tell I’m not a fan? OK. I’ll clarify: Not a fan of most newsletters. Some are written just right. As our English teachers used to advise us on essays and skirts: Both need to be long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting.
But when newsletters tread into this territory, I’m heading for the shredder at a fast clip:
“I suppose it goes without saying that our little Jimmy earned an all-A report card again this year.”
“No one was surprised when our super-talented Jennifer was selected to represent her school on the European tour this past summer.”

I wonder: Is there a connection between perfect families and holiday newsletters? Do the dysfunctional just keep quiet?
Then, even more insulting than the photocopied newsletters sent out en masse, are the mass-produced family picture cards with the pre-printed messages and the computer printout envelope labels.
This, to me, has reduced holiday card sending to the level of junk mail.
I so look forward to receiving news and information about family and friends far away. I suppose the Internet is to blame for a lot of this. What with Facebook and other social networking systems, people can find out how Little Jimmy has grown every time a friend posts an updated picture. We don’t have to wait until Christmas.
But when every last shred of personalization is removed from a holiday greeting, it’s hard to feel, well, important or special. Do some people just have a computer do the whole thing for them? Is this a task conducted just after Halloween?
I’m out of the loop on this as you can guess. I still hand write my cards and spit-seal the envelopes.
I’m just old-fashioned that way.

3 thoughts on “What ever happened to …. ?

  1. This made me think of the part in David Sedaris’ book Holidays on Ice entitled, “Season’s Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!” read it, if you haven’t.!

  2. You just gave me a great idea for a non-holiday post. Well actually it would be holiday related, but I’d post a snapshot of what a newsletter from the dysfunctional family really looks like. *lol*

    You and I need to swap cards next year! I am among the antiquities of Christmas past who still write personal notes in cards and then smear the ink as I sign it. My only concession to all this new-fangled stuff is that I usually get the kind of cards I can slide a photo into — so I guess it’s a photo card? I dunno.

    And I 2nd the Sedaris read. I have the book and it’s an awesome read.

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