Christmas cards. Who sends them? Who likes them? Until a few years ago, I didn’t really bother.
Growing up, I remember my mum used to string them up on the wall above or near the Christmas tree. There was generally a trail of them coming in from early December from relatives and friends far and near. Living a long way from family, I know it was a nice way to keep in touch with people we didn’t see much. For some people, I think it might have been about the only contact we had all year – just a way a to say hi, thinking of you. Women of my mother’s generation sent newsletters covering events over the past twelve months. I always liked those. You’d know who’d had a baby, who got married and maybe there was a snapshot or two thrown in.
I think those days are mostly gone. Or are they?
A couple of years ago I decided I liked the idea of making my own cards using a photo I’ve taken during the year. The photos aren’t Christmas themed – but I try and choose something bright and floral, something that captures the summer, since it’s not winter here and we have no reindeer or snowy landscapes.
One year I used this paper daisy.
The next year, I used a photo of our calistemon, or bottle brush flower. I was really pleased with this one. The red flower with the little gold tips seemed really festive to me.
I’ve got my cards made up for this year but thus far have failed to feel inspired to write them. Even though I’m only planning a handful, it seems like a serious committment of time I don’t have much of at the moment.
And I find myself wondering if Christmas cards are still meaningful to more than a handful of people? I asked around the office, on facebook, on twitter and got a few replies back indicating that for most people, they’re not a priority. Those who said they do send them said they like to try and write cards that don’t sound hollow, but that that’s a challenge. I know that feeling. I’ve never been one to write simply Dear X, Merry Christmas, From Y. That seems like wasted effort to me. I like to write something personal, individual.
I think the art of a good card is not something we should lose. So I will write them, and the ones going overseas will be late but as they say, better late than never. Or is it?
Are christmas cards dying out? I know Americans don’t even call them that anymore, right? Americans say ‘holiday cards’ to encompass a season in which not everyone celebrates a Christian festival. That’s not how I approach it – to me it’s still Christmas, even if the Christian element of it isn’t particularly true for me – but if someone sent me a card reflecting their own faith or other celebration, that would be fine too.
Here’s my card for this year.
It’s an apricot blossom photo from a couple of months ago. It’d be a shame not to send them now I’ve gone to the trouble of making them.
Do you have thoughts on Christmas cards? I’d really like to know.