The Tradition of Sending Christmas Cards

I’ve spent considerable time this morning making our Christmas cards. I’m not physically making them but digitally constructing them on Shutterfly. No, this is not an advertisement for Shutterfly. I use their site because I am used to it. Each year, in March, I make family calendars through their software. And, I occasionally order a gift or wall art from them as well. In general, I’m pleased with their product but they are expensive.

I noticed the cost again this morning. And, I had to wonder if it was worth it to have a card made at all. Each year, for the past decade, the number of cards our family receives has dwindled. It’s to the point that I send out more than we receive. And, to give that statement some substance, I only order 25 cards or less each year. Sometimes, they don’t even all get used. But, I found that 20 cards were not enough. I always came up short, so ordering 25 gives me a cushion.

So, why do I still send Christmas Cards? In part, I think it is because we live far away from all of our family and some of our closest friends. It is nice to receive their holiday cards, so I want to return the gesture, in hopes it is also appreciated. I also think I do it out of tradition. As I wrote yesterday, we do not have many family traditions, but maybe we actually have more than I thought! I do know that we have fewer traditions than we did when we lived in Buffalo, New York – more than 22 years ago. We’d host Christmas Eve for both sides of the family, and go to church – which happened to be at the end of our street in Eggertsville. I have fond memories of walking to church for the midnight service at St. Pauls. By creating and sending Christmas cards I feel like I am keeping one small tradition alive.

As we head into the holiday season, I am aware of what traditions we keep and those that we’ve let go due to practicality or impossibility. For now, sending Christmas cards seems both a practical and a possible thing to do to let friends and family know we’re thinking of them from far away.

Do you still send cards at holiday time? Why or why not? I’d love to read your comments!

Photo credit: Pixabay, Free for commercial use license.

4 thoughts

  1. I really can’t imagine Not sending Christmas cards. It’s been a tradition for as long as I can remember. My father is an artist and for years he did a drawing for his Christmas cards. I’ve got a collection of 12 of them. When he got to 10, I wrote poems to each of his images and created a small chapbook, Illuminate. It is a treasure to me. Over the years, I have shortened the message to a simple back of the photo card paragraph. No one seems to have time to read a long braggy letter, but they do seem to enjoy the photo. I hope it’s not going to turn into a tradition of past generations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great creative partnership you had with your father, Margaret! I cannot imagine not sending the cards either, at least at this point. I’m trying to get away from the long letters tucked in the cards. My boys all have their own adult lives now…it seems weird to write about them in my holiday letter. I hope it’s not a lost tradition either! Happy Thanksgiving, Margaret!


  2. We’ve never really sent Christmas cards. I’ve thought about it a few times, but since we are lucky enough to get to see our families every year around the holidays I wouldn’t have many people to send them to. Also, we don’t have children so there isn’t much to update people about outside of our careers (not that those aren’t exciting, but it doesn’t take up much card space!) and our cats. But I will say, I do get a couple from people every year and it always feels so nice, like a personal connection, and sometimes with people I haven’t seen in a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think it is somewhat inherited from what you are brought up with…and, as I said in my post, since we’ve lived away from family for most of the lives of our children, we did use them to update people. I’m trying to get away from that., now. I still do like getting them, so I continue to send them to those who I think would enjoy getting them in return.

      Liked by 1 person

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