Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Speaking of Christmas Cards

I participate on a bulletin board with others who are living in countries not their own, many short term like us. The topic of Christmas cards has been covered from every angle. How many do you send? How many do you receive? And why the disproportion? Who do you send to? Do you send photos or letters? Do you make or buy?

And the biggie, why do we bother at all?

Some send out a handful. Some folks send out dozens of cards each year. Some send over a hundred. But it wasn't uncommon for them to expect 10 in return. No, I'm not kidding. I've been paring my list each year. If folks don't bother to send us a card over 3 years, off they go. It all seems to go agains the spirit doesn't it? Only sending in order to receive? But consider if that is that really the case. I send cards to let people know what is going on in our lives, and to update them on where we are and our contact information (well, we do move often). We're reaching out and saying "Hey, you're important to us, let us know what's going on with you." If over three years we don't hear from them, it seems obvious that we have been dropped from their radar and our cards are either disappearing to a black hole or considered a nuisance upon arrival. I figure that by crossing them off, we're saving both sides from unnecessary annoyance. It hurt to cut off some people I'd considered friends, but times have changed all of us and there was a definite sense of liberation when I acknowledged and accepted it.
I'm pleased to say that this year we sent about 25 cards (some in with gifts), and have received 13 so far. Greater than 50% return!
So what say you? Are cards outdated in this time of e-communication? Is it killing too many trees? Is a 37c stamp too much (we have an FPO after all, so it's like mailing in the U.S.) or is it the idea that if you send to one person you feel you have to send to everyone? Does it take too much time?
Or have we just fallen off your radar?

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