Thursday, December 22, 2011

How Facebook has killed the Christmas letter

I have very clear memories of my mother spending hours and hours organizing herself to prepare  Christmas cards for mailing to family and friends. She would camp out at the dinner room or kitchen table for a couple of days and work from her list. 

Each card was selected from her stash with the particular addressee in mind. She would take the time to hand write a note telling the receiver of all the news from the Harty household in the past year. She would hand address each envelope and her one shortcut was the pre-printed return address labels she received from St. Jude's. 

Having this as my role model creates lots of pressure. I can still hear her critical comments when she would receive a Christmas card in return with no personal note. Even worse were the ones where the people would have their names pre-printed on the inside of the card. Lazy people, can't even sign their names. It might even have been an insult for her.

Fast forward to the late 1980's/early 1990's, when it started being trendy to include a Christmas letter with your card. (I think this was acceptable to mom, but at a much lower standard) 
I remember when my friends started sending Christmas letters where they would either outline the many successes of their offspring or the fabulous locations they had traveled that year. Or worse, both. Since I could talk about neither (unless I listed the ice rinks that I had visited in the past year), I would just use my creative writing skills and make them humorous, but still include various tidbits of what I had done in the past year. I did Top Ten lists, I wrote poems. Anything to distract from my semi-pitiful life.

A few years ago, I started doing a Christmas blog (Ye Olde Yule Blog) and would send everyone an email with a link to the blog post. I would claim "green," but honestly it was just so much easier and cheaper. (You don't claim "lazy.")

Now, because of Facebook, I don't even do the Yule Blog. I'm diligent in posting updates, so people can know my every move and thought (and isn't that something everyone wants to know??). And with so many people in my demographic group who are now on Facebook, I think the list of non-Facebook people to whom I would send a card is fairly small.

Regardless of that fact, right now, a bunch of boxes of Christmas cards are stacked on my kitchen island for the non-Facebook list and I'm lacking motivation. I worry if I work on these cards, my resentment might sneak through and I might write something like, "why the heck are you not on Facebook?" or give them a warning that unless they join Facebook, they risk being cut off from receiving highly-valued information about me. I mean, that's got to be a motivating factor, right? 

1 comment:

sam and Mary said...

I love your blogs and can not wait to see you! Oh...certainly your BFF is excluded from any of the above comments correct??? Love ya! Oh one more thing, you usually were part of the letter with the travels until that pesty thing called career got in our way!!!

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