We once had one of those green, plastic wreaths with a bunch of slots that held all the Christmas cards we received. There usually weren’t enough slots for all the cards that filled our mailbox. That actually was helpful because some of the uglier cards that didn’t make the cut for wreath display were handy coasters and bookmarks.
No use for the plastic card display wreath anymore. Hasn’t been for years. This year we received two cards and a calendar from an insurance guy. One card was a family photo, the other was from someone we hadn’t seen since the 1970’s. We were happy to hear she’s still alive and able to lick a stamp. We sent a few cards, but not enough to warrant investing in an entire box. In fact, we kind of cherry picked extras from past years in hopes the few folks still on our list won’t remember they had previously received the same card in some past decade.
Since we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah in our house, it would seem the odds would be greater in favor of receiving a card for one holiday or the other, but that’s not the case. I’ve read one of the reasons people and businesses don’t send many cards anymore is because we’re greeting each other more often through social media–Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Face Time and others. Well..you can’t hang a Facebook message over your fireplace, unless you print it out, which is frankly, less homey than receiving a card in the snail mail with handwritten signatures or personalized greetings. I want to know the person wishing me a merry or a happy actually touched the card, wrote on it, thought of me and my family and trudged down to the post office to send off a stack of Hallmarks to those near and dear to them.
I think I know the real reason people don’t send cards much anymore. Every time I go to the store to look for a card there’s usually someone with a butt roughly the size of Saginaw standing in the exact spot in front of the rack holding the greetings for the occasion I’m seeking. They not only park their avoirdupois in such as way as to block me from examining the cards, they slowly open and read every freakin’ one of them before languidly replacing them in the rack. At first I patiently waiting for the person to move, but Mt. Protoplasm refused to budge. That lesson quickly learned, I became more aggressive. I started with the “American Greetings thrust.” This is where I stood sideways and thrust my arm in the small space between their body and the card that had some promise. Sometimes the human barge would take the hint, but often I received a personal greeting in the form of a scowl or grunt. If not successful, I would escalate to the “Hallmark Heave.” This is where I silently say “screw it” and “excuuuuuse me” aloud, and lunge, full body, in front of the two-legged blockade and start grabbing cards. This will generally result in a major push back accompanied by verbal abuse. I always thank the person for the sincere greeting but hold my ground. One of my more subtle approaches is reading over the shoulder of my nemesis and mumble “that’s pretty stupid.” They become frustrated and move on…after telling me to screw off.
Yes, I still buy cards for occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, but the truth is, they’ve become pretty expensive and good ones are hard to find. Who wants to send a birthday card with the witty greeting, “You’re not getting older, you’re just beechwood aged.”
I think it may just be time to take a permanent Hallmark holiday.