I’m about to admit something that is personally disappointing and more than a little bit shocking to have to come to terms with, but is an honest confession.
I don’t care for chocotinis as much as I used to?
I haven’t read an US Weekly in over a month?
Both true. Both disappointing and shocking, but no.
I’m over Christmas cards, you guys.
And I don’t mean just sending them. At the risk of getting removed from the lists that I’m on, I have to admit that I’m also kind of over *whispers* receiving them (but if I am on your list, it honestly has nothing to do with you … unless you send me an ornament one with a looped string that you expect me to actually hang on my tree or one with more than three pages that folds out in a complicated manner and contains over 20 photos of your family with captions … front and back). No, like most of the problems that have arisen with social interaction over the past few years, I blame Facebook.
That excitement and anticipation I used to feel when I’d open my mailbox in December to find a stack of flat envelopes that I knew contained the smiling faces of friends and their kids I hadn’t seen in 12 months? Photos of them enjoying beautiful vacations in exotic locales, stunning professional portraits or simply fun collages of their year’s best moments?
Gone like Tom Cruise’s respectability. And it’s all thanks to Facebook.
Seriously, I’ve seen their vacations. I’ve seen their fancy portraits. I’ve seen the birthdays they’ve celebrated and the 5K races they’ve run. I’ve seen the first days and the last days and many, many of the days in between. I’ve seen their new baby and their new dog and their new house. I’ve seen their kids.
I’ve seen a lot of their kids.
And don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved seeing all those things! I have! But I’ll be honest, seeing Facebook photos has taken away
all much of my previous enthusiasm for Christmas cards.
I mean, I know exactly what those faces in that flat envelope look like.
Hell, I just saw them getting their Christmas tree in my newsfeed yesterday.
It’s become a bit redundant.
The mystery—the romance!—of Christmas cards is gone.
It’s kind of like being married for 22 years.
Sure, there are those who think they’re being clever and secretive by keeping their Christmas card picture off of Facebook (and because I’m one of them, I’ll add intelligent and charming to that list), but while the picture may not be one I’ve seen before, the kids haven’t changed all that much since oh, I don’t know, last week.
Honestly, the biggest form of anticipation for me anymore when I open the cards is seeing which design from Shutterfly everyone went with … and keeping my fingers crossed it wasn’t the one I chose. Because believe me, I know I’m just as guilty. I post photos on Facebook all the damn time, so I can’t imagine anyone is going to be real jazzed to get my Christmas card either.
“Oh, look. It’s the Newman girls … again.”
This year I came thisclose to sending a real card.
You remember those, don’t you?
A card with an artistic illustration, a lovely sentiment, and no photo at all.
But then I realized I’d have to sign our names over 100 times, which led to the certainty that I’d need wine—a lot of wine—to get through that task which led to the additional certainty that I’d get slappy and start signing pretend names just to screw with people and while I’d think that was freaking hilarious they probably wouldn’t and I’d just be handing them further evidence to support the fact that I’ve lost my mind. To wine.
Then I contemplated not sending a card—photo or not—at all. After all, now that Thing 1 is in college it’s pretty hard to stage an “impromptu” Christmas card photo. The only decent ones I have are either from summer where the girls are in bikini tops (totally non-Christmasy tops, btw—because I mean, if they had Santas on them it would have been a no brainer) or from a couple of months ago when Thing 2 still had braces, which she made me swear I wouldn’t send because she looks totally different now.
It used to be fun. I used to actually look forward to it, both the sending and receiving, and I don’t know if the reason I don’t anymore is because now that my kids are older I’ve been doing it too damn long, Facebook took away my joyful anticipation, or because my family is not nearly as receptive to my demands as they used to be.
This past weekend when Thing 1 was home I planned to take the Christmas card photo (because bikinis and braces) and all hell broke loose. First, Thing 2 had strep throat which totally put a wrench in my plans (THANKS A LOT, THING 2) and then when she was finally feeling better (i.e., like becoming vertical and showering) everyone was grinchy about it … and by everyone I mean mostly husband. Obviously.
After a few failed attempts at looking happy (and one with three cats who were even more pissed off about it than anyone else), we finally said to hell with it, changed our clothes and got punchy.
In my girls’ defense they did clean up the next day and stand in the snow—freezing and without coats so you could see their festively colored sweaters (duh)—and posed for me while I yelled instructions at them like “look happy!” and “look warm!” and “look different than any photo I’ve posted on Facebook in the past year!”
I’m just waiting for Christmas cards to become obsolete.
Seriously, I can’t imagine it’s too far off.
It’s a sad thought, I guess, but really, would it be such a horrible thing? I know there are many of you who disagree with me and love the whole process of the cards (like this
crazy awesome lady I wrote about a few years ago), but I’m betting there’s more of you who have grown weary of it all and who’d be just as happy sharing your holiday greetings via social media, where you share photos of your family and send greetings to friends on a regular basis anyway.
And all kidding aside, that’s the real point here, I think. I mean, I can blame Facebook for ruining Christmas cards, but maybe I should be thanking Facebook for instilling a kind of year-round Christmas instead, because now I get to see the faces of my friends and their families regularly instead of just once a year. And sure, maybe those pictures aren’t staged and styled and everyone isn’t looking their best, and maybe they aren’t accompanied by a greeting for me to have a wonderful holiday and a prosperous year, but seeing those real, random pictures is actually far more meaningful to me than a 5×7 piece of cardstock telling me to “be merry.”
Regardless of it all, I just received an email telling me my cards have shipped.
Fingers crossed my Facebook friends will not recognize the girl without braces.
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