It's Christmas Eve, and I'm just now wrapping up my annual Christmas newsletter. By the way, I'm way ahead of schedule. My cards usually don't hit the outgoing mailbox until January 1.
What? you say. Aren't you on Facebook? Don't you Twitter? Haven't you got a half dozen email accounts? Aren't three blogs enough communication for you? Are you sh***** me? You have to send out Christmas newsletters too?
Well, yes. You see, even though I am curmudgeonly and the original Grinch (because of my ire over Christmas now being a mainly commercial venture, the original reason for the season buried under an avalanche of economic trends, avarice and greed), I feel guilty. One reason: I didn't send out Christmas cards at all last year. And two: I continue to receive cards from friends, relatives, and business associates, although these days the volume has dropped off precipitously.
How quaint and old-fashioned of me to keep up the tradition. How completely retro and anti-tech. One can definitely gauge my age by my compulsion to carry out the task.
But alas, the Christmas card, newsletter, and/or greeting is going the way of the dinosaur. The main reason for the demise of the Christmas card in particular and letter-writing in general is social networking. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare – people know what you're doing as you're doing it, and they know exactly where you are in real time. People don't write letters anymore; heck, they barely speak to each other face to face. The art of the thoughtful letter is withering on the vine. It's easier to text using emoticons and shortened, misspelled words.
I'm a greeting card aficionado who appreciates a pretty, funny, or whimsical card, and I buy lots of them. But let's face it: greeting cards, though artfully produced and visually pleasing, are expensive. Even though Hallmark touts a 99-cent greeting card, it's still cheaper to send an e-card. Even though I spend a lot of money in their stores, I'm amazed Hallmark is still in business.