Community: Christmas Cards

As I explained last week, I really need to reduce some of my responsibilities. One of my issues is the amount of things that I do out of guilt.

Last week, I opened my first Christmas card and I was like, “shit. I have to do cards, too.” If someone walks by you in the street and says hi, you’ll respond and say hi, too, right? Not sending cards suddenly felt like I was snubbing some very dear friends and family, so I rushed out and created a card. Tomorrow night, I’ll have to send them out. I really need to stop doing things because of guilt.

Hours of work, because of a pang of guilt. I need intervention.

Did you send out Christmas cards this year?

21 thoughts on “Community: Christmas Cards

  1. I have not sent Christmas Cards out since 1998, with the exception of 2005. No regrets. I admire people who do them, but it’s one of the things I just eliminated from my life for sanity.

    I have a very proper Upper Canadian friend whose parents had a ledger of cards sent and received that went back at least a decade and after 2 missed years they would remove you from the to-send list.


    1. “I have a very proper Upper Canadian friend whose parents had a ledger of cards sent and received that went back at least a decade and after 2 missed years they would remove you from the to-send list.”

      Mad respect!

      I confess that in some cases, it’s kind of a relief to get cut from some people’s Christmas card list. Not because they’re bad people, but because time marches on.

      Around Christmas time (generally AFTER Christmas), I touch bases with old friends and some relatives that I don’t see regularly or have frequent contact with, but want to keep in touch with. I send emails and texts. Actual Christmas cards are reserved for people that I don’t have other methods of contacting.

      I find this an enjoyable activity for those dead days between Christmas and New Years when there’s not a lot going on. Before Christmas, it’s just STRESSFUL.

      We also do a yearly family photobook that functions as a sort of large Christmas card. We make one copy for ourselves, one for my brother, one for my sister, one for my parents, one for my aunt and grandma, one for my in-laws, and one for my SIL. I also sent digital copies of it to two friends this year. There have been years when that went out well after Christmas…


  2. I have never sent Christmas cards (though there would never have been Christmas cards, but potentially holiday cards). I *love* getting Christmas cards/holiday cards, though. I occasionally tell myself I’ll send out New Year’s cards, or Valentine’s day cards, but I never actually do. I absolutely love “family newsletters”. I do also dream of a version where I am able to use my contacts/computer/automated card sending to send them off. Maybe this will be the year.

    But I never feel the guilt to do them.

    How do we stage an intervention? It’s one of my goals in life to pass on my no-guilt, say no skills to others (mind you, I sometimes need to be prodded into doing more, but I do try not to be a taker and to help where I can within my skill set).

    Your nerd newsletter was awesome, BTW.


      1. I actually love all your disability related stuff as my wife has worked with the school and mental health systems for so long. I’m not really following the Royals except for watching The Crown and other historical drama series.

        With a Jewish wife I have a lazy relationship to Christmas cards – I send a few each year to older relatives. My sister sends a mind boggling 100-ish cards each year.


      2. I’m also here for the education content (including disability services). You link to topics and papers that I don’t find on my own and I read them and learn. I think you make interesting connections and the personal level of dealing with the system from a point of view I can generally understand helps me understand more about the system.

        It’s really easy not to see things that don’t affect me personally (the couple of steps that makes a space impossible to navigate in a wheel chair, for example) and hearing your stories helps me see them.


  3. We sent Xmas cards every year for years. As my husband was in graphic design school, he often designed them. One year we used a letterpress and made our own in the basement of the university he was attending (so, must have been early 90s). When the kids were younger, we would have them sign their names and put stickers on them. But then social media came, and my husband ran out of oomph, and I was always stressed about work in December. So we haven’t sent any for the last 5 years or so.

    I do not read this blog for royal gossip, lol.


      1. Thanks. I put a lot of work into my serious stuff, so I’m glad that you guys like that. But my stats don’t lie. More people are interested in Prince Harry than school vouchers.


      2. Stats at substack? or twitter? And I sometimes read your newsletter without clicking through from my email. Does that show up as a stat?

        I’m interested in how those stats work.


  4. For the love of god do not feel like you have to send Christmas cards. Seriously – do not. It’s not like not saying hi back. In fact, you know that feeling when you send a friend a long catchup email and you feel great about it and then they immediately reply, so it’s your turn AGAIN? If you respond right away to someone’s Christmas card, they owe you, so wait a while. Since you already designed them, print them out and set them aside, and do one every once in a while in the January or February doldrums.

    How’s that for an intervention?


  5. Yes. Haven’t sent Christmas cards for about 5 years. Yep feel guilty about it every year.
    Partly I don’t send them because I’m just overwhelmed at this time of year. And partly because it’s so expensive here in NZ ($1.70 in postage for each card).


  6. We send them and I don’t have to cogitate over whether to do it or not because my husband is a photographer ( professionally) and he makes the cards so he can share his art work with friends and family. There is no way he would stop doing this.


    1. I am also a photographer (though not professionally, but a very serious amateur). I occasionally think I should send cards but never succeed. I took pictures for nearly 13! years at the K-8 my kids went to and still maintain the website with the photos. The pictures still show up on the kids’ instagram feeds and parents tell me that they sometimes go through nostalgia cycles with the pictures. That makes me guilt free about holiday cards.

      11D is a holiday card and much more. A couple of your “holiday” posts, celebrating J & I & family appear as links below this post.

      On 11D’s voucher post, links to your 13+ years ago discussion of vouchers, and how they don’t create programs that are needed, by themselves is a reminder & short term history.


  7. I send Christmas /Hanukkah / holiday cards every year, and have since my first year of college, which I naively associated with adulthood. I try to send cards that may lend some seasonal cheer to someone’s desk/mantle/wherever (MoMA and the Met have great ones). I write a note in the card, and, since I don’t really use social media, I rely on the holiday letter to offer some of our family/kid news to farflung folks and to let people know I am thinking of them. My yield is much lower; I probably get 1 for every 8 I send out. I am reconciled to it, but I do miss being able to outline my door archways with cards, as I could in the late 80s. It was like a hug to see all of those greetings from loved ones. E-cards aren’t the same in that regard! I do keep all the cards I receive, so maybe I will re-hang them! 🙂


  8. I usually just send cards to people who send me cards. Because even when I sent them to more people, I wasn’t very good at finishing them before Christmas. This year, I got my first card from the Bidens. I can’t figure out what I did to trigger that card that I didn’t do last year, but it’s a very nice card.


    1. Everyone in Pennsylvania gets a card after the midterms?

      Kiddo voted in PA this year, after my encouragement and a lot of pushback from spouse (who doesn’t want taxes to be complicated). So, I’m way more invested in PA.


      1. My wife didn’t get one.

        Anyway, PA income tax is a great thing if you have income and don’t care about distribution effects. 3% for everyone.


  9. So, in honor of your tweet about subbing in your district, I filled out the volunteer application for my local high school homework help room. I had it on my list, but was being lazy about the online video training. But, submitted now, because of your tweet.

    I don’t know if they’ll need me, but I think inspiring others to do try to do something for community should be a guilt intervention. I think I’ve decided that’s how I’m going to try to intervene with my doaholic friends, to try to do a little more of what I think *I* should do but am to inertial to get started. And, if for some of them, that means the time to set up their Dickens village without burning out, well, great!


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