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Holiday Cards

Photo by Gerard Brown
A friend put a post up on FB this week: she will not be sending out holiday cards for the first time this year. She hopes to spend the postage money on a donation instead and to save paper. “And wishing you and yours a happy holiday.”

That is more than enough for me. We see each other on FB and in person all the time. I don’t need a card to reinforce our friendship.

But then I received a couple of emails from friends in the UK where—for more than a decade—I was the happy beneficiary of traditional Christmas celebrations. This included cards and dinners and Boxing Day leftovers. One friend in London hand-delivered Christmas cards to all her neighbors, a quaint tradition indeed. The email I received from her this year explained that a card was on its way. In fact, I received three emails from friends overseas to say that cards were on their way. Of course, we email all the time, these friends and I, see each other on Facebook, Facetime, Viber call and viber message, so I didn’t need a heads-up about delayed holiday cards.

I think we are in the midst of a cultural shift. Not only is electronic media providing constant connection, we are also celebrating our holidays in different ways. For starters, it’s not only Christmas that we are celebrating. Secular as the holiday has become in the US, there are others that are equally entertaining and important. So years ago, my cards became more generic: Happy Holidays, Peace on Earth (wishful thinking), etc. In the UK, where there is no separation of church and state, the holiday still feels more “Christian,” though even there diversity is having an impact, albeit at a snail’s pace during the holiday season.

As you can see, dear reader, I’ve been ruminating about all this and have to say that the changes suit me.That said, if you wish to wish me a happy holiday, please do so, don’t be afraid of my Scrooge-like wrath and don’t grumble about my free-thinking irreverence. I’m a writer. I think this way. More importantly, I reply to all cards that arrive in envelopes with stamps. I send an email letter or I pick up our internet phone to have a long person-to-person chat.
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