The Christmas card you didn’t get from me

I haven’t sent Christmas cards in years. I feel bad about it. But only a little.

Receiving cards is always a pleasure, but sending them had become a chore. It had become One More Thing To Do at a very busy time of year. On top of working full time and raising my sons, I also always hosted our big family Christmas celebration. Family drove in from points distant and stayed with us, usually for several days. That meant cleaning and decorating, buying gifts, planning meals, and cooking for everyone. It was a lot of work for this single dad, but it was worth it for the joy my family experienced while we were together.

My 2010 holiday season was especially crazy for reasons I no longer remember. At two weeks before Christmas I had not yet found time to buy cards, let alone write in them and send them. And I didn’t know where time was going to come from to make it happen. I chuckle at it now, but I was feeling serious stress about it. I didn’t want to let friends and family down!

If I could make the job take less time, I reasoned, maybe I could still squeeze it in. I decided to try making Christmas postcard with a preprinted message. All I’d have to do is address, stamp, and send them. So I put my camera on a tripod, gathered my sons in front of the tree, made the shot, brought it into my computer, added the caption, and sent the card off to be printed. It took all of 30 minutes. It wasn’t the greatest family photo ever, but it would work well enough. Here it is:


And then the printer screwed them up. Every last one of them came back with the caption cut off. By then it was just days before Christmas and I had no more time to mess with it. Defeated, I got my money back — and sent no cards that year.

The world didn’t end. Christmas was still merry!

And I’ve not mailed a single Christmas card since. If you send me one, I’ll send you a nice note in the new year. Because life has calmed down by then, and I have time.


12 responses to “The Christmas card you didn’t get from me”

  1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

    I’m right there with you. It would seem that life should have slowed down by now, but no.

    I always felt bad sending cards that did not have a personal note written inside, which of course doubled or tripled the time involved.

    We actually sent cards 2 or 3 years ago, for the first time in years. It seems to have been an isolated incident.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I always wanted to write a personal note inside too. But I gave that up probably about the time I moved to Indy, in the mid 90s. It’s just too much to do.

  2. Jason Shafer Avatar
    Jason Shafer

    You aren’t alone in not sending them. Yesterday my wife joked that of the Christmas cards we’ve received, only two were from people and not some business entity. It’s been six or seven years since we sent any.

    Besides, the postal service is overloaded this time of year; you’re being considerate by not making their load heavier.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Since I stopped sending them, the number I’ve received has dwindled heavily. Seems like this is very much a reciprocal affair!

  3. DougD Avatar

    We have a deal at our house. My wife handles the Christmas cards, and if she’s too busy I write a year end update/apology letter and we email it.
    I think this is another year with no cards.. Either way I don’t stress about it.

    In the home stretch! Happy Christmas!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Seems equitable! Merry Christmas to you!

  4. SilverFox Avatar

    I was never a big card sender and always gave out standard shop cards to just a few people. But the last few years I have moved into what I regard as the American tradition of taking a Christmas photo and that being the card we send as a couple. It has actually been fun working out the shot and making it work keeping it fun too.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ll bet! Several of Margaret’s brothers and sisters do some version of this and it’s fun to get those cards.

  5. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I have a friend who, once a year, pulls out his old manual typewriter and sends a Christmas letter to each person on his list. One page, double-spaced with Xs over mistakes. I don’t know how many people are on his list but I admire his annual effort.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Wow! That sounds awesome. I used to have a late 50s Royal Aristocrat typewriter – that would be wonderful to use for such a thing.

  6. Heide Avatar

    Pity the printer screwed up on that caption, Jim — because the photo is adorable! But I suppose Christmas cards are becoming less important as we share more of our lives (and adorable photos) on social media these days. Makes for a less cluttered mantel too. :) Well, although my wishes are expressed in pixels rather than paper, they’re still sincere: merry Christmas to you and yours!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Heide! I thought the photo looked kind of posed and rushed, but then, that’s often how we lived our lives back then. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!

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