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Friday, December 18, 2009

One More Pain in the Ass: Holiday Cards in the Age of Facebook


It used to be bad enough—designing a holiday card to send to friends you haven’t laid eyes on for decades.  First, spend days selecting the perfect picture from the past year, the one that captures the essence of your beautiful family.  Will it be the one of all four of you on the slopes in Aspen?  Or do your wife’s nostrils look like canyons in that one?  Maybe the shot Stella took on the Fourth of July with all of you on the beach?  But where’s the damned dog?  Argue about it endlessly.  Once you’ve chosen the picture, carefully pick the two or three key facts to share from the prior twelve months.  Billy learned to read!  Sally got her first part-time job!  That pimple on my forehead is turning into a third eye!  I can’t stop lactating!  Once you’ve got your design, pay a copy center two hundred bucks, lick a hundred envelopes, collect seven searing paper cuts, and you’re done.  

And that was back when making a holiday card was easy.   

In the age of social networking, of status updates and blog posts, of tweets and twitters, the holiday card game has changed.  These people you hadn’t heard from in decades now share with you their every trip to the supermarket, their kids’ every report card, their every episode of lactose intolerance.  What do you not know about these people that you could possibly learn about them from a holiday card?  And what do they not know about you?  Let’s face it, this year’s “we’re friends on Facebook” is last year’s “we trade Christmas cards.”  

So, what should you do now?  One possibility, if you happened to think of this early enough, would have been to purposefully withhold your best picture of the year and most juicy news tidbits from Facebook to save for the holiday card.  Imagine the surprise of your 312 friends (you are going to send each Facebook friend a card, aren’t you?) when they realize, after following your every move for the past 365 days, that your wife actually gave birth to twins back in July!  If you have the willpower to do this, then mazel tov to you—Facebook has actually made your holiday cards more of a thrill than they used to be.  

The rest of you, though—those who lack the willpower to purposely withhold your spouse’s death from your closest friends to ensure a big surprise come holiday season—will have to come up with something else.  If you’re not going to add some value to the picture and the news blurbs, then what’s the point?  You might as well save your money and your finger blood and forget about it.  Just make “Consider my year’s worth of status updates your holiday card this year” your status update for a week around Christmas, and call it a day.  Nobody will mind, and maybe you’ll also save a tree while you’re at it, which is all the rage these days anyway.  (perhaps mention that in your next status update.)  

But say that you don’t want to give up on holiday cards quite yet.  You’re a real sticker for tradition, you are.  Then what?  If you’re artistic, maybe draw a funny picture of a snowman or something.  If not, perhaps consider sharing a piece of information that you would feel queasy about sharing on Facebook or Twitter.  For example, if you own a home, mention how much you paid for it, as well as its current value.  Sure, your friends could figure this out for themselves with Zillow, but who has time with all the cookie baking and tree decorating and twittering about cookie baking and tree decorating that has to be done during the holiday season?  Plus, everyone loves to hear about people losing money in the real estate market.  Why should your friends be any different?  

Alternatively, on the back of your card, draw one of those maze puzzles that children love to play—you know, the ones where you have to help the pirate find his way through all the swirly lines and wrong turns and dead ends to get to his treasure?  Imagine how much fun you’ll be providing for the more dim friends on your holiday card list!  Plus, if you’re feeling particularly Grinchy, you could make a really complicated maze with lots of twists and turns but all dead ends and no way to get to the treasure.  If you’re lucky, maybe some of your friends will get so pissed off at you about the trick maze that they’ll cross you off their holiday card list for next year.  Do it enough years in a row, and before long you won’t have to send any holiday cards to anyone.   

With the internet, who needs them anyway?

(previously posted on Holy Hullabaloos)

Posted by Jay Wexler on December 18, 2009 at 10:09 AM in Jay Wexler | Permalink


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a good text. very good share

Posted by: css | Feb 2, 2010 3:51:46 AM

Give this unique card sending opportunity a try for no charge! You can send a card to someone that you care about with your own photos if you want and hit send, and we will print, stamp and stuff it for you. Go to http;//www.sendperfectcards.com



Posted by: Karen | Dec 19, 2009 1:33:18 AM

Have you checked out Send Out cards, yet? They may be just the answer to your obvious stress over sending holiday cards. I love the ease of use and a postcard or card can be customized with your own pictures, artwork and words.

Feel free to check it out and grab a card on me. www.SendOutcards.com/heidi. Go ahead! It's free

And happy holidays,

Heidi Richards Mooney, Publisher
WE Magazine for Women

Posted by: Heidi Richards Mooney | Dec 19, 2009 12:44:13 AM

Great post. But what's the legal hook?

Posted by: Bruce Boyden | Dec 18, 2009 12:18:02 PM

Jay, great read at this time of year! Enjoyed it and laughed out loud.

Posted by: anon | Dec 18, 2009 11:47:32 AM

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