I have told My Beloved Wife that I think it’s time we gave up sending snail mail Christmas cards. It feels like some tipping point got reached a while back, and sending a card triggers this awkward response of the recipient feeling like they have to go get a Hallmark card to send back even though they gave up the practice long ago. Beloved Wife responds that e-cards are not the same and have never quite got off the ground, partly because people (including me) tend to be suspicious of clicking through to a card or opening attachments. So what do you do?
Side note on Christmas sensibilities … Beloved Wife said, we’re going with Merry Christmas this year, we’re not doing happy holidays or season’s greetings; we’re a family, not a corporation. To which one of my Jewish friends said (I paraphrase):
Hooray! I’m tired, he said, of people feeling pressured to send a generic holiday card, out of some deep sensitivity to my supposed feelings. My actual feeling, he said, is (even though I know no one actually means it this way) the implication is that I am so narrow minded that I can’t take an expression of “Merry Christmas” for exactly what it is, and not see it as coded greetings among the members of the Christianist tribe. I know people who say Happy Holidays are just going with the unstated herd response to never risk offending anyone’s identity, but frankly, the implication of Happy Holidays from any real person who I know is that I’m this Alien Jewish Otherling who is so deeply different that I can’t even translate something as transparent as “Merry Christmas” into something that means something lovely and good for me, a common ground of social good-feeling. He added: the game of politeness means, though, that no one can quite talk about it, because that would imply that it is … a difference important enough between us that we have to talk about it, and it’s not.