Take some extra time… by Kristin Simonetti
“Call me Grinch, call me Scrooge. Call me Lord Voldemort of the Yuletide. None could be worse than sending me a holiday card with glossy photographs of your lovely, smiling family.”
I nearly gagged after reading those sentences, which open this column published a few days ago in The Washington Post. What a Christmas-hating, jealous humbug of a human being!
Rather than toss the paper aside, I kept reading, expecting to grow angrier with every paragraph. The opposite happened: Columnist Eric Hoover wasn’t raining on our holiday parade. Rather than panning the tradition of sending of greeting cards, he argued that today’s iteration of the practice has transformed into a bastardized exercise in cold self-promotion. Most cards he and his wife receive don’t even have the senders’ signatures on them, he wrote.
Hoover admits that the original reasons for exchanging holiday cards are moot now. We don’t need an annual update on the family when we can see each other’s kids, promotions, and vacations daily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But the personal aspect of sending a holiday card – the handwritten greeting – is something social media can’t replicate.
“We don’t say anything profound,” Hoover says, adding he and his wife spend several nights writing out their cards each year. “Perhaps the key to this ritual isn’t what one writes so much as deciding to spend a moment writing anything at all.”
By the end of the column, I realized I completely agreed with him – inflammatory as his leading lines may have been. As I sat down with my own boxes of cards, I took a little extra time to make sure the names on my list knew I really, truly, honestly wished them the happiest of holidays and a grand start to 2014. Perhaps you will, too.