Blank Christmas cards are like supermodels: beautiful but empty.
This post may mark me as an Ebenezer and ensure that my mailbox remains empty come next December (providing that the world doesn't end on 12/21/12).
This saddens me, as I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE getting mail. Opening my mailbox is one of life's simple pleasures. It's usually bills and weekly circulars, but the possibility of spotting a handwritten envelope or a familiar return address keeps the hope alive.
It stokes my holiday fire.
Receiving a postmarked holiday card can be a magical experience filled with sentiment. What's not so hot is opening the envelope and finding a lush gilded or letterpressed card with no personal message, just a scrawled signature. The letdown is acute. Instead of feeling connected and valued, I feel managed, a task you checked off your list three days ago.
While I appreciate making the cut, your blank card sends another message: "I care enough to send the very least." It drives home the point that in the Venn diagram of your social circle, I'm sitting in a circle on the fringe of your life.
The card becomes about you, instead of a gift to me. I get to admire your exquisite taste in artwork or your graphic design skills or how photogenic your children are (and yes, they really are adorable and growing so fast!). I'm happy to coo and ooh and ah, but I'd like to ask that you include a personal sentence or two that pertains to our relationship. Mention that it was good to see me last July or that you are glad we've been able to spend more time together or that you're looking forward to eating more pulled pork out of my Crock Pot in the new year (not a euphemism).
I gave up sending Christmas cards years ago because I wasn't able to sustain writing out 80 cards (more on that here). It began to feel like a chore, which wasn't what I was going for. While I'm not sending out a mass mailing, know that I love you, think your kids are really quite cute no matter what anyone says, and that I hope we find time in 2013 to eat a lot of braised meat together. And oh yeah, if you ever get a card from me in the mail, it will include a healthy sampling of my horrible handwriting.