Is the Christmas card on its last legs
I rather like getting Christmas cards, which I put up lovingly all over the house -- on the mantlepiece, blu-tacked to the picture rail, under the tree. But I suspect that they are on their last legs, even more a thing of the past than a book.
That's to say, my tally of "e-cards" now almost exceeds my "card-cards". Some of these are wonderful. I just received a great Sophoclean Xmas card ("best wishes for a cathartic Christmas"), all beautifully drawn and scanned by one of my students (thank you, Sam). And some e-cards do include messages really targetted at me, with or without an appropriate image (thanks Gillian and Jan); or are sent from abroad, nicely timed for Xmas (and it was much better to get Estelle's up to date news from Australia, than have the old news of a month ago chugging its way across the world by ship).
What I hate are those e-cards sent by people or firms who just click "send to all" on their e-mail, and hey presto... you've got your Christmas message. It is one step on from the xeroxed "Christmas message" (nauseatlnglycelebrating young Quentin's 15 A*s at GCSE, or Tamsin's starring role in The Importance of Being Earnest).
The trouble is that, with an email, you don't end up with anything you can put on your mantlepiece, and if -- like me -- you run at the very edge of your capacity, it really clogs up your inbox. But worse, these mass e-mails simply negate the whole point of the card-ritual. Whether tatty and gaudy, or at the very pinnacle of "good-taste", Christmas cards are largely about the process of taking the trouble to do it. I have people I knew and loved, once upon a time, and the way we know that we still remember each other is because we sit down once a year, choose a card, write something on it, stick a stamp on and take it to the letter box.And that's because it takes a bit of an effort -- not simply clicking on "send to all". And why it makes a difference, in human terms, is because we know that's what has gone behind the card that plops through the letter box.
But not much longer I suspect. If I was an investor, I wouldn't take out shares in a Christmas card company.