This is the Christmas card I drew and sent this year, but which also threw me into a frenzy of confusion about Christmas card etiquette.
When I was growing up there were two sorts of Christmas card givers and you had to pick a side. One set of people gave a card to everyone they knew, including everyone in their class at school and as they grew up all their work colleagues. The second set, to which I attached myself, sent cards to people they’d not seen in a while as a way to keep in touch (and, ocassionally in my case, totally failed to send cards altogether).
Then there’s the cards. Some people use cards as a way to demonstrate their charitable affiliations, some send tasteful, some send funny, some send religious and so on. I decided to send handmade cards wherever possible, and recently handmade cards that make me laugh, and saw this as one of the benefits of my small distribution group. The downside, of course, was that the people I saw a lot in my close circle of friends wouldn’t get the amazing works of genius I created.
One year I experimented with Christmas e-cards and in some ways that was the most successful (although I still fear some of my friends didn’t realise I knew the pictures were rubbish) because I could distribute the cards so widely and relatively unobtrusively. Sure, it broke my distribution rule, but the cards made be laugh so it was OK.
All this has changed with the rise of Facebook. Now, many of the people on my traditional Christmas card list are friends on Facebook and I increasingly feel I am in touch with them without the need for a card once a year. Why a card for the friend I chat to on Facebook but not the friend I chat to in the pub? It is of course great that I am now so much more in touch with these friends, but, as a result, this year’s card giving has been totally lacking in logic or thought. It has also been fraught with the potential to offend and confuse the people who’ve received or not received.
It’s clear I need a new policy. I’ve eleven months to think of one.