Where do you stand on Christmas cards?

Posted on December 1, 2010

Yesterday I bought two packets of Christmas cards. Lovely, they are. Sweet illustrations, all decked out in silver glitter. Still blank. But I’ve made the first step.

I’m going to put myself out there and say that I love Christmas cards. I love sending them. I love receiving them. Writing them, I’m not so fond of, but I make time for it every year because it’s sometimes the only hand-written note I send all year*. Thank you notes are also hand-written, but not all my friends get one of those every year. All my friends get a Christmas card.

I have one friend who told me that I am never allowed to stop sending cards. Mine is the only proper, actual, hand-written card that she gets. If I stop, the only cards she’ll receive are from real estate agents and her bank. One year I toyed with leaving her off the list just to play with her mind, but I resisted. It didn’t seem to be in the right spirit, you know?

It’s true that I don’t always receive cards from people I’ve sent them to. In fact, many people don’t write back. It’s also true that I receive cards from people whom I suspect would never have sent me one had I not sent one to them first.

I don’t care.

I will continue to write and send my Christmas cards, ignoring the insta-pleasure of the email card, for as long as Australia Post is still around to provide a snail mail service. It’s a big part of Christmas for me.

But I will never send a family Christmas letter. Sorry. If you want to know what’s going on, you have to actually speak to me. Or read my blog. Which, come to think of it, is one big family Christmas letter.

What about you? Do you send Christmas cards? Do you love them? Hate them? Light your Christmas candles with them? And what’s your position on the family Christmas letter?

*It is worth noting that my handwriting is so appalling that it is probably a good thing I only drag it out once a year. There are people all over the country puzzling over my Christmas cards, wondering who the hell they’re from.



  1. Kymmie

    I love sending cards to. But writing them: my hand hurts. And not only do I write in them, I make them. And this year I’m running very behind. Haven’t. Even. Started. I think I might email a Christmas letter and be ‘green’. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m going with it! xx

  2. Paula

    Chrissy cards are so important to my mum – I’d (sometimes begrudgingly) send them to my aunts and uncles just for her. These days I enjoy sending them – especially giving handmade ones to family and friends who’ve made my year/kept me sane like mums from my old mothers group.

  3. Stacia

    Love getting Christmas cards. Don’t love sending them, but I do it so I can get some in return. I usually type up a fun little poem about what our year was like … Creativity counts for something, right, even if the computer helped??

  4. Looking for Blue Sky

    I received my first Christmas card on December 1st and it was a wake-up call! These days Christmas just creeps up on me, but I love sending and receiving cards. As an ex-pat it is still the best way not to lose touch, especially as many of my older friends are just not ready to embrace Facebook.

  5. River

    Years ago I bought a huge stack of christmas cards in the post christmas sales, 20 cents a packet for 10 or 12 cards. I’m still using them up, because the frugal side of me won’t let me buy any of the pretty new ones out now until they’re gone.
    I hate the idea of a family christmas letter. If they want to know what’s going on, they can contact me all year for catchups.

  6. Deer Baby

    Not a fan of the Round Robin newsletter either – although some of the ones we get from distant relatives are the cause of much hilarity.

    I do the old Christmas card thing too. Two years ago I thought I wouldn’t and would give the money I would have spent on cards and postage to charity instead which I did. I then had to explain to everyone that no, they hadn’t offended me, no I hadn’t left them off our list, and I had to send emails out to explain so that sort of backfired a bit. And I really missed writing them. So it’s cards all the way now.

  7. Amanda

    I do send christmas cards every year. Im a scrapbooker so I make all of my own…. I think this year its somewhere in the 40’s that I have to make, including for some of the people at work… I’ve made 5 so far, bugger, Im a bit behind!

  8. anjwritesabout.com

    I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that I LOVE to send Christmas cards!

    Each year I get excited when I start to see them in the shops – amazing over the new and beautiful (or fun and quirky) ones that I see. I always fall in love with them a little bit more and buy more than I need.

    And then I bring out all of our Christmas decorations and realise that I took advantage of great after Christmas sales the year before…and have even more boxes of lovely cards.

    I guess you could call that one of my Christmas traditions – momentary amnesia about my already overflowing Christmas stationery supplies! 😉

  9. juststopspeaking

    I have always loved loved loved sending out cards – I spend time finding the ones I love for the ones I love….. but you know what the saddest thing is? Every year we receive less and less ourselves. Is it just a sign that the electronic age is taking over where handwritten heartfelt tangible somethings are being left behind… Will there even be a need for a post office 0 years from now? I’m all for technology, change, advancement etc etc BUT not at the expense of TRADITIONS.

    Now I feel a little bit sad.

  10. kj

    I send a photo card of the kids every year. I really can’t be bothered writing individual messages on them, so this way all I have to do is address them.

    I’m not a fan of the family round up letter.

    And, much to my MIL’s annoyance, I do not send our Christmas card to people we will see on Christmas Day (when I will give it to them).

    I do love receiving Chrissy cards, too.

  11. Jacki

    I am so with you on this! I love sending Xmas cards. But I’ve promised myself to never do the letter. Ever. I think my friends would kill me!

  12. MultipleMum

    I love a Christmas letter – strictly no boasting though.

    I do the hand-written Christmas card too and if you can read them you are doing very well 🙂 I only send these to overseas, interstate and ‘out-of-touch’ friends. If you see me regularly, no card for you!

  13. Claireyh

    As my blog mentions over and over, handwriting is the new black, so get into it everyone and have a merry hand written Christmas!

  14. Hancock Creative

    I am terrible, I really never write Christmas cards. I can never find the time. I guess that’s why the only one I normally receive is from my mum!

  15. Fleur McDonald

    I love sending cards. Sometimes I’m a little late (Decemeber is such a busy time, with harvest) and it’s worth noting, if I’m late, no one bothers to send us cards, but like you, I will keep sending them – hand written and all!

  16. Bodaciousboomer

    I must admit that even though I am as old as Moses I too have fallen prey to the ecards. I am ashamed.

  17. Lanie at Edible Urban Garden

    I’m with Green Mama – no Christmas cards. I tend to write a bit of a catch up email with some photos to my overseas friends (and they are doing the same)..and I love making little bags of biscuits etc for friends who I see a lot (or have them over for drinks etc). I think it is partly a generational thing too. Last year the only Christmas cards we received were from people over 65 (and we did sent a card back)….all the others seem to be doing Xmas greetings in other ways.

  18. Rita

    No money for presents so I send out handmade Christmas cards every year. The people I talk to all the time don’t usually get a letter, but most everybody else does–handwritten. I am one of the few people who still hand writes letters–regularly–during the year. No–I don’t get as many back, but I don’t care. I just plain love Christmas and cards are just a personal, sweet part of it. 🙂

  19. Sarah

    I’ve just finished writing Miss Medium’s cards with her for all her little friends. Next up are mine to post. No family round up here though I loved Lisa’s idea of doing a fun one like that!
    Yes I’m a traditionalist.
    No I don’t care what people think.
    I like sending cards and receiving them as well.

  20. Cath

    In my previous corporate life, I spent so much time and effort writing Christmas cards to clients, suppliers etc I never had the energy to do it for my friends – great priorities huh!

    I’ve done the Christmas letter a few times (usually for New Year, as I didn’t get the time before Christmas), but found it depressing, as I usually realised that I hadn’t actually had contact with most of my friends for yet another year. After reading your comments, I might not bother again!

    I have created my own gorgeous Christmas cards this year through my biz (Leaf. Paper for Life. – ooh was that a plug? Sorry.), so I HAVE to send them! Fortunately, I have had contact of some sort (even if it is just Facebook) with more people so it’s less of an issue. My prob is, my database keeping is failing and the only contact I have for so many friends is an email address or on FB. Makes it kinda hard to send a card.

  21. Lisa Heidke

    Hi Al,
    I haven’t sent a Christmas card in years…years. Maybe 8? Sometimes I do think it would be a good thing to do. In fact next year I will send cards and if I actually follow through with the idea I am definitely going to send a family letter with it along the lines of ‘Grant’s out of rehab now, Josh has eloped to India, Mia and her baby are doing fine…’ If I had the time now I might do something like that…but really only to amuse myself. Others might be less impressed.

  22. Madame Marielle

    I love most cards- I usually cry both reading and writing the birthday variety. But Christmas- I go blank!

    I might try downing some shots before I write mine this year.

  23. Joni Llanora

    Already popped some in the a few days ago. Going overseas. In our culture, the cards often are with the gifts. As we rarely used our inefficient postal system. But now I heart Austpost.

  24. Green Mama

    I’m a no to Christmas cards- can’t bear the waste of them, I find them an environmental nightmare. I overheard on Tuesday at kinder a couple of mums talking about starting on the kinder cards- their children send a card to every other child! Holy crap!

  25. fairchildstreet

    I was talking about this yesterday. I am so over Christmas cards. A friend of mine has a rule. If she sees you December you don’t get a Christmas card and if she doesn’t see you in December she will send you one. Charmaine

  26. Naturally Carol

    Hi I love Christmas cards too ‘cos they are a great opportunity to hear from people that you haven’t seen in a year and to contact those too who are getting to be on the edge of your list to find out where the relationship is at. Of course it is also lovely to get and give cards to the people who are true friends and family. I like family letters as long as they are personal not generic and if they are realistic not just lists of all the great things my kids are doing type thing. I always buy Christmas cards after Christmas at half price and put them away and they are fresh and lovely to me by the next Christmas. I’m all for glitter too!

  27. EmmaK

    I love sending Christmas cards and receiving and hanging them up on a string! As for the christmas letter no no and thrice no. It is always a nauseating show off type thing isn’t it? You could send a pisstake though. Don’t tempt me. I wrote Drowning In Blessings but only blogged it ie “Bert’s new wing of his plastic surgery business Cankles R Us has taken off in leaps and bounds. This is tough love surgery with the ankle bone being scalped back so that unsightly cankles no longer ruin your life. Profits are huge on this so who am I to say that Bert isn’t helping women with unsightly legs?”

  28. Lindsey Whitney

    I’m a big fan of Christmas cards. Usually though, I type a letter, print it out, and put it inside the card. I sign of course, but have I ruined the sentiment? I can’t imagine hand-writing every card. I’d never get done! I can’t wait to get our first card — there’s something fun about it, that’s for sure!

  29. @jencull (jen)

    I haven’t sent cards for the last few years, I bought them but just didn’t find the time. Umm, what is a family Christmas letter? Well, it is self explanatory I suppose, but I have never heard of that tradition before. Do lots of people do it in Aus? Not my thing really:) Jen

  30. Kath

    I love writing and sending Christmas cards. It is one of my favourite parts of the run-up to Christmas and makes me feel really festive – probably because I write them while drinking mulled wine and eating mince pies. I try and do them in batches because I do try and write a letter to go in with most of them. (Hand-written, not a printed circular!) I think e-cards have their place but a lot of friends look forward to them and I’m going to continue writing them because it gives me such pleasure.

  31. Kelly

    I do Christmas cards under sufferance. I love receiving them but not writing them. I organise photo cards and write a small la de la de la message on the back (lame I know). I do write a Christmas letter but maybe I should just boycott that this year after reading this. lol

  32. Lucy

    I’m with you.

    My Christmas card “thing” started when I first moved to Australia.

    I still write them all, to old and young.

    Sorry if it makes you cringe, but I do also inclide a Christmas letter to some recipients – oldies, mostly.

  33. mamabook

    Attempt to send christmas cards annually. Do not always succeed. But the email card definitely not for me. V special to get that card/letter in the mail. We did start doing the Christmas letter when we lived in US as was v much std over there and was convenient update to family here. However, tried to keep it humorous, self-deprecating rather than a log of all our achievements. Rarely do letter now. Usually a photo postcard with a handwritten note on the back.

  34. alliecat

    I am with you. Don’t love writing them, every year I swear to cull the list and I never do. Love posting them, love receiving them and putting them up. Also hate the Christmas letter. Why would I think anyone would want to read a 3page long durgeon (my word!) about me and my kids??? I don’t really want to be bored by anyone else’s either!

    Email christmas cards are a cop out. So are those generic texts everyone sends on the day. NEVER fwd those. Ugh. Put some effort in and send me a real message at least, don’t remember me by simply hitting fwd with my name on your phone.

    Rant over!

  35. Jessica

    I have a love/hate relationship with cards, I put them off every year and then we start getting cute, creative ones from our friends and I get motivated to try for something half as creative, not sure what to do this year.

  36. 74 Lime Lane

    I have to say I think cards should always be a part of Christmas. I will confess to becoming slack in recent years in the sending of them. Was planning to rectify that this year, now in mild panic with yet another thing to do …

  37. Cate

    Funnily enough I was justing sitting here ordering my xmas cards (very sweet with pics of my kiddos!!). Pressed ‘order now’ and then opened up google reader – and there you were. So yes, I will be sending out xmas cards this year 🙂 xxxCate

  38. PinkPatentMaryJanes

    I bought my cards – at the start of NOVEMBER. I have addressed four envelopes and that’s it. But, like you I love a Christmas card – sending and receiving. And, like you, I do so pity the poor souls who have to try to decipher my handwriting…

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