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Inside this week | The death of the Xmas card
One of the tragedies of modern living is the decline in popularity of the Christmas card. Like newspapers, they will die out when the generation who sends them does.
My decision to stop coincided with me joining Facebook. When I moved here in 2003, I thought sending cards was a great way to stay in touch with former friends and colleagues, and of course family, from my home country. But now they’re all friends of mine on Facebook, so what’s the point?
Sure it grated that for every 20 I sent out, I only got seven in return, but since my decision to stop, I’ve been in comeback mode, and by 2016 I expect to be on level terms.
And besides, most people are so hopeless at writing them: they either say too little or too much. If you’re going to go to the trouble of buying the cards and stamps, tracking down the address and licking the envelopes, why on Earth do you then just want to sign your name with no trace of the human spirit you’re supposed to be expressing?
But God forbid that you go in the other direction and include a photocopy of your family’s progress report for 2012: “Tom has been accepted into Sandhurst, but before starting his cadetship couldn’t resist the chance to holiday in Zanzibar where he was cast in a new film about the early life of Freddy Mercury – some pop-star chappie we hadn’t heard of, but Antonia had.”
Don’t you know that half your friends will read this togehter aloud, screaming with laughter at your pompousness – with my hand on my heart, it’s the only adult memory I have of bonding with my mother.
Anyway, another Christmas in Denmark beckons. It’s not quite Alzheimer’s, but I’ve lost count of the number of times my parents have invited and uninvited me and the family to Christmas, and this will be my ninth in a row seeing it all end on December 24.
Yeah, I miss Christmas cards: writing them, not getting them. Using Facebook to send a greeting isn’t the same. It’s like sending a photocopy of your family’s progress – cue the hysterical laughter in the background of rare family bonding.