Holiday Cards Aren’t What They Seem: The Issues With Sending Out Those Glossy Greetings

Eve Sarno, Staff Writer

People all over the world can be seen buried neck-deep in holiday cards once those anticipated winter dates roll around. But aren’t they a superfluous addition to today’s society?

I understand that most holidays are about tradition, so why change card-sending habits now?   

However, if you pause from licking envelopes, sticking stamps, writing addresses, and journeying to the mailbox–

–you might see what you’ve been missing.

The problems are right in front of our frostbitten noses.

One of them involves human connection. Remember that? There’s always a significant and unhealthy lack of it at this time of year.

When was the last time you visited that person you’ve been writing to so feverishly? Studies show that interacting face-to-face with someone can ease our holiday stress and boost our overall mood. I understand that this is not a new idea. There are reasons such as living too far away that prevent these visits. How else can you communicate, you ask? Phone calls and video chats are just a few options. And if you absolutely insist on a paper greeting, you can limit the sending to one card, as difficult as that may be. It can save not only the environment but quite a plentiful amount of blood, sweat, tears, and toil.

I’m going to guess that hardly any holiday cards get saved beyond, say, February. And why should one’s recipients save them? In today’s world, holiday cards are the epitome of generic. There’s not a hint of personalization remaining in the overused Alegreya font, nondescript fir wreath, completely plain Star of David, and random candy canes. In the long run, the whole process is a waste.

An excessive amount of trees are being cut down every year just to make holiday cards. 300,000…and that’s just for the card itself. Never mind the envelope. Add that to the by-products such as inks, dyes, postage, and the fuels from manufacturing and distribution, and it’s clear that industries are not only harming the environment but squandering a huge amount of energy and money. All for that innocent little card with snowflakes.

I get it. Holiday cards are old-fashioned and are the season’s accepted form of media. Also, no self-respecting family would miss the chance to show off new additions to their lineage and trips of the past year in their photo-studio-arranged greeting.

         Yet those holiday card designs and photos have now become a competition, and that hurls another blow at our already thin winter mental health. Everyone is concerned that their family picture isn’t professional or joyful enough to comply with the high standards of this generation’s circle of adult cliques.

The evidence builds the case that holiday cards are far from acceptable to keep purchasing and writing out year after year. If you want to express warm holiday wishes, spare the trauma and video chat/call/text/email/visit the recipient instead.