I know I cannot be alone in this struggle. At this time of year, everyone’s posting on Facebook and Twitter and blogging about holiday cards and how they’ve already taken all their perfect family photos or have already addressed all their cards.
I hate the stress of planning holiday cards. The pressure to take formal pictures, find the right picture, or be pressured into paying an arm, leg, and kidney for digital files of professional photos for holiday cards is ridiculous.
Since when did holiday cards become this massive production, requiring that we all spend a small fortune outdoing each other to present the most perfect moment captured and sent through the mail?????? Whatever happened to writing a nice little note to each person you are sending a card to, wishing them a happy holidays / merry christmas / happy festivus / whatever. What about the annoying letter summarizing what you and your family have been up to this year, sharing you and your kids’ travel adventures or honor roll achievements at school? Printed on cute holiday paper and shared with everyone for pennies on the dollar.
Instead, we’re bombarded with ads for fancy holiday cards, costing anywhere from $0.50-$3.00 or more per card, meant to apparently make sure that we show the world we spent enough money on cards to make everyone feel special.
Sorry, but I don’t buy into this one. Last year, I took some fun pics of the kids playing in Bryant Park in NYC, found others I had taken earlier in the year, put it all into Microsoft Word along with scanned-in piece of art for the cover and for the price of one package of cardstock and a set of inkjet refills, I was done. My total cost to print the cards was less than $15 for 120 cards – which, at today’s photocard prices, is awesome. Yes, it required some of my time, but it also led to a completely custom card that was all my own and saved me a LOT of money, something many of us don’t have extra of at this time of year.
And don’t even get me started on why I send 120 cards. Why? Because I feel guilted into it, yet another aspect of holiday cards I despise. So if I have to send 120 cards, then I have to do it as inexpensively as possible (especially since 120 cards = $54 in freaking postage). I will be spending time again this year trying to cut down the list of cards, but it always seems difficult to do. I would like to go more digital with my cards, but then some people get offended and feel that not enough effort was put into a digital card (even though it’s all the same effort). And I admit it, I like receiving cards in the mail at the holidays and at other times, so I enjoy sending someone else that little bit of joy too. But the mounting pressure to make your holiday cards works of art is something I am continuing to resist, and will keep sending my homemade cards full of love.
If you’re on a budget, or just trying to be greener this holiday season, how do you handle holiday cards? Do you just skip them completely? Make your own? Use e-greetings? What’s your take on this holiday tradition?
Here’s a quick pic of the front and back cover of last year’s card I made (pulled from Word, table gridlines not printed)!
(Don’t forget there’s still another 11 days of linkup over at NaBloPoMo on BlogHer!)