Have you mailed out your Christmas cards yet?
If your response was a slack-jawed, “huh?” you’re part of the modern trend away from sending traditional, snail-mailed greeting cards. Nonetheless, most of us still find quite a few in our mailboxes. These cards provide much-needed job security for postal workers who have little else to do nowadays. They also send a message, but that can be hard to find beneath all the foil, glitter and mushy sentiments.
Here’s a handy guide to help you unlock the REAL message of holiday cards.
1) The look: Family photo of cute kids in holiday attire says, “I started getting ready 3 months ago. I bought matching outfits, got the kids dressed, took the photo, then had the cards printed, stamped and in the mail a month before Christmas. Now I’m off to bake 20 dozen cookies for the school bake sale and alphabetize my pantry.”
2) The message: One of 5 available canned message/border combos says, “I got a discount coupon from Shutterfly”
3) Who sends it: Uber-organized Super Moms who are one step away from a nervous breakdown.
1) The look: Glossy finishes, foil embellishment and heavy card stock all contribute to a rich, elegant look that says, “This is a tax write-off.”
2) The message: Generic wishes for “the season” are as neutral as possible to avoid incurring the wrath of easily offended religious or anti-religious groups. Businesses would just say Happy Winter if they didn’t think that would seem to favor pagans over other denominations.
The stamped signature (either foil embossed or simulated signature font) sends the joyous holiday message, “I’m too busy and important to bother to sign this myself.”
3) Who sends it: Your accountant, lawyer or investment adviser. More accurately, their secretaries, since that is who handles the whole process from ordering cards, through separating the wheat from the chaff on the client list, to printing mailing labels.
1) The look: Tri-fold, single sheet with narrative interspersed with pictures of the family schussing in Vail says, “My Publisher program came with several newsletter templates.”
2) The message: Braggy McBraggart list of kids awards, job promotions and exotic trips taken that year says, “My life is better than yours.”
3) Who sends it: Old classmates, kids friends’ moms, exes, your sister-in-law or anyone else who wants to rub your nose in the fact that you and your family are total losers by comparison.Genuine card:
1) The look: Elegant scene says, “Let’s celebrate the reason for the season,” without bashing your head in about it all.
2) The message: Handwritten note starting with an anecdote about the dog barfing on the Christmas tree skirt and ending with good wishes and blessings says, “I’m a genuine person who truly cares about you.”
3) Who sends it: Me. If you didn’t get your card yet, blame the post office. They probably stashed my cards under a viaduct in Chicago again. Those bastards.