Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Are Christmas cards obsolete as a business tool?

Last Christmas my friends and I compared notes about how many Christmas cards we still send--or don't. Discussion ensued about the cost of the cards themselves, postage, and the easily accessible and so much faster electronic ways to send good will greetings, which are harder to send universally because of the variances in messages that are acceptable in terms of religious emphasis.

We concluded that we don't know how businesses can send out any kind of specific Christmas card anymore without possibly offending or alienating some of its clients or customers. And we don't think people need to prove their faith by sending overtly religious cards just to prove they're not afraid to do it.

Like the discussion of the Confederate flag and whether it represents racism or history, the sending of Christmas cards gets tangled up in discussions of faith and free speech.   For inside the Christian faith, like all faiths really, there is this persevering dogged determination to finish the race that has begun without losing faith, and saying "Merry Christmas" is as much about declaring that perseverance and intention to continue to persevere as it is any other message.  For this reason, some people find strength in saying "Merry Christmas".  To them, it is drawing breath from the moment when they first believed that sin is real, Jesus paid a price for it, and they will live their lives honoring the gift of Christ to the world celebrated in the Bethlehem story where this gift of grace is announced. Still, other people say "Merry Christmas" without thinking too much about saying anything else, and some people are surprised that it is Christmas again.  Already?  Didn't we just have that?

These are not the people who send Christmas cards, but they most likely will begin receiving them soon while some of us consider whether this habit of sending old-fashioned paper greeting cards through the expensive snail mail needs to continue.

There is no universal right or wrong response.

Today I received two personal Christmas cards from a niece and a nephew with photos of their children taken throughout the year.  I didn't notice what kind of greeting there was. I was just very glad to see the pictures.

Later in the day while at the drugstore I considered buying some Christmas cards but didn't find any I liked.  I will eventually, or I won't.  Maybe I'll find the right card after Christmas and buy some for next year.  I've done this a few times.  For I still send some to people I think about more than they know I think about them, and I like to send them a card not so much because they need to hear from me but because my affection for them is so ongoing and sincere that I need to express it. That may be as much because I am a writer as it is because I am their friend.

Do I fret very much about the political or religious correctness of the message and image I choose to send ultimately.  Sort of. I don't like to send overtly Christian sentiments to my Jewish friends or friends of other faiths because that feels bullying and disrespectful.  I don't feel that I am betraying my faith by thinking like that.  Rather, I hope that my friends know that my faith in the saving gift of Christ to the world means that I get to love everybody and I love everybody but I love them especially. That's pretty much what I mean when I send a Christmas card with "Merry Christmas" or "Happy holidays" on it.

It also doesn't mean that I don't love you especially if I don't send a card. If you are a friend of mine and don't receive a card it most likely means that I ran out of the small number of cards I bought and your name ends far enough down on the alphabet that I didn't make it to you, or I started at the bottom of the alphabet list this year and didn't make it to the top. It could also mean that I ran out of stamps and didn't want to go to the post office during this busy time of year when lots of people still stand in line to send packages and buy stamps for their cards.

This year I am still one of those people who continues  to send Christmas cards and is always glad to receive them, too, except from businesses whose message in the card has nothing to do with religion  They are more often about trying to sell me something in the new year. I don't like those cards and throw them away because they don't keep faith with the way that I keep faith at Christmas.  For me, sending Christmas cards is about love being expressed anyway you want to share it with the people you really love.  I love so many people that the Christmas season is too short for me, which is why I intermittently send all kinds of cards all year long.

Daphne's most recent book is:  Christmas in Fountain City

No comments:

Post a Comment