A University of Alabama campus columnist went on a minor rant against Christmas cards, basically calling them annoying and shallow in an op-ed in The Crimson White student newspaper.
… when I think of the holidays, I think about Christmas cards – Christmas cards stuffed in our mailbox, Christmas cards strewn haphazardly across our kitchen counter, Christmas cards stuck to our refrigerator, Christmas cards lined up across our living room mantle and Christmas cards piled at the top of our overfilled trashcan. …
There are religious-themed cards, cheesy cartoon cards, glossy picture cards featuring smiling families dressed in carefully thought-out coordinating outfits, and my personal favorite, cards stuffed with the infamous “family progress letters.”
…The entire letter is typed and written in third person, as if the family is important enough to have some outside source write about their lives, rather than just have the father or mother write a personal letter to update friends and family on job promotions, broken bones, graduations and other such common family occurrences.
Often these letters come from friends and family that we don’t communicate with at all during the year, save for the reliable Christmas card and accompanying progress letter. And it is this detail that provides some interesting insight into American culture.
As a nation, America cares quite a bit about appearances. We want to appear strong, successful and economically stable because, after all, we are a world superpower and self-declared “The Greatest Nation on Earth.” America’s people, in the great tradition of our self-satisfied country, are no different.
We send Christmas cards to spread some good ole fashioned holiday cheer of course, but more importantly we send Christmas cards to make sure everyone knows just how successful and prosperous we are and will continue to be.
Santa, grab your coal.