Here's a new economic indicator we can use: how many Christmas cards have you received? We've gotten six and three are from family. Has the expense of purchasing and mailing any greeting cards killed the industry generally, is it the region in which we live, or has the past years' economic downturn and lack of significant improvement been the death knell for Christmas cards? It seems worse this year than any other. By this time in December, the front of my secretary desk is usually covered with cards, but this year's display is paltry.
The people from which we would expect to receive a card are not out of work, to the best of my knowledge, but are they penny pinching to be safe? Counting the cost of cards and postage, each holiday greeting can set you back $1.00 to $1.50, and that's if you buy the cheap ones. We're using up the ones we had left over from past years at my house, and had just enough, although I did purchase a few specialized cards for Mom, my brother and his kids. We sent about 35 cards - you can calculate the cost. Ouch.
But I wasn't going to forgo sending Christmas cards - it's an essential part of the season to me, the same as baking cookies for the goody baskets I give to the neighbors, the postman, garbage men, and others. Baking is expensive but I didn't want to give up the activities that make the season special for me.
At least not yet.
OK, just as I was bemoaning the lack of Christmas finances to complement the Christmas spirit, I received my mail and got six cards in one batch. I guess the problem isn't technology or money, it's procrastination! Probably more will arrive today.