Did Facebook Kill The Christmas Card?

As I reach in to the mailbox each day, I come away with the same stack of catalogs, junk mail and the few paper bills I still receive monthly. The one thing conspicuously absent this year is the Christmas card. Each year I look forward to seeing the family updates, the smiling photos of growing children of college roommates and reading the recaps of the many trials and turmoil that friends and relatives have overcome throughout the preceding year.

Yes, I had noticed the decline over the past few years as email had lessened the hard copy letters and photo postcards I had received. But, I still maintain the small artificial tree in the dining room to hold the annual recaps captured on themed paper and postcards in place of ornaments. This year, the single postcard I have received to date, hangs from a branch of the empty tree- a testament to the power of the social media giant Facebook.

With its constant spreading of news, photos and family updates it has eliminated the need for those corny letters, postcards reflecting the one time the kids were all dressed-up, together and not hitting each other and the family vacation that put an exclamation point on a snowy winter or beautiful summer. I just can’t bring myself to admit that I have been left behind as I still have yet to put my happenings, inner thoughts and self deprecating statements and pictures online for my family and friends to take in daily as they log-in to their computer, pull out their Smartphone or peruse their iPad at the local coffee shop. So, I will continue to reach with restrained excitement each day for the mail, knowing that another Christmas tradition has been dealt a defeat by technology and I will need to somehow fill the void by updating my profile, setting my security settings and changing my picture to a cartoon, animal or whatever the flavor of the week is on Mr. Zuckerberg’s artificial tree in the world’s dining room.

Topher Vonnegut is a NorthCoast resident and freelance writer who is torn between technology and tradition and laments the lost art of formal communication.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 4:20 PM, 12.14.2010