Of Course I Have Holiday Card Pet Peeves…Did You Expect Anything Less From Me?

I am currently finishing up the creation of this year’s holiday cards. Yes, I make my own; I have been doing that for about eight (??) years now. Last year’s card was spectacular in my head, but didn’t translate quite as well once I had the finished product in hand…and I’m okay with that. This year’s card is my favorite so far, and I guess that’s how it should be.

Seems like as good a time as any to reflect a bit about holiday cards.

1. I love this tradition, but it seems to be fading away. Over the past 8-10 years, less and less of the people in my address book are sending cards. (Maybe they just don’t like me anymore? Nah.) Whether it’s due to the financial aspect of it or the time aspect, less and less cards seem to be circulating. That makes me a little sad.

2. As I already stated above, I make my own cards. That does not mean that I expect everyone to make their own, however it does mean that I totally appreciate the work that goes into handmade cards and absolutely *love* to get them.

3. Just because I *love* to receive handmade cards doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate store-bought ones. I love when others keep my family in their thoughts…and I love mail.

4. Many people today are taking a photo in to Walgreens and getting that one-sheet photo card that can just be stuck into an envelope and mailed without further work. I’m fine with that. I love photos, and I always keep the photos/photo cards I get. Someday I plan to put all of them into their own scrapbook…when I get some time. (Maybe in 2025? har har har!)

5. Some people have an aversion to holiday letters that fall out of the card when you open them. I am not one of those people. I love holiday letters. I *send* holiday letters each year…but ONLY to people who I am not generally in touch with during the year. Examples of the people who get my holiday letter: relatives we rarely see, high school friends, the parents of my old friends, and people who Jim and I have met in the different towns we have resided in but only correspond now at holiday time. I do not send a holiday letter to people I am in touch with on a regular basis; they already know what’s up with my family*. And here’s a secret: the holiday letter is as much for me and my family scrapbook as it is for anyone else: I do a paragraph about each boy, summarizing what they’ve been up to and what they’re “in to” this year. It’ll be fun to look at those in about twenty years.

6. My most major pet peeve about holiday cards? When I get an envelope from someone who I only exchange cards with in December and, other than that, have absolutely no contact with, ever, and I excitedly open it up to see what they’ve been up to…and there is just a signature. No handwritten note on the inside of the card, no holiday letter, no nothing. That drives me INSANE. In fact, call me names for this one, but three years of that in a row and I take them off my list. Why bother even sending the card with just a signature if we never ever see each other, we never ever talk, we don’t live near each other…? After three years I don’t know enough about you anymore to even know you! (Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way…)

So what do YOU think about holiday cards? There’s your topic…now discuss.

*Except for two consecutive years a while back; I altered my holiday letter so it was really twisted and funny (and full of exaggerations, lies, and such) and sent it to Kate. It’s fun: you should try it! (Just don’t send it to the wrong people!)



  • Kat

    Love that you create your own holiday cards. You’re one heck of a woman, do you know that? A crafty chick, awesome parent and so on…

    The tradition of holiday letters is cool. I first encountered that from an American friend back in High School. It’s not very common over here but a great idea. Kinda like looking back on the year past. Love it.

    Have a wonderful weekend Melisa

  • Michelle

    Ummm, seriously, ARE we the same person? I’m totally with you on every bit except for the photo cards that have no personalization, especially the ones sent directly from Shutterfly or whatever where the person didn’t even have to seal the envelope. Give me some sense that you actually thought about *me* when you put the card together and into the mail.

    Oh, except I’m not organized enough to remember who wronged me three years in a row 😉 I gotta go gut feel on that one. And I no longer have time to make cards, but I still have a few from back when I had time.

  • Melissa

    I used to send out over 100 cards a year…I was lucky if I got back maybe 25 cards…not that I’m all about tit for tat or anything but between the expense and time it takes to write out and address the cards it was becoming way to much work.

    Now I very rarely send out cards unless I find a special one here or there that makes me think of someone.

    And I’m with you…I love to get mail, too. And the homemade cards are the ones I love the best. I wish I had the time and strength to make my own cards…

  • Weaselmomma

    Love Holiday cards and holiday letters, but only the ‘real’ holiday letters. I can’t stand the braggy, we are so great and everything is drama letters. I sooo got one of those yesterday and had to roll my eyes and get aggravated. I like the ones where people are themselves and update on their family lives. Come to think of it, it depends on who the person is that rights the letter. Fake, superficial people write fake superficial letters. Hang out quality people write real letters. I hope I get your Holiday letter. I always wanted to ‘double dip’ both holidays!

  • Mayberry

    Yes! That is SOOO disappointing. Please, save yourself a stamp if you’re not going to at least scribble a line or two about what’s going on. I like your “3 strikes” policy!

    (Another peeve of mine is getting a card from someone who lives in town that is just an acquaintance. Argh, now I have to send one to you too?)

  • Melisa

    Kat: Hugs to you as always! 🙂

    Michelle: We might be the same person! (But you’re a smaller, younger, waaay cuter version of me, I’d say) As for “who wronged me”–I don’t look at it like that, by the way (LOL), I actually write the year in my address book next to their name when I send a card, and checkmark over it when I get one back. I’m not looking for even-ness, really: just to see who’s still interested in keeping in touch.

    Melissa: Isn’t mail AWESOME?? One bad thing about the internet: the ratio of fun mail to bills in the mailbox is worse now.

    Weaselmomma: Alright, don’t beg. I’ll send you a letter. 🙂 And, in case there was any doubt, mine is not a fake superficial one, but a real one. 🙂

    Mayberry: Thanks for stopping in! I’m with ya on the acquaintance thing. *awkward* 🙂

  • Melisa

    Momo: EXACTLY. Of course, that’s what I’ll be WANTING to do by the time I get to the last of my 80 cards…but I WON’T. 😉

  • Tom

    Growing up, my family used to make our own cards. Before they divorced, my dad would use his photography skills and my mom her artistic talents to create completely unique cards with embellished photos of them and my brothers. In later years my older brother took over the tradition by making hand-carved linoleum block prints. They were incredibly detailed and invariably clever.

    I wish we had the time and energy to make our own. I don’t know how you do it.

  • SeaBird

    We’re sending out homemade cards for the first time this year… so I’m also thinking carefully about who actually “deserves” one (ha!).

  • k a t i e

    I LOVE holidays cards – you’re fully aware of this! I even put up the nicest of the year befores when I don’t have too many of my own at the start of December.

    The older I get, the less I get .. 🙁
    Hint hint.

  • NukeDad

    Just a signature? How about the people who have their names printed on the cards? They can’t even be bothered to actually put pen to paper. I’m with you on that one. My sister makes her own cards; not just during the holidays, but ALWAYS. My parents house had shutter doors into the den where they would slide all the cards in-I used to love coming home from school each day and watch the doors fill up with cards. On Christmas day those doors would be closed and tied with a red ribbon and an old brass lock with the initials “SC” on them. My Dad loved Christmas.

  • OhMyGOFF!

    I too feel that the “just the signature” means I’m just another number! Man- 19 days till xmas..and I haven’t done cards at all yet! Eeeeekkkk!!!

  • Sue

    I LOVE CHRISTMAS CARDS!!! Or in your case holiday cards!!! My mom has always written one of those newsy letters and enclosed a picture of us. Actually she still does it and we all love looking back at the pictures and the letters! OK, actually, my girls laugh at the pictures, but we did have some big hair once upon a time!
    I continue the tradition, although my letters have a little twist. Perhaps you will find out!?
    I am very impressed that you MAKE your cards.
    And #6, don’t even bother if there is just a signature! That drives me crazy!!!!!

  • devilish southern belle

    That reminds me, I need to mail you my address and then get my own cards sent. I am way behind schedule!

  • Melisa

    Tom: The cards that your parents and brother made sound phenomenal. I hope you kept some! To be honest, I don’t know how I do it either. I just do. I know it sounds dumb, but I basically make myself crazy trying to fit everything in, and eventually it all gets done. Of course, my house is a shambles. But that’s another story.

    Seabird: Awesome! Your friends and family will love your time and effort, I’m sure!

    Katie: Don’t you worry…it’s on the way. 🙂

    Nukedad: My friends who had those shuttered doors in their house (quite common back in the day, right?) were my favorite people to visit at holiday time; I LOVED looking at their cards on display. The lock with “SC” sounds so cool. What a great memory of your Dad.

    Ang: You better get started. I think you should use the Richard Simmons photo. 🙂

    Sue: I hope I’ll find out! hint hint

    Kim: Get on it, sister!

  • Birdie

    My sister does that to me! She sends me a card adn it has their names in it and that's it, like the had a stack of cards and stamped a name on each and sent them off or something. Odd…ONe thing I noticed that bugs me now on cards in general is the signature. My brother always carefully chooses his cards adn gets teh best ones. Then he writes a little something & signs his name. Well, he got married last year at the age of 40 to a wonderful woman we adore but I got a card from him and she had signed his name. ICK! I wanted to throw it away right then. It was an impostor card! *L* I wasn't happy.

  • Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

    I used to make my cards, but now? I have kids. HA! Really, though, some day I’ll probably make them again. Cuz you know, pictures of 12 and 14 year olds on the front of a card is just weird.

    I haven’t yet done the holiday letter thing, but have started this year’s. The real “catch” to that one is that I would rather get the cards in the mail period – if I can get a letter out with them, bonus!

  • Dea

    I’ve started dropping people from my list for the same reasons. I hate the just a signature thing. I hate the cards that I send out that I get returned – because the people who are BLOOD relations who moved who didn’t bother to tell us. Forget it – nevermind, pointless. I think I may be going and hand picking several cards this year and just sending to a select few people this year. We went to the trouble of sending them out to EVERYONE last year – and got 5 last year. What’s the point? And one person had the audacity to call us upon receipt of theirs complaining that I didn’t include a picture….

    One year, I had Ken’s aunt write a nasty letter to us in her Christmas card because of family drama. She called us horrible things – in our CHRISTMAS card! :O Seriously – who does these things?

    So yeah – I used to love getting and sending them, and ever since that day I sat there crying over being called such nasty things in such a beautiful, foil lined card….it hasn’t been the same. I used to line my kitchen with cards. I used to find cards for each person who I knew who celebrated a different holiday from me, and send it at the proper time, too.

  • Andie

    hmmm I've always wanted to do a letter for family, but I haven't done it because I don't want to sound like we're bragging- plus- we don't have a family like you do- it's just us and scruffy. and i'm guilty- I do a flat photo card. I design them myself, though, in photoshop and have them printed off and send them off.

    sometimes, I'll write a message on the back of the card to some of my aunts & uncles to say hello!

    I have a HUGE extended family, and they are the majority of the people who get our christmas card. (my dad has 7 brothers & sisters and my mom has 5! and then one of my aunts had 7 kids and another had 4 from her first marriage and 4 from her second)

    soooo.. yeah, I know… rude to send the printed off card without a personalized signature, but when you have to do THAT many…. well, it can be really time consuming!