Christmas Opinion

How Social Media is Killing Christmas Tradition

Social media is killing Christmas. There. I said it.

What you are about to read is what they call a rant. It is also harsh truth. Brutal reality. You’ve been warned, snowflakes.

As far as Christmas traditions go Christmas cards are not the most traditional thing going. Dating back only to the mid-19th century, Christmas cards emerged as a love child of technology and progress.

That is the irony of Christmas cards now. The same thing that created Christmas cards is killing it – if you can indeed call technology progress.

Christmas cards were possible thanks to advances in printing. Color printing of real art made cheap revolutionized communication in the 19th century. Christmas cards were just but one benefactor of that.

Advances in mail delivery were something that improved vastly in the 19th century.

Picture it: in the early 19th century if you wanted to send a letter you had to write it, package it and trust someone with it who was heading in the general direction of its intended recipient. It could take months to get there and it might change hands countless times before it ever arrived.

Then, when the letter was received, the recipient would herald the receipt of a letter in a journal just so their grandchildren could know that it happened.

No wonder, then, that Christmas cards went viral in the 1840s and 1850s. Imagine how it must have felt to receive a beautiful Christmas greeting sent in November by the time Christmas came around. It was a big, big deal.

I’m not that old but I’m old enough to remember my parents getting so many Christmas cards when I was a teen that the mail box was frequently stuffed full of them. My mother used to order them in quantity from the printer.

It was very important to her, and my working father, not only to remember every family member but also to carefully select and time when the Christmas greetings went out to business associates. After all, a deal could ride on it or perhaps even a new job. It was something that took thought and consideration.

We have seen fads come and go with Christmas cards. At one time cards with a fuzzy or textured graphic were a thing. Foil lined envelopes was a must-have for any serious card sender. There were cards with photos, cards with family newsletters, and cards that showed people in exotic faraway places or perhaps with a new car.

Yep, the Christmas greeting card could have been called an old fashioned selfie, for the way some handled them.

But there were rules to sending cards. For example, you always signed every card by hand – even those you paid to get printed. People noticed stuff like that.

These were the days of licking envelopes and stamps. You know what stamps are, right?

The only reason I ask is because I know many people under the age of 25 who have never seen or purchased a stamp in their life.

These are people who have never lived without the Internet or Google or text messages.

These are people who don’t know what a phone booth is, who have never actually “dialed” a phone, read newspaper, or — Heaven forbid! – actually call someone to bring a pizza (they have to have an app for that).

These are people who think Christmas cards are dumb and politically incorrect and environmentally irresponsible.

These are people who really think that buying a card, writing in it, addressing an envelope and affixing a stamp is TOO much work.

These are people who have likely never received a thoughtful card from a friend or a loved one in their life.

These are people who water their fake trees, drink low fat eggnog (or worse, Almond Milk Nog), open their presents on Christmas Eve and think Santa Claus is a poor role model for children.

These are people who know the words to Silent Night but don’t know what they mean.

These are people who think that maybe saying Merry Christmas is insensitive.

These are people who think Christmas can be expressed in a Tweet, an image on Instagram, or a post on Facebook.

I had my 20-something nephew over for Thanksgiving this year. He hardly spoke a dozen words the whole day. His head was down in his phone, thumbs flying. Later I learned he spent a better part of the day trying to purchase stuff at “door buster” prices on his phone.

It’s too bad because he missed a helluva pumpkin pie.

But I had to laugh when over coffee he later lamented his lack of a love life. I unloaded on him and I’ll likely never see him come around for another holiday at my house ever again. If he can’t talk to his family because that phone has such a hold on him at Thanksgiving he’ll never get a girl, I told him.

His lack of social skills rendered him helpless.

But the truth is, and I’ll never admit it to him, is that girls his age are just as bad if not worse. Little girls used to pretend with hand mirrors saying, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all”. Little girls still do it now only it’s not a mirror. It is both a vanity checker and a projector.

How many fat-lipped selfies has the average 25 year old female accumulated in their lifetime and, for the love of rechargeable batteries, tell me, how many do they need?

It used to be that girls would doll themselves up to impress the boys. Not any more. They seem to be bent on impressing those phones – taking picture after picture and then posting them online somewhere not to get a guy but to irritate other girls.

These people are the ones killing Christmas traditions like Christmas cards.

They think it is actually okay to send a text to wish someone a Merry Christmas. Or, a Facebook post ought to do it. Heck, go all out and send out a video on Snap Chat of you dancing to Mariah Carey singing All I Want for Christmas is You.

Mariah Carey? Really? Do you even know that’s she is old enough to be your mother? Google it, kids. True story.

Now, lest you think that I’m blaming the death of Christmas cards all on Millennials and the Me-Generation let’s talk a minute about people who should know better. I’m talking people my age, the pasty 50-somethings still wearing white Reeboks with 501s.

Yeah, you know who I’m talking about.

These people complain that Christmas cards cost too much, take too much time and really aren’t appreciated by people any more.


And you say this because you get so many of them and they are, doggone it, a burden?

No. Be truthful. You don’t send cards anymore because nobody sends cards to you.

And they don’t send cards to you anymore because…you don’t send cards to them!

You’re old enough to remember what Hallmark tried to burn on our brains all those years ago. “When you care enough to send the very best…”

Did you not learn this?

Of course you did. You’re just lazy. And cheap.

Let me give a nickel’s worth of free advice to both my contemporaries and their snowflake children: if you do any thing of actual worth this holiday season let it be actually going out to a store, getting a nice card, writing it out and sending it to your mother.

I guarantee you it will thrill her beyond words. She will take to her journal to write HER grandchildren about it.

That noise you hear will be your PHONE. She will be calling. And gushing.

You’ll find yourself not only back in the will but also you’ll be her favorite child again. You will have made her Christmas because you were thoughtful and you…gasp!….actually lifted a finger. Maybe you do care!

She will teach you a valuable lesson. And because, despite the fact you’ve got an iphone in your face all the time, you are smart – you will think, “Hey, if I sent a few more of these maybe I’ll get an even bigger return of love!”

And then the worthy tradition of Christmas cards will be saved.

You don’t have to thank me. Most of you are reading this on a phone, I know it. So really, I haven’t done anything yet.

Nothing gets accomplished until you put the phone down and stay away from social media.

Once you do it the old fashioned way you’ll hopefully come to see how hollow and shallow and temporary or thoughtless social media is.

Editor’s Note: This feature was submitted anonymously by a guest blogger who wanted it published after December 10th. 

  • R
  • December 31, 2017
Truly spoken, for all the change I've seen, very little change is for the better.

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