By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Worthy alternative to Christmas cards

It seems silly to say, but Christmas always arrives at a good time of year.

The great Christian holiday falls four days after the winter solstice, an ancient pagan holiday that generated many of today’s Christmas traditions.

Monday marked the first day of winter — the year’s darkest day, but also beginning six months of steady increases in daylight hours. That concurrence, perhaps, helped shaped the Christian belief in the “new light” of life.

Christmas commemorations date back to A.D. 336, but in America, celebration of Christmas evolved slowly for several decades prior to it becoming a federal holiday in 1870. That makes today the sesquicentennial of this festive national day.

As a religious holiday, Christmas is a beacon of hope shining from such words as found online at Crossroads.com: “There is no doubt this year has been a difficult one for all of us. As we remember the love of God and the gift of Jesus this holiday season, we are able to focus on the hope and joy that we have despite the circumstances that may be surrounding us.”

As a secular holiday, Christmas in America captures and helps preserve traditions of generosity, friendship, love, family strength and the joys of childhood.
One of those traditions, Christmas cards, has been on a 21st century decline. Years ago, citing data from the U.S. Postal Service, reported a 50-plus percent reduction in Christmas card mailings between 2002 (2.9 billion) and 2012 (1.4 billion). Interestingly, that number of cards held and even increased in subsequent years, bolstered from more card-sending by Millennials.

No doubt, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic suppressed delivery of traditional Christmas cards. One response, in the weeks and months of pending vaccinations and social recovery, originates from comments written last year by Good Housekeeping staff writer Lizz Schumer:

“Instead of sending out mass holiday cards, I’m making a concerted effort to connect with the people who really matter to me. Maybe that means writing an email to let them know I’m thinking of them. Perhaps it’ll be a phone call to a relative I haven’t spoken with in a while, or a video chat with a few far-flung friends. More than ever before, it feels important to reach out one-on-one and tell each other how we feel, in a time when so many haven’t gotten that chance. Maybe this holiday, we can all do a little more of that.”

Merry Christmas, and a truly new, new, New Year.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

@@pager@@