I write a monthly column over at AlliOSNews. It’s a techie site – extolling all the goodies and gunpowder on the Apple OS. (SHINY TOY!) I’m TechMom. And these are my stories on how technology is really used. This is what you must deal with, as I am a Silicon Valley nerd by day.
I’m well aware it’s Wednesday. TechMom Tuesday is typically published the first Tuesday of every month, except for this month when it was posted on the second Thursday (still under the Tuesday title). I reserve the right to rant more or less as the technical goings-on, well…go on.)
Time is once again upon us all for the annual extravaganza of holiday letters. I’ve faithfully (and excitedly) sent one out every year since we’ve been a family of four (six if you count the dogs).
There was a time when the annual Christmas letter was quite a thing. It was a way to keep those acquaintances up to date on your life – look how big the kids are getting! Time passed and friendships faded, but we didn’t want to completely lose touch with those once a larger part of life.
Households would happily await the notes from somebody that we used to know. We’d gather around the kitchen table mocking the tiny font prose about perfect children, perfect jobs and perfect lives alongside the cheesy family photograph documenting proof of the passage of time.
Technology has changed all that.
We keep in touch with former classmates via Facebook. We post status updates with pictures of the kids on each holiday throughout the year. In addition to documenting our daily meals, Instagram provides the means to prove the passage of time.
There’s Twitter where we connect with friends and strangers alike – in two sentence witty bursts – sharing crazy comments out of the mouths of babes (and Cheerios for breakfast).
As life settled around our MTV generation, technology took up a large chunk of time and the art of letter writing faded away into oblivion. Even email has become passé – a necessary evil of “old-timey” business memorandums and e-commerce order confirmations/spam.
Written history is now documented in 140 character snippets replete with typos and grammar crimes. (With the exception of well-written blogs like the one you’re reading of course.)
Christmas cards have become a simple photo card. Technology has once again stepped forward, making easy to create a holiday card. Simply open iPhoto, select your favorite snapshot and add some festive text. Click order and voila.
I always sent out a letter with my family photo. It’s supposed to be a way to keep loved ones in the loop, chronicling the year’s highlights. As I went to select this years photo and draft my perfect family missive, it occurred to me that the same people I send these too are those I’m connected with online. And as far as updating people on what’s going on in my life – I do wax poetic in this online blogosphere quite a bit.
Are Christmas Cards still relevant?
Sure, I could send an e-card. (Are those still a thing?) A small contingent of people still aren’t online. And there is magic in corresponding with those you truly don’t hear from very often. I could complain about the price of postage, but even my apparently Scrooge-like heart can’t deny the joy of receiving “real” mail (i.e. not a bill or PennySaver mailer).
Some people adorn the mantle with the festive holiday portraits. Others pile them up in the adult version of middle school valentines day popularity contest when kids counted how many To:/From: pre-printed cartoon sweetie-puns were dropped in the homemade shoebox mailbox with Smarties taped to the back.
So too is the annual holiday mailing a great excuse to update your address book. Of course, usually you only need to update your address book so you can send the printed photo that everyone on your buddy list saw last Thursday…
What say you? I am turning to technology to ask your thoughts on whether or not the annual holiday letter still matters. Should I send one?