Bah humbug and all that

Christmas Tree, Rockerfeller Centre

Christmas Tree, Rockerfeller Centre

I don’t send Christmas cards to the people I work with, even though they may be the people outside of my family that I see most.  I do send Christmas cards to a bunch of people I haven’t seen in more years than I care to remember – and a tiny few to some people I’m unlikely to see even if I remember to care (and fortunately they’re very unlikely to see this blog).  And some people will get online messages: facebook or email.

I can’t even say that I treat any particular social grouping equally: some friends will get cards or messages, and others not – but that doesn’t diminish our friendship.  And there are always “family friends” or distant relatives whose feelings may be hurt if they don’t receive a card with a semi-legible squiggle at the bottom (my handwriting hasn’t improved recently!).

So what exactly is the etiquette of the Christmas card?  Is it time for some guidelines –

  • if you’re just a work colleague then you won’t get a card
  • if I haven’t seen you, spoken to you, emailed you, or even messaged you on facebook in more than five years then you’ll not get a card (even if you got one last year)
  • if most of our interaction is online, then Christmas greetings are equally likely to be online
  • if we just play sports together then you’re unlikely to get a card
  • if we’re directly related then you’ll get a card
  • if we’re distantly related then you might get a card – it rather depends if we’ve been in touch in the last five years
  • if we’re friends (we hang out, go for a drink, visit each other’s house etc) then you’re very likely to get a card

I’d be happy to receive cards and greetings on this basis.  But am I being too simplistic and too logical? Are there finer gradations than this that will even go into the size, quality, and nature of the card sent?

What truly is the etiquette of sending Christmas cards?