Holiday Card Psychology


I met an armchair expert yesterday for a cup of hot chocolate and to discuss the psychology of holiday cards.  She lacks any relevant crediantials but is opinionated and has been around long enough to know how things work.  She was wearing dark jeans, ballet flats, a navy wax jacket and red tartan scarf.  I am only telling you this because this is how they do it in Vogue.  We shall call her Madame X.  Here's what I learned.

Madame X, thank you for sitting down with me. What can you tell our mannerly readers about holiday cards these days?
Well, Darling, like most aspects of life in these modern times, it's completely out of control.

How so?
Surely you have noticed how the fabulosity factor has overtaken the once genuine and sincere craft of connecting with people and wishing those far away from us a Merry Religious-Observance-Of-Their-Choice and a Happy New Year?  Now one starts by trying to come up with  a collection of words one hopes to be slightly festive yet completely inoffensive to the entire planet.  From there it is all about the glossy photos and beauty shots.  How many people even write notes on their cards any more? 

Not many I know.  Although some send a printed letter.
Yes!  I mean NO!  And what do those printed letter say?  Lalala... we spent the winter skiing, the summer beaching, our children are brilliant (!) fabulous (!), and as you can judge from the attached 32 picture photo collage, dramatically good-looking.  


So, you are an advocate for fewer pictures on a holiday card?
First of all, I know you talked about the rule of three in this blog at one point.  And really, never is this more true than with a holiday card. 

Meaning there should be no more than three photos on a holiday card?
Exactly.  And really just one.  If one is keeping score, and trust me, this has become something of a sport in many houses, maximum points are give for one good photo of everyone over many good shots of each family member. 

But what if there is one child, shall we say,  hamming it up?
That my dear, is what we call "representative of the moment" and something you might want to consider saving for his/her rehearsal dinner. 


Did you see the piece in the WSJ today about the holiday photo card industry?
Yes.  It was a good study of this phenomenon.  Ironically, it did not discuss the e-card option as found on Paperless Post.  This is the method to which I hope to be migrating in the near future.  Not only is it much less cher (my Dear) but green as well.  En fin, as for having oneself featured in that article, you know what I say, fools names and fools faces...

So I take it you are not a fan of Reality TV?
That, my friend, is another topic for another day.  


Thank you and Merry Christmas.
 Merry Christmas to you. 

1 comment:

Kate said...

Phew. I did remember that rule of 3 and there are 3 photos on my glossy over-the-top Christmas card with no room for a handwritten personal note--one main photo and two smaller ones. Does that show some restraint? I also included a note written on a flat card to my out of town friends who aren't on FB. I take Christmas card production very seriously and love receiving them. But I do think your chic friend has a few good points, particularly the inoffensive word selection!

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