Many of us have just come off the season of greeting cards to and from family, friends and business contacts, wishing them happy holidays, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and/or happy New Year. We have a nice collection of cards sitting in a basket that we will review when we have time later this month. Reading through the cards during the Christmas hustle is a little off putting, so to calmly sit and talk over each card and the people who sent it is a nice winter evening activity. Yes, we are getting old.

This does, however, make me think a lot about cards in general and the custom of sending them.

The thing that surprises me, well, not really, is that the holiday theme has been upstaged by pictures of entire families or just the couple or the grandkids or maybe a trip to some foreign place and there is a picture of both people in their fins and snorkel outfits.

It appears that the picture and the letter have done away with pictures of churches, Santa and his sleigh and, of course, Jesus himself, to say nothing of the rest of that family and the entourage following along.

I am interested in this simply because if there is anything I dread it is the sending of Christmas cards. I think of a family picture with some reservation, thus always too late. The Christmas letter tends to be a tricky balance between pride and modesty. Then there are the stamps that go up in price constantly and addresses that I still hand write. I am not alone in this since we have gotten calls this season saying they would rather talk to us than send a card. Then if ever we don’t send a card (it has happened) we get calls in February asking if everything is all right. I actually love sending cards for birthdays, anniversaries, support in times of worry, etc. I spend many dollars on cards of all kinds and buy them year round.

My husband has always favored the fold-out accordion-type card. One says we have shared all kinds of good and bad things for the last 55 years and yet he still loves me. To be honest, I am not a fan of fold-outs. Of course, we now have the musical cards that once opened will blast out “Rock Around the Clock” or “American Pie.” The first one I ever opened I just loved, but after the third or fourth I found them a bit too much – and very expensive.

I hope all the wonderful card companies, local artists, recycling people and everyone else in the card business will continue to create lovely, funny and even raunchy cards. They remain important even in this technological world. Isn’t it uplifting to go to the mail box and find a card that asks how you are, urges you to get well or says “sorry about your dog”?

Appreciate the thought and kindness. Sometimes it’s all we’ve got. As they say, it’s all in the cards.

— Special to the Press Herald