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Christmas cards

Discussion in 'Personal' started by robyn147, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. When I go to my Dad's house, he has loads of cards up from people who he has known over the years. People who he has known from 20 to 30 years ago. However - the only time he hears from them is at Christmas and it's either a quick note in the card or a round Robin letter. He will never hear from many of them ever again except till next Christmas and won't speak or contact them. It's a bit like they're Facebook friends who you don't really see but still keep informed.
    I have some friends but not many - but I know I will speak to them and see them during the year. I can speak to them about issues I have and ask for advice. That's what I call a friend. I write very few cards - and receive very few cards but the ones I do get are from people who are important to me.
    I sort of can't see the point in getting and writing cards from people who you've known in the past but will probably never see again. Am I missing something? You are not a "friend" - maybe you were in the past but now you are somebody on a Christmas Card list. Is that such a bad thing? Am I just being a very cynical person and should enjoy the fact that my Dad is on so many people's Christmas card lists?
     
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    When I go to my Dad's house, he has loads of cards up from people who he has known over the years. People who he has known from 20 to 30 years ago. However - the only time he hears from them is at Christmas and it's either a quick note in the card or a round Robin letter. He will never hear from many of them ever again except till next Christmas and won't speak or contact them. It's a bit like they're Facebook friends who you don't really see but still keep informed.
    I have some friends but not many - but I know I will speak to them and see them during the year. I can speak to them about issues I have and ask for advice. That's what I call a friend. I write very few cards - and receive very few cards but the ones I do get are from people who are important to me.
    I sort of can't see the point in getting and writing cards from people who you've known in the past but will probably never see again. Am I missing something? You are not a "friend" - maybe you were in the past but now you are somebody on a Christmas Card list. Is that such a bad thing? Am I just being a very cynical person and should enjoy the fact that my Dad is on so many people's Christmas card lists?
     
  3. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    Nope, not cynical at all - just one more aspect of so many peoples' automatom-like behaviour at Christmas - just keep on doing the same thing every year without thought or consideration.
    Now, I am not condemning tradition or nostalgic ways, but the continuation of the truly meaningless is a particular bug-bear of mine.
     
  4. I have a friend whom I have only seen once in the last 43 years (in 1997). The intensity of our relationship in our teens shaped me as a person and forms part of the continuum that is the whole story of my life. Friends represent a huge investment of time and effort on both sides and only a handful will stay the course continuously for life. However, the idea that only those who have lent you money or blown you a kiss in the previous twelve months deserve a Christmas Card shows a failure to understand that people who were friends only briefly are far more important in the scheme of things than people you may meet every day who are never any more than acquaintances.
     
  5. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    The person about which you write, Martin1914, is obviously an important part of your life and therefore does not fall into the meaningless category about which I wrote.
     
  6. I suppose what I am saying is that you don't know whether the relationships were important to your father and the friend/friends at the time. The fact that they are still in Christmas Card communication sggests that thirty years ago they were. It may even have been only one incident of kindness or support that crossed the divide between acquaintance and friendship, but once is enough to place a marker on your heart. People are opaque to each other, and fathers notoriously to their children: perhaps, instead of dismissing these relationships as meaningless, you should sense that they are clues to your father's inner life about which you know nothing, and which may always be concealed from you. People do not send personal cards to someone to someone they never otherwise see unless there is some - however small - residual glow of affection and regard arising from some sharing of experience more than a beer down the pub.
     
  7. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    Ah, but my argument is that they do, from habit
     
  8. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I get 6 or 7 of these cards with notes / letters in and add a few lines of news on my cards to them. It's one of my favourite aspects of Xmas. Although I've not seen them e.g. since college or first job we've shared news about weddings, babies, divorces, second marriages, careers, children's graduations, children's weddings, grandchildren, illness, parents illness . One friendship was reignited 2 years ago and is very important to me now. We are moving back to the area we lived in 30 years ago and have had messages welcoming us back. I've not had time to keep up these friendships properly but I still care for the people and am touched by the events of their lives.
     
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As someone 'of more mature years' probably like your father OP, I do very much treasure friendships from 'days gone by', many from schooldays, but lack of income, distance between us etc prevent us from seeing each other, and for me,the exciting thing about those Christmas cards is the letters inside keeping me up-to-date with how things have been over the past year.
    I do think younger people have a different attitude to friendships, so OP my advice is
    be glad that your father has friends who still care enough about him as a person to continue to contact him, even if it is only once a year.
     
  10. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    Some would argue the pointlessness of sending cards to people you see all the time.
    I have one person who falls into the never see, and will possibly never see again, but I value that small contact with a friend from my childhood.
     
  11. jeswes

    jeswes New commenter

    I think younger people do keep up with news of people through Facebook that the older generation don't have so the cards are important to them. I think it shows people still care about each other and it is nice to receive cards even if circumstances mean you are unlikely to stay in touch at other times of year.
     
  12. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    Does it matter as long as he likes it?
     
  13. Same here!

    I write to people from the past, friends, former neighbours, ex-relatives etc..and they do the same to me! We remember each other at Christmas time and many send letters telling me what they've been up to. It's lovely I think.
    Many who write (and the ones I write to tend to live far away) usually make plans to meet up and when we get together it's like we've never been apart. Some are cards-and-letters-only folk and I doubt if we'll ever meet again unless one or the other of us is in their neighbourhood. That's OK though. It's good to be remembered.
    I don't do Facebook...I have no desire to inform people how I am feeling every time I turn on my PC, nor do I want to be 'friends' with people I can hardly remember from school-days, but I look forward to my cards and newsletters at Christmas. Snail mail means you've made an effort I think.
     
  14. Y'see, I don't see people I've known and liked in the past as 'just someone on a Christmas card list.' I only send cards to people I care about.
    Perhaps that's the difference?
    They might not be in my life much, but I still genuinely like them and some I miss quite a lot. They mean something to me still. I guess I must mean something to them as well, or why would we bother stay in touch? Some people I've known have gone from my life and they don't get a card...but those I liked (yes, past tense) I remember at Christmas time.

     
  15. I wish I'd said that.
    That's exactly what I mean Martin...what a nice turn of phrase.
     
  16. On a purely practical note, when your father dies these are people who need to be notified, who may well turn up at the funeral and who will have the most intereting anecdotes to tell about your father. Then you'll understand.
     
  17. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    That's exactly it in a nutshell. They're so much more than someone on alist or they wouldn't stay on the list and I do cull occasionally if I feel we no longer have anything relevant to say to each other.

     
  18. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    Very true.
    My friend's mother in law died earlier this year. The other day an elderly lady turned up at her house (now lived in by my friend's daughter) with a Christmas card, not knowing that she had died. It turned out that many, many years ago they had been neighbours and when times had been hard for them my friend's mother in law, whose husband worked down the pit, had made sure they didn't go without coal. This lady had never forgotten that kindness but only kept in touch by Christmas cards, sadly she had missed the funeral.
     
  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Some interesting responses. Sometimes I do think it's habit or expectation that cards are sent to people on the list. And of course there are people on there who have meant something to my Dad in the past. I was thinking about my life - I've known a lot of people but have moved round more than I care to think about. Never staying in one place for more than a year I think. This means I've lost contact with many people who have been friends at one point in my life.
    I think to me it's a definition of a friend and friendship as opposed to someone who was a friend in the past but you no longer contact except at Christmas. Do you just fall into habit of sending a card? I'm glad lots of people have lots of friends they can send cards to. It's a bit like Facebook - I've got a few Facebook friends but I know that I don't think I'll see many of those people again. Many are from an old life.
    Maybe it reflects something about me and friendships. A friend to me is someone who you keep regular contact with, talk to and listen to. When you meet up, it's perfectly natural. If I met some people from my past, well it would only be my past we'd have in common. I can think of friends from the past who I would like to meet again but I've lost contact with. But I do have friends here who I don't see very often but I can always meet up with and chat with. If I were to move, would the friendship last or would I move on (out of site, out of mind).
    I'm glad Dad has lots of friends - but I'm not looking forward to contacting them when he pops his clogs. Maybe I just need all their email addresses!!
     
  20. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    robyn, perhaps as you've never stayed in one place for very long, you've never had opportunity to make 'true friends'. The sort you know you can depend on when times are tough. the sort who even if you haven't seen them for 10 years you can just 'pick up the threads with, as though you've never been separated, because of the deep bonds of friendship you forged all those years ago. Those are real friends, the ones who know all your faults and are still willing to stick with you. Those types of friendships can only be forged over a passage of time including 'good times and bad'.
     

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