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December 19, 2013


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Likewise, as recipients, we already have real-time windows into the lives of people thousands of miles away. We already know exactly how they’ve fared in the past year, much more than could possibly be conveyed by any single Christmas card. If a child or grandchild has been born to a former colleague or high school chum living across the continent, not only did I see it within hours on Shutterfly or Instagram or Facebook, I might have seen him or her take his or her first steps on YouTube. If a job was gotten or lost, a marriage made or ended, we have already witnessed the woe and joy of it on Facebook, email and Twitter.

Still, the demise of the Christmas photo card saddens me. It portends the end of the U.S. Postal Service. It signals the day is near when writing on paper is non-existent. Finally, it is part of a decline of a certain quality of communication, one that involved delay and anticipation, forethought and reflection. Opening these cards, the satisfaction wasn’t just in the Peace on Earth greeting, but in the recognition that a distant friend or relative you hadn’t heard from in a year was still thinking about you, and maybe sharing news about major events of the past 12 months.

(MORE: The Best Gift to Give a Kid for Christmas)

We know each other so well now, perhaps too well. And yet, all the time logged into our computers has also taken us away from our nearest and dearest. Who can say they spent as much time looking into the eyes of family, friends and neighbors as into the colorful phone or laptop screen last year? This season, in lieu of sending cards, my winter holiday greeting at the end of 2012 will be this: after posting the obligatory seasonal wishes online on Christmas Eve, I will be clicking off the electronic messaging services, and trying to connect in person with my friends, neighbors and family members for a change.

Source: ideas.time.com

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