Holiday Cards: Making Enemies One Blog Post at a Time


Hold on to your hats for this one. I’m fairly certain I’m either going to make enemies with this blog post or at least ruffle a bunch of feathers.

Holiday Cards. Let’s chat about them.

Do you send them? Love receiving them? Spend almost your entire year crafting and looking for the perfect picture to put on them? Sending holiday cheer via a holiday card is the thing to do these days. OR rather, let me be more specific—more often than not, people are sending holiday cards with a family picture and computerized signature. There’s no actual signature with an actual pen. There’s no, “Hey Heather, how are you? How is your family? So good to hear everyone is healthy and well.”

People put more effort into crafting the perfect picture for their holiday card than actually thinking about the people for whom they are sending said cards.

Are you getting my drift? If not, let me be even more blunt: I’m tired of getting holiday cards from everyone with just the family picture and a computerized signature. I want to know more about how you’re doing. I want you to ask me how we’re doing. I’m so tired of the mass produced photo picture holiday cards with no actual personalization. When I receive your card, I see your gorgeous children and your gorgeous family and I feel lonely and hollow.

Of course I love seeing you and your children, or you and your dog, but your card tells me nothing about you or what you’ve been up to since we last spoke. And while a picture can say a thousand words, sometimes it just doesn’t say anything.  Have we become so “McDonaldized” that during the one major time of year of good spirit and cheer we can’t even take the time to hand write a note of good will, good tidings, or good wishes?

Are you still reading this post? Are you irritated with me and my words? It’s ok. I was pretty harsh in that last paragraph.

Here’s the deal…I really like hearing from you. My heart flutters a little when I see the envelope in the mailbox and I know it’s a holiday card. I like getting mail. I’m eager to see my friends and my family and hear how they are doing. You’ve taken the effort to put me on your Christmas card list and, I know, deep down inside I mean something to you.  I just wish we could all take a little more time to make each other feel more important. A simple personalized, handwritten note is all it takes. I have one friend who always sends a photo holiday card, but at the bottom of the card she writes something like, “Love seeing pictures of your kids on Facebook and it sounds like Vermont is treating you well.”

Boom. And just like that I know she has thought of me for just a few extra minutes during her busy day. And I’m all warm and cozy and filled with good holiday spirit.

holiday card 1

In full disclosure and now I’m really setting myself up for your pure contempt: I don’t even send holiday cards. I don’t even make the effort like my fellow friends and family. So look at me…the pot calling the kettle black. Here I am on my soapbox and I’m nothing but a holiday hypocrite.  A holiday scrooge, if you will.

I realize that taking the time to actually put together and send cards take effort. I know this because as a child I have vivid memories of my mother sending holiday cards every year. She would sit down every night for a week and take the time to write a small note inside each card. All of the holiday cards that were sent to us were collected and deposited in a basket on the table. I would sit and gently open each one, admiring the card selection, tracing my finger over the flocked glittered snow or squinting to decipher the fancy cursive message written on the inside.  I knew it was the holidays and I felt warm, anxious with anticipation of homemade cookies, Christmas Eve gatherings…snow.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I am constantly clinging to my youth that I want to receive cards that are hand-written…as if they will bring me back to “those” days. Maybe in this world of the infinite scroll (i.e. facebook), and text messages, and selfies, I just want to break away from the inevitable era of technology just for a few weeks.

Every day that I check the mail I want to be transported and enveloped by a picture and a personal message of love from a friend from afar (or even across the street).  I won’t send you a thank you card for the card but know that I’ve been touched. Lordy be, I’m getting all emotional and vulnerable up in here.

If you haven’t already closed this blog post and written me off as an angry woman with a lot of baggage, then perhaps you will try something new this year: Go ahead and send holiday cards. Design them any way you choose. Send them at will. But before you send, write a small note: tell them how your family is fairing this year, ask your recipient something about themselves, heck…doodle a picture.

And yes, the Polifka-Rivas Family will be debuting our first ever holiday card this year.

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Heather is originally from upstate New York but her family returned to Vermont 4 years ago. They have lived in NYC and Chicago the past 10+ years and are happy to be back in Vermont. Heather's previous jobs as a starving actor in NYC, package design guru at Estee Lauder, and advisor to fortune 500 companies at Chicago’s top business school have not prepared her for her current job today: stay at home mom to Henry (7) and Ruby (3). A self proclaimed foodie, Heather spends her "many" hours of free time preparing elaborate meals, eating out, tending to her garden, canning it's bounty and willing her one tapped maple tree to weep more sap. She is also a mother runner.


  1. I agree!! Being European, The frustration is not only for the holidays: what’s up with all these cards with a pre-printed message inside? And then you just hand sign and send it out?! I have a hard time feeling the LOVE when I get such a birthday card. Although it still is the hassle of finding a card, writing the address, finding a stamp, mailing the card and that is a lot in today’s age.

    my daughter and I handcraft our cards and that also means…only 3 have actually gone out yet, and we have only made maybe 10-13 so far…thank God for a good husband who just buys cards and writes a bote amd gets it done. So I do get the value of just getting it done and feel bad for all the cards I have not sent out yet 🙂 the challenge too is that nowadays people know way more people than they would before…or maybe want to send way more cards. Something has to give.

  2. I loved watching my Mom send out cards every year and actually started sending out my own card when I was in High School. I like sending mail and I like making sure that people know I’m thinking of them.

    This year my son is an adventurous 18 month old who somehow has all the energy in the world. It makes it a lot harder to send out cards with messages but I super try to write something on the back of our family picture cards. My family and friends always tell me they love the cards and thanks for thinking of them but for every 10 cards I send out I will only get maybe one if I’m lucky. I wish more people did them and I wouldn’t mind if they just had a one liner in them. It’s so much nicer than a text message in this tech-based world we live in. But I think I’m just super old fashioned.

  3. Great! I was waiting to read your post about this before writing out my cards, haha! I like your point about thinking of the person receiving the card. After all, these are the people we choose to stay connected to throughout lifetimes – I’m going to be more thoughtful as I write them this year. Great post!

  4. Love the post ! I don’t send cards either. I’d much rather get a phone call every few months than get a computerized card. If I need to see her your kids look like in a card then we don’t see each other enough


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