Last year I received the fewest holiday cards ever.

Since it’s that time of year to think about sending year-end correspondence, I wonder who I will hear from this year and who I won’t. It also makes me wonder why people have stopped this tradition; or maybe I was just cut from their list.

According to Hallmark, in the early 2000s about 2 billion Christmas cards were sent by people in the United States, with that number dropping to 1.18 billion in 2015. Today, it’s about 1.3 billion.

Hallmark’s website says, “Christmas is the largest card-sending holiday in the United States.”

My parents sent holiday letters for eons. It was a recap of the highlights of the year, with photos of all six of us and usually the dog. Then it became cards with the photo of the two of them. Now mom does some of her greetings via email.

I sent Christmas cards for years; with a few handwritten sentences on them. Somewhere along the line I started writing my own letter to send to family and friends.

Eventually I bypassed the U.S. Postal Service, instead opting to send my annual news via email. (For the peeps who don’t do electronic mail, I put a stamp on an envelope.)

When I stopped celebrating Christmas I started emailing my greetings on New Year’s Day.

I have been contemplating skipping sending a letter this year. It isn’t written, so who knows what I will ultimately decide. Part of me wants to keep the letter tradition alive because I know how much I enjoy hearing from people.

Some on my list are people who I only hear from at the holidays. We still care about each other, have some shared past, but just aren’t really involved in each other’s lives.

Others on my list I’m doing a better job of staying connected with throughout the year, but still don’t necessarily know all that is going on. I love reading about whatever has happened in the past year to someone I care about, whether it’s sad or happy, good or bad.

I suppose the important thing isn’t so much about connecting at the holidays, but reaching out to those who mean something to you throughout the year. A simple text or email, a postcard, a letter, even a phone call.

I think we could probably all do a little better at being present in the lives of those we care about.

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