Every year I pull up my Christmas card list from the deep recesses of my computer. Every year I am forced to face the same question. At what point can I take someone off the list? There's a few usual suspects I consider removing every year, yet keep them on out of some sort of strange feeling of guilt or desire to show off my kids' smiling mugs.
First, there's the people I don't know. I now that this seems like a no-brainer, but hear me out on this one. There's a couple my in-laws asked us to invite to our wedding and later asked us to send a birth announcement to when our youngest son was born. Apparently, my father-in-law served with the husband in the Air Force and the families were at one time close. After our first child was born, this couple started sending us Christmas cards every year. I'm not just talking a simple, "Merry Christmas, From the X Family." I'm talking a card with the "family letter" plus an additional (long) personal letter. My in-laws no longer keep in touch with this family, but given the effort that this family puts in to keeping in touch with us, I feel obligated to return the favor.
Second, there's the Christmas celebrators who never send a card back. (I'm not counting my nonChristmas-celebrating friends, as I do not expect a card from them and now they like getting our card each year because I hear from them otherwise--phone, email, etc.) I have a few friends who I like keeping in contact with who just "don't send cards" because it's not their "thing." In the past, I have felt like although these friends of mine don't reciprocate the card I want to stay in contact with them, there comes a point when the cute "quirk" is kind of annoying. I mean, do these friends really want me to keep in contact with them if they year after year don't send a card? I have a feeling that they really just don't care about the whole Christmas card thing--giving or getting.
Finally, there's the friends I send to (and send back to me) that I have virtually no relationship with anymore--except for the Christmas card exchange, of course. I have a feeling that I send cards to these folks just to show off my kids, how much weight I've lost, how pregnant I am, etc. A waste, right? If I don't like having these people in my life, why do I send them cards.
So this year, I think I'm going to clean house in my Christmas card list--maybe add some new folks and delete some old...update the folks who have moved and the ones who have divorced. What's up with your holiday card list this year?