This year my wife and I got out ahead of the game and took our "holiday card picture" back in November. This was extremely helpful since it eliminated last year's stress of scrambling through a year's worth of photos to find a decent one. (The winning pic required some clever cropping.) With our photo ready to go, the format chosen, (thanks to tiny prints) we were ready to lick, stamp, and mail. The only thing left to do was to review "The List."
Originally our holiday card mailing list was a derivation of our wedding invite list; we figured the folks interested in watching us exchange vows would appreciate seeing the fruits of our union on annual basis. But after a few years I started throwing in work colleagues and people who were good "connections" for one reason or another. Soon the list was growing unwieldy, the tradition was getting out of hand, not too mention expensive. We had to pair down and assess, do we really need to send THIS person a card? For some advice on how to proceed I talked to my friend and Sachs holiday card recipient Sarah Maizes. Sarah also happens to write the popular blog "Mommy Lite" and is author of the book Got Milf? She told me if folks don't get a holiday card from her it's because of one of three reasons:
1) I don't have your address.
2) I don't know you well enough to send you something without looking like a stalker.
3) I just don't like you that much any more.
Sarah says her big litmus test is whether or not she really cared to get a card back. She recounted a story of a friend whom she had a falling out with and yet still sent her card (she believes accidentally, since it was sent on a printed address label). Sarah said receiving the card actually caused her stress and pain. Yuck!
So in consideration of the feelings of both our feelings and the feelings of our recipients, my wife and I came up with three additional criteria for knocking someone off our list:
1) Sending you a card feels like we're trying too hard to maintain a relationship that's let's admit it isn't really there anymore.
2) We're buddies, but you don't have kids and we know you don't have too much interest in being reminded that we do.
3) The surprised reaction you gave us last year when you received our card made us realize we were reaching a little too far.
So the cards are out and our consciences clear. As for those people in my life that fall into that space between pal and acquaintance, they may be off "The List" but they can always be my "friend" on Facebook...