Is the sending of Christmas cards a bit passé?


Last year we still sent some paper Christmas cards by real post but there ain’t as many now of us as there were a while ago. It is a habit dating back years ago before people became mobile and visit each other. Wishing ‘Happy Christmas’ by e-mail can now be put into a ‘Cloud’ app, whereby it will be done automatically each year to everyone in your address book.  I already get daily reminders of birthdays which include people I never heard off. I made the mistake of wishing an unknown person a happy birthday and I got a reply; ‘Who the f**k are you’?

The super-market shops are quick of the mark, this year. I noticed this morning when getting some softening medication that all the cashiers were wearing floppy green and red cone shaped knitted hats and something sparkling pinned on their shirts. All suggestive of the coming festivities. I have as yet be grabbed by the Christmas spirit. We do remember last year’s vow to not buy any ham, no matter how often it has been smoked. I do hope people will remain calm this Christmas and not ram their shopping trolleys in my shins and belt their kids.

Helvi asked me if we had any plans. I answered we should cook the Indian Raan marinated whole leg of lamb dish again. Our daughter usually gets the fruit for the pavlova.  The Raan is a North Indian dish, a bit spicy and somewhat sweet with lots of taste resulting from the lamb being marinated in the fridge over a couple of days by lots of lemon juice, yoghurt, garam masala,  some raisins, chilli, cinnamon, almonds. It is served with basmati rice and a nice crispy salad.

The grandsons love it. I remember that one of them, many years ago, after we had eaten climbed on the table and started licking the oven dish in which the leg of lamb had been cooked. It takes about three hours to slow cook this dish.

You will make friends and the dish will be talked about for years. Try it.

The one thing I find almost inedible are those sickly sweet mince pies. Who the hell invented those? At first, when told the name, thought they had some meat in them. Can you imagine my horror after biting into them. Last year, we had some offered at a Christmas party. I took one out of politeness and still infused with gentle Christmas spirit. When the host wasn’t looking, put it in my hanky. I hope she won’t read this!

It is amazing what hankies can be used for at times.

36 Responses to “Is the sending of Christmas cards a bit passé?”

  1. lifecameos Says:

    Some people just like Christmas cards. A few years ago I sent Christmas wishes and notes by email to all the friends with email, and some of them still replied with cards. now still have a duwl list – some cards, some emails.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, people like to get the cards. I remember after arriving in 1956 in Australia that our neighbours put Christmas cards poking through the venetian blinds. In Holland we always have the windows open without curtains. ‘We have nothing to hide’, they say.
      At first we thought that our neighbours wanted us to read their Christmas cards and that was the reason for poking them through the blinds. However, when we encroached on their property, they took it as if we were invading their ‘privacy’.

      The vertical blinds must be a real handicap for those that want to show their popularity receiving so many Christmas cards.

      We send real Christmas cards at the very end and relent each year, despite swearing we will not do it again. It is a ritual really.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I send cards every year just because I like to send pretty cards. I hardly get any but that is ok. Your dish sounds delicious but I don’t eat lamb, beef, or pork, Mostly I am vegan but rarely will eat fish or chicken.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. leggypeggy Says:

    I’m determined to send some cards this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    HA! You make me laugh out loud, Gerard! 😀

    And I have wondered and pondered that same question about mince pies! 😀

    I need to follow your lead and go buy a hankie to keep in my purse before all of the holiday parties begin! 😛

    I send fewer cards than I did years ago…but I still send a few to close family and friends.

    Thank you for the recipe link!
    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…I’m still laughing about the grandson who climbed on the table to “lick the platter clean”! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. urban liaisons Says:

    Postcards are something real which can be touched and smelt or even being put at a wall for decoration and remembrance. But it is a slow medium, too slow nowadays for a lot of people. Taking such time today again promoted by the slow-food movement as a step to profound experiences of life – a new fashion. Nice weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We came across a box of old Christmas cards. I asked H why we kept them in a box. I suppose much of those sort of boxes end up at flea-markets. No doubt much of our stuff will end up being sniffed through in years to come at market stalls.
      I still have my Dad’s tobacco container made from bamboo. It still smells of tobacco and of him.
      Nice week-end too.


  6. Julia Lund Says:

    I send cards but probably only every couple of years or so.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    We are repeating last year’s resolve and send no cards. We received fewer as well. The lamb dish sounds very exotic and interesting I may give it a go. Certainly no ham or turkey here. The Christmas spirit has hit Dr. A, but I am waiting it out for a bit.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but as I age, Christmas spirit takes it toll. I might just take an extra sip of buttermilk this year. It just proves how far things have gone. Kayti.
      Yes, the Raan dish is very special. Nice with sliced cucumber too.


  8. Andrew Says:

    My late grandmother used to get about 200 real cards each Christmas. As she got older (died aged 97) the numbers fell away as the post from beyond was less reliable but nowadays if we get a single card it is remarkable. Usually just an exchange of virtual greetings. I am longing for the time when Christmas is virtual and I can unplug the router.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That’s true. We all shuffle towards the letter box, let alone to the post office, and that makes a dent in sending Christmas cards.

      I still write ‘card only’ on the envelope, frightened I might get overcharged. As if!


  9. Forestwoodfolk Says:

    I have given up on cards. But i do appreciate if someone sends one to me. Merry Christmas Gerard!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. gerard oosterman Says:

    Merry Christmas to you too, Amanda.


  11. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I remember drooling when you first wrote about that lush sounding lamb dish. It must have been on one of your blog posts about 4 years ago I think. I’ve still to make it and one of the reasons that I haven’t yet is because lamb is so hard to find in this part of Spain. As for Christmas cards, I love receiving them but I’m hopeless at getting my act together to write and send them. That said, its still early December so if I pull my finger out…

    Liked by 3 people

  12. shoreacres Says:

    I do like to send cards, and your mention of them is a reminder that I’d best get the ones to Canada and England in the mail el pronto.

    We always saved cards from year to year when I was young. For one thing, they provided the basis for any number of wonderful art projects. I distinctly remember cutting the wreaths from cards and using them to decorate a photo frame. I can’t remember what I put in the frame, but I know that I gave it to my mother. I don’t have a clue what happened to it — tossed in a cleaning, no doubt.

    Another custom that seems to be coming back is painting store windows. I’ve seen some lovely ones recently. There’s nothing quite like seeing snow scenes painted on windows in south Texas, but what the heck? It’s fun, and cheery as can be.

    I’m no lover of lamb or mutton, but I do like my peppermints, and I’ve just discovered something wonderful: Wilhelmina peppermints from Holland. I’d been fussing about how I couldn’t find the perfect mint, and a friend put me on to them. Of course Amazon had them, so I ordered, and now I have that lovely blue and white tin sitting on a shelf across the living room. I had it on my desk, but decided the mints were entirely too accessible, so I moved them. They are good. They don’t have that sticky-sweet aftertaste of so many, and they’ll help me deal with my obsession with peppermint ice cream.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The one memory somewhat related to your creative use of old Christmas cards is the making of ‘kijk-dozen.’ or looking boxes in English.

      I used to get a shoe box and after taking of the lid covered it with colourful cellophane paper. In the box itself I made Christmas scenes with generous use of cotton wool indicating snow.

      They were truly magical and I thought so highly of them I took them around the neighbourhood and let them be viewed for a small price.

      That earned me some pocket money which came in handy around Christmas time. I used the money to buy bangers and crackers which were let off on New Year’s Eve, another fabulous memory.

      There are very few communal celebrations held on the streets, now-a-days. I wonder why? I remember public dancing on the streets back in Holland. Perhaps European cities are so much denser with more people living close to each other.

      Perhaps suburbs don’t lend themselves to public exuberance and expressions of joy and happiness.

      I am glad you like the Dutch peppermints and the blue box I remember well.


  13. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Last year we received six physical cards and one bullshit Email donation thing. “Season’s Greetings. This year we decided to donate our usual Christmas cards and postage to Charity X”.

    Translation: “We haven’t got the time to think of something individual for all our Outlook contacts – much less write anything down. This way we get it all done with one Email and we can get back to making a quid.”

    This year, I’m predicting four cards. Family wise, there’s been a bit of attrition at the top end with only one Grandparent / great grandparent still clinging to the perch.

    Hers will definitely be one of our cards, the Goddess Bless her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, same here. The numbers of cards that dwindle are in exact proportion to the funerals attended, Trouserzoff.

      Some of my indoor bowling mates now pick up the bowls with a handy gadget but mostly still manage to bend down to bowl. No one takes notice if some hurry in between to answer calls of nature. The only action that seems to increase in frequency.

      You know, my older brother Frank died last week in his sleep.
      I wrote extensively of his stay in Australia and especially the Callan Park era and his subsequent stay in Holland since 1974.

      A consummate smoker till the last, when staff finally refused to roll him outside in the bitter cold and Dutch rain.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Big M Says:

        Sorry to hear about Frank. I hope his last months and years were pleasant. At least he escaped the medieval torture of our Australian mental health system.

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Thanks, Big M.

        Yes, and after all those years we are still stuck in not being able to care for the mentally ill.

        Frank could be quite dangerous when having his episodes and needed life-long care. At the same time, after he arrived in Holland he was put in an institution, but also was made to join a soccer club, went on accompanied holidays, had his own independent income and own room, TV, medical care, saw regularly a dentist, had podiatry care, was taken to see his mother.

        As the above link shows, in Australia the mentally ill often end up in jail as there are hardly any suitable facilities for them.


  14. Big M Says:

    Gerard, can you imagine my disappointment when I first tucked into a mince pie to find it entirely devoid of mince? Filthy bloody things. Of course most of us don’t realise that all of these traditional Christmas delicacies are based on making the best out of the rotting stuff at the back of the pantry in a Northern mid winter. With modern refrigeration we have our pick of the world’s cuisine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yet, the mince pies are still being sold, Big M. Even as late as yesterday I saw a woman brazenly pick them up at Aldi’s. I looked at her and she did not even look away.
      They are so sweet they don’t need refrigeration. I have a very large hanky in case a social situation arises whereby I am offered one of those mince pie. Of course, if there are any indoor plants I might well sneak one in a geranium or Spathiphyllum.


  15. Curt Mekemson Says:

    The lamb sounds delicious, Gerard.
    When I was a youngster, my brother shot a deer and my mother used the neck meat to create mince meat pies, which I found rather delicious. No spit it out in the hanky for me. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Big M Says:

      Ah, venison, so many traditional meats we miss out on in Australia. Of course they are starting to creep in via Woolies and Coles!


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        So, I read Woolies and Coles and thought you were talking about local wildlife, Big M. Naturally I had to look it up, and then laughed to discover you were talking about stores. –Curt


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: