Every year I send Christmas cards to my family and friends around the world. It is a very important tradition for me: one which I wish to keep for the rest of my life. I wrote my first Christmas card at the age of six when it was a school tradition to write to your close friends in class, so if someone received no Christmas card at all, it meant a serious problem. Fortunately, since the time I started writing Christmas cards, I receive Christmas cards every year.
It is always nice to receive Christmas cards; keeping them, however, is a different story. Most Christmas cards either end up in the recycling bin or in a dark corner with all the other forgotten items in a storage room or garage. Christmas cards which people would dispose of at first sight are those commercial ones: mass produced, printed with company logos, with no hand-writing, even the stamps are digital-stickers; cold, like they were not even written by human beings. To those, I never bother to reply.
Christmas cards that we keep would be those from people we know: “They still remember me”. Perhaps deep down we all anticipate receiving something from friends and relatives, not necessarily a Christmas card; sometimes even a short message could trigger emotions of gratitude, “yes, they still remember me”. It is good to be remembered, better when you are still alive.
Yet, anticipation is one thing, reality is another; we simply do not receive as many Christmas cards as we wish. People nowadays seldom write Christmas cards, the outcome then, is minimization; we still ‘send’ ‘Christmas cards’, in an informatics era this comes in handy: an email, an app, or simply a social media status update – “Merry Christmas, world”.
Then we may tell ourselves that we still manage to keep the little tradition of Season’s Greetings alive; we talk about as many Christmas traditions we can think of: Christmas trees, Santa Claus (St. Nicolas), Christmas carols, Snowman, Jesus Christ (of course), Christmas Eve Mass… Yet, what does Christmas really mean to us? I have no intention of giving a lecture on ‘the true meaning of Christmas’. On Christmas cards, what I find matters most is always the content; to me, a Christmas card without content is like Christmas without Jesus. Content can be anything, anything truthful; for it is the closest thing we can do to speaking something face to face: To thank someone, to remind someone, to share something; to share love. The little mistakes you make in writing does not change the truthfulness: sorry if I misspelled your name, it’s been a long time, but I still remember you; sorry that I didn’t come to your wedding, I am too busy with work, but it’s Christmas and I wanted to wish you and your family all the best. Make a promise: a promise that you will keep in touch. It is very sad to be forgotten.
I write Christmas cards every year to old and new friends to remind them that they have got a friend in me, as well as to encourage them to share the idea of sending Christmas greetings to their friends, and to me. Christmas bears much more meaning than merely a religious belief; Christmas is a joyful season, the joy we celebrate is the birth of a new born child.
Wong Tsz, from Hong Kong; is a musician, a researcher, a dreamer. He graduated with a BA in Language and Translation, is completing a MA in Euroculture, and will now pursue a PhD in Musicology.