Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

In Defense of E-Cards for Christmas Greetings

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am writing in defense of e-cards for the Christmas holiday. People say they are impersonal, but I disagree. I write everyone’s name on their email, and I write a short message to everyone.

While I will never complain about what form of communication my friends choose to use, I find most holiday cards have nothing written on them, let alone a personal greeting, and most have printed labels, so the writer has hardly even given the recipient a thought.

I enjoy writing an email to accompany my e-card, and thinking of that person and my memories of them. Because e-cards are less expensive, and there is no postage, I am able to keep my list as large as I want it, without having to cut anyone when finances are tight. My greeting can be printed if the recipient wishes, or just read, enjoyed and deleted, which is perfect, too.

GENTLE READER: You are in for a disappointment if you expect Miss Manners to argue that the form is more important than the content in regard to something as informal as Christmas greetings.

The paper Christmas card can be charming, but not if it lacks the point, which is to show people whom you rarely see that you still think of them. Cards that contain only a signature or, Miss Manners will argue, a family photograph, without reference to the recipient, are not charming. And there are those who persist in addressing them to people they barely remember.

So your method of writing something personal is fine -- provided your e-cards are not the animated sort that take up time and space on the computer, annoying grouches like Miss Manners.