The Slow Old Days

Christmas cards with angels, scandinavian “nis...

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By Maureen “Shawn” Kennedy, interim editor-in-chief

On this past Monday at Slate, writer Kate Julian, lamenting that her mailbox was devoid of cards this season, asked, “Did Facebook Kill the Christmas Card?” She went on to detail all the ways people can connect online nowadays, making a case that the traditional “here’s what I’ve been doing all year” card is going the way of the little black address book and pocket calendar.

I’m not so sure we can put all the blame on Facebook. In my own case, I was (and still am) unprepared. I just know Christmas came earlier this year—I don’t know how they did it, but somehow the calendar seemed to do one of those Star Wars hyperspeed jump things, where lights whiz by and you’ve jumped light years ahead. I remember Halloween, and then there was Thanksgiving . . . but wasn’t that just last week?

Or maybe it only seems that way because with technology we can now work more efficiently and be more productive in less time. But where IS all this time I’m saving with technology?

This time of year makes me think of childhood Christmases, but not so much my own. My mother grew up in a small New England town during the 1930s; it was always cold and snowy. It was a mill town and no one had money to spare, so gifts were homemade and simple—jams, breads, cakes, knitted and crocheted items, and maybe a lap cover. It was less about gifts and more about the gesture of giving something that was useful and meaningful; there was lots of visiting and “dropping in” and spending some time catching up.

Now we can e-mail and text and post updates, and we probably know more about friends and strangers today than we did before—but I wonder, is it the stuff worth knowing? Do I really care about what Mary’s doing on Saturday, or what kind of car Jim bought? What about how they’re doing since their parents died? When was the last time we had a real conversation?

I think most of the time I’ve saved is now spent online. I think I just found my New Year’s resolution.

I have to confess, I sent e-cards this year. They were homemade, though . . .

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2016-11-21T13:14:34+00:00 December 22nd, 2010|Nursing|2 Comments
Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. Peggy December 22, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    I actually cheated this year… I’m spending a month at my Mom’s house before I transfer out of the country for work. I actually wrote messages to folks on her previously addressed Christmas cards… I know- Bad! I only felt guilty for a few minutes though when I realized I had more time to spend with my mom. I’m hoping she will spend next Christmas with us in Australia, maybe she’ll bring her cards… 😉

  2. Gail Pfeifer December 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I have always thought it would be great if we could find a way to insert February in between November and December, so I could have more time between the big family holidays. But then I might just spend the extra time online, working, instead of savoring the space. So I suppose it’s best to just let February stay where it is….I’d love to hear what other nurses are doing to slow down and enjoy the holidays.

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