“Happy Holidays! Love, My Computer” Did Facebook Kill Christmas Cards?

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Facebook, the holiday card slayer?

Though initially I’d argue that it was e-mail, not social media that has discontinued our Hallmark holiday traditions, this week Slate is pointing a convincing finger at Facebook. “Now, with Facebook so thoroughly insinuated into our lives, we already know where our friends (and our “friends”) went on vacation, what they look like right now, and whether they’ve recently switched jobs,” writes Slate’s Kate Julian. “In 2010, people don’t need to wait for December to brag. They’ve been doing it all year.”

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So true. With the blitz of Internet narcissism now accepted as everyday “sharing,” there is little reason to send out culmination brag-notes to your mailing list, especially if these people are already subscribing to the annotated version of your autobiography via Facebook or Twitter. After all, self-focusing tweets AND self-focusing Christmas cards? Now that would just be too much.

Among Slate’s in-depth breakdown of the holiday card’s slow, public death are the aforementioned Facebook “I know what you did last summer” theory, the e-card triumph and even the fact that women now out number men in the work force and therefore have no time for scrawling Christmas greetings to a list of friends and family.

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The disheartening takeaway buried inside the trend is not the death of the Christmas card, it’s that we no longer deem it important to send out season greetings because we feel that a Facebook post is a sufficient replacement – and perhaps it is, but where does this stop? What other personalized greetings will we ax in lieu of the easier digitalization of our emotions? Love letters? Condolence cards? While birthday and holiday greetings seem reasonable online, there are some acts of correspondence I never want to receive via tweet, blog post or Facebook message, just so long as you all keep posting birthday messages on my Facebook wall…