Every family has its own Christmas traditions, and I love that we enjoy so many of them. In our family making sugar cookies decorated with sprinkles is one thing I do with the kids every year at Christmas, and Bill and the kids make buckeyes, or peanut butter balls with the peanut butter showing through the chocolate at the top. These are just two of many, including decorating the tree, watching Elf, and looking at other people’s Christmas light displays.

I wouldn’t list Christmas cards as one of our big traditions. Maybe because it isn’t something we sit down to do together as a family. But I love opening up the mailbox this time of year and getting cards from friends scattered all over the state and country. Most of them send pictures of their kids, and I love it when there’s a little note about what they’re up to. It’s a great way to stay in touch.

I have to admit, there are times when I wonder if it’s worth the effort to send Christmas cards, when so many of us are logged onto Facebook, and we see our friends’ kids smiling faces at different activities all through the year. Doesn’t social media do the job that Christmas cards used to do, helping us keep up with friends who are scattered across the country, who we might not talk to on a daily, or even monthly, basis, but we still care about?

My answer to that question is, no. Facebook doesn’t do what Christmas cards do. Those personalized cards are still worth it.

Granted, my list is pretty short, and really only includes close friends who live in other states. But the reason for sending these little missives through the mail year after year encompasses more than what Facebook can bring. For one thing, it’s more personal. Sure, I can post a picture of Caroline in her first band concert, or Carter singing at the Veteran’s Day service at school, and all my “friends” will see it. And by all, I mean those who happen to see my post in their newsfeed during the time they log on. So will my friends see it? Maybe, maybe not. Also, with Facebook, we lose the personal touch. Most Christmas cards include more than we’re willing to share with the world on Facebook, the details of your life that really speak to who you are.

So the next couple of nights I will spend a few hours writing letters and addressing envelopes. It’s just one way of spreading a little love and good cheer this time of year. Something that can’t be replaced by Facebook.

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