Christmas message

Can I skip giving cards and presents this year and just post a Christmas message on social media, or is that rude?

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Being in lockdown means I’m unlikely to see many of my friends over the Christmas period. I usually buy them a small gift and get them card. However this year do you think it’s OK just to send a generic Christmas message on social media? Maybe a short video? It would save me both time and money, and I won’t be there to see the disappointment on their faces.

Ask Marvin
Ask for advice from an agony uncle, our very own Marvin

Marvin’s answer:

I can see your dilemma. Due to lockdown you’ve grown a bit lazy and can’t be bothered will all the faff of shopping and writing cards. Netflix can’t watch itself. And that single Christmas message on social media would reach so many people, so quickly.. It must be tempting.

However I wonder how many of your friends are actually active on social media (or even active if you’re reached a certain age). Sending a generic message will leave some in tumbleweed town, waiting for that special message of goodwill to arrive.

The annual Christmas newsletter will need to be more creative this year

This is especially true for those people who have spent time crafting witty remarks inside their Christmas cards or producing a round-robin newsletter of this year’s antics. They’ll be expecting a return on the time they’ve spent and you opting out will leave them feeling short-changed.

Christmas message on social media or Christmas cards and presents? What should you be doing this year?
Christmas cards – some people spend a long time writing them

That said, it will be interesting to see how these newsletters come out this year. “Yes we had a great year binge-watching box sets, drinking every night and generally laying horizontal on the sofa while the kids played on their phones instead of going to school.”

No awards, prizes, glamorous holidays, work promotions or redundancies. The most interesting thing in this year’s newsletter will be how many Covid tests each family member had, or how much time they spent in self-isolation.

Maybe people should simply make up the year they wished they’d had and send that instead. You could write… “Forgot to say, after parent’s evening we won the lottery and I’m now looking out of my hotel window in the Bahamas. Wish you were here.”

Traditional Christmas gifts and cards are not the way

Anyway back to your question.

I do think that this year there is an opportunity to scale back on the gifts. Much as I’m sure your friends would like that special bottle of wine or personalised cake voucher, I think their own houses are probably full of unused excesses from the lack of social engagements. And don’t even think of giving a diary this year unless you want to see a history of Zoom calls.

In terms of Christmas cards, this is a bit more of a grey area. As a way to gauge popularity (how long is your string?) they sort of work. As a genuine means of passing Christmas cheer I’m not convinced. Do you really spend ages poring over the message, especially when so many are now printed today?

Even worse, could those cards be spreading Covid as they pop through your letterbox?

A christmas message on social media should be personal
Make your Christmas message personal

A personal Christmas message on social media is the answer

In reality it’s the personal touch that counts.

So by all mean offer your wishes out through some form of social media, but make it personal at least. That Christmas text or New Year’s Eve Whatsapp wish could make all the difference to someone locked in their home. And you can do that during a box set ad break.

After all, you never know when you may run into them again in the New Year post lockdown. Whenever that is.

Merry Christmas!

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