• Other Friendship Advice

10 Reasons Your Friend Didn’t Send A Holiday Card

Published: December 1, 2021 | Last Updated: December 1, 2021 By | 17 Replies Continue Reading

Wondering whether or not to send a holiday card to friends? Should you only send them to the ones who send them to you?

‘Tis the season—for greeting cards.

In fact, more greeting cards are mailed around the holiday season than any other time of year (including Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day). According to Hallmark, Christmas is the largest card-selling holiday in the U.S., with some 1.3 billion cards sent annually. Clearly, the absolute number of holiday cards has diminished markedly over the years.  In fact, the U.S. Postal Service has seen a dramatic decline in all personal mail as people rely more on electronic messaging.

Given these trends, most of us are sending and receiving fewer cards than we did in previous years. Many people have totally given up the practice of sending out holiday greetings. But what does it mean when you don’t get the card or letter you were expecting? Is it a reason to feel hurt?

Try not to take it personally.

Here are some possibilities to consider if you’re wondering why your friend didn’t send you a holiday card:

1) The average price of a greeting card ranges between $2 to $4 dollars. Throw on a 58-cent stamp per card (unless you have been hoarding Forever Stamps), multiply that by the number of cards sent, and the costs of sending holiday cards can be pricey — especially during tough economic times.

2) Your friend may not have the time. Given all the other end-of-year demands, writing cards by hand, donning a mask and taking them to the post office, and waiting on a socially distanced line there can be a bit of a hassle.

3) For reasons of ecology and minimizing clutter in general, many people are opting to go paperless, preferring to post a message on Facebook or sending e-correspondence to wish their friends and relatives a happy holiday. This is especially true for younger generations.

4) Cellphone cameras have become nearly ubiquitous. When people want to send photographs of their new dog, an ugly sweater, or a new grandchild along with their greetings, it’s more convenient and economical to send pictures electronically than to print and mail them.

5) Perhaps, the card you were wishing or waiting for was lost in the mail or more likely got misplaced in one of the many Christmas catalogs that you ditched in the trash.

6) Many people are fed up with the crass commercialism of Christmas. They are cutting down on gifts, cards, and showing caring in more meaningful ways. For example, your friend may decide to go the personal route. Perhaps, she’s decided to send a personal note rather than a card. She may even suggest getting together after the holidays.

7) Unbeknownst to you, your friendship may have been downgraded. The missing card may be just one of several signs that your friend wants more distance in the relationship. All  friendships—whether casual or close–don’t necessarily last forever. People’s lives veer in different directions; they find they have less in common; and they simply drift apart. It’s hard to maintain fading friendships with a once-a-year greeting and she may have decided to stop the charade.

8) It’s not about you, per se. It’s more about the sender, who may have personal problems of one kind of another that make it physically or emotionally hard to communicate with others, let alone send greeting cards.

9) One other thought: Did you stop sending her cards? <aybe she’s returning the favor.

10) So, what about the question of whether or not to send a card to a friend who hasn’t sent one to you?

It depends. Exchanging holiday cards isn’t akin to an agreed-upon White Elephant of Secret Santa gift exchange. There’s no reason that sending a card has to be reciprocal. If you feel like a card is the way you want to express your sentiments, go for it. But don’t expect everyone to have the same feelings about holiday cards as you do.

Happy Holidays!

(This is an update of a previously published post.)


Have you ever wondered why someone stopped sending you holiday greetings or is it something you have come to expect? Have you shortened your holiday card list?

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Category: OTHER ADVICE

Comments (17)

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  1. ruth says:

    This is another case of “it’s not always about YOU, darling.”

    Also, I would like to see a list like this for “10 reasons you were unfriended on Facebook.”

    • GraceW says:

      In the spirit of the giving season, I offer you, “7 reasons you were unfriended on Facebook.” I couldn’t think of ten, maybe someone else will cover the last three for me.

      1. My cat hates the dog pics you post.

      2. My parrot hates the cat pics you post.

      3. All my pets agree they hate the baby pics you post.

      4. Do I know you?

      5. What’s this button do? Unfriend? Wha..? Where’d that friend profile go? Opps. Oh well. I haven’t talked to that person in 20 years anyway.

      6. You’re my high school best friend’s ex-husband’s new wife’s sister… wait, I *don’t* know you.

      7. You posted one of those annoying generic family holiday updates to your Facebook page.

      In seriousness, I’m usually reluctant to unfriend people on Facebook. If someone’s posts annoy me, I will stop “following” them in my newsfeed instead of unfriending. There was one person years ago whose posts were actively spreading hate and I unfriended her for it. She was complaining about all the help sent to Haiti after the earthquake there in 2010. Who begrudges earthquake victims basic assistance? What an idiot. The people I’ve unfriended most recently have mainly been women I’ve just met who are SO SURE they want to be friends that I agree to “add” them on Facebook sooner than I really should. Then when I try to meet up with them in real life, they’re unable to do basic things like keep a commitment, show up on time, etc. After a few failed attempts to arrange meeting up, I stop wanting to know them, so I unfriend them.

  2. Send Christmas Cards this year to your friend and be a part of UNICEF charity organisation. Yes, now UNICEF Australia has come up with a Personalised Photobooks Store from where you will find varieties of Christmas Cards at affordable price. Through this Christmas cards your friends and loved ones will be happy on the other hand every purchase that you will make through UNICEF will help a needy child to make their future more better.

  3. Sheryl says:

    every year I promise myself I’m going to send holiday cards…and every year, guess what happens? I don’t.

  4. CJ says:

    Also add to the list that holiday cards are not just about friendship. I send cards to people that send me cards…some times to friends far away or those not on Facebook…to family that I have addresses for. I have a darling friend that I didn’t send a card to because I didn’t know she sent cards and I see her all the time. I got one from her this year after I sent out cards! I would hope she knew our friendship was based on our mutual love and trust and not a card.

  5. Alberta says:

    Life is not that bad.

  6. GraceW says:

    I’m glad my post made some people smile. Like I said, rip-roaring weird mood. Somebody pass the eggnog and wake me when it’s January 2.

  7. Jarod says:

    Grace, I laughed out loud at your post! Very funny.

  8. Anonymous says:

    GraceW, your satire is priceless!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I used to send out greeting cards on holidays, but with the cost of postage, which has risen over the years, I have stopped sending out cards. In my correspondence to “pen friends,” with my usual mail to them, I included a warm holiday wish, with the colors of the holiday. I did send out a card to an ill boy, when his story was posted on Facebook; his one holiday wish, as a totally paralyzed teen, was to get mail from people. But, as one who was dumped by a person who used to be very close, an intimate Internet friend. I have found the thought of exchanging cards (let alone gifts) depressing. I’m one who has a life history of much difficulty making or keeping friends. I have no mutual, reciprocal friendships where we “just hang out.” So these holidays get depressing. New year’s Eve is another time I’m not looking forward to, as I spent that time with my estranged friend, via Skype and video chat.

  10. GraceW says:

    I apologize in advance for offending anyone but I’m in a rip-roaring weird mood tonight. Here is my interpretation of those “10 reasons your friend didn’t send you a holiday card”:

    1. You’re not worth the $1.50 it costs to buy and mail a card.

    2. You’re not worth the 3 minutes it takes to sign a card and address the envelope.

    3. Blame the environment! Blame the younger generations! They’ve ruined your friend’s desire to acknowledge your friendship in a traditional way over the holidays.

    4. Blame newfangled technology! Your friend’s cell phone ATE HER BRAIN, or at least the part of her brain involved in handwriting Christmas cards.

    5. It’s your own fault you don’t have a card from your friend! You threw it away, idiot!

    6. You didn’t get a card, so keep holding your breath for a personal note. Because a person who can’t spend 3 minutes signing a card can be counted on to dedicate 10 minutes to writing a personal note.

    7. Guess what, you’re not friends anymore.

    8. Guess what, you’re not friends anymore.

    9. Okay, maybe you’re friends, but you’re still not getting a card.

    10. Karma, beyotch.

    • Susan says:

      Love it!!

    • Jared says:

      LOL!!! That’s the best interpretation so far.

    • Sam says:

      LOL. Too funny, and so true!!

      I think one of the biggest reasons “friends” don’t send you a holiday card back is laziness. Yes, laziness. Even if you’re not the type to send cards, how hard is it to break out of your routine and return the favor to someone who was nice enough to send you one? I think most of the time the translation is: You’re not worth the effort. 😉

      Something else to ponder. Concerning all these folks who don’t reciprocate cards, how would they behave if:

      1) Their boss or the CEO of their company sent them a personal card?

      2) The President of the U.S. sent them a personal card?

      Betcha they’d behave differently. 😉

      Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:

      It’s best not to send Christmas cards with any expectations. However, we’re all only human. And if not receiving a Christmas card back from a “friend” bothers you, then:

      1) Stop sending that person cards.

      2) Decide whether that person is really a friend in the first place. If so, then accept them for how they are and find ways to interact with them that don’t bother you.

      In a nutshell, if you feel like someone is taking your friendship for granted, then it’s best to pull back in some way or another.

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