The politics of Christmas cards
I'm guessing this is an older issue than I'm aware of, but it's not something I started seeing much of until 6-7 years ago. It's becoming more and more common among people I know to use their Christmas card list as a venue for their passive-aggressive tendencies. When my father-in-law died, his side of the family cut my mother-in-law off their list almost immediately. She kept sending cards to them and after 3-4 years her sister-in-law relented but the rest still don't send to her. The sister-in-law (my wife's aunt), kept sending to us, but for several years she switched to cheap, dollar store cards for us. We're back on her good card list and even get a personalized, handwritten message. The cousins just started sending us cards a few years ago even though we've been sending to them since we got married. We apparently were put on their "wait and see" list this year as we didn't get any of their cards until after Christmas.
Her family has nothing on mine, however. When we had the gall to get upset over one of them giving our son a sex toy for Christmas a few years ago, 4-5 of them cut us from their Christmas card lists. A few others moved us over to the dollar store card category (my parents and siblings still get the Hallmarks). A couple years ago, my mom was talking about the nice, expensive cards one of them sent out that year then asked my opinion on them. I pointed out that we were no longer receiving cards from them or several others. She assured me it was just an oversight, then talked to one of them about it. They claimed I was lying and that they'd been sending us cards all along. A couple days later, we got a chintzy little card from them addressed just to my wife and I, with no mention of the kids. The following year (last year), this person and one other sent us another of the cheap cards. The one addressed it to just my wife & I (no "and the kids," or even an "and family"), while the other addressed the card just to me.
We got tired of all this pretty quickly and decided a couple years ago to start cutting down on the cards we send out. We decided that we'd save last year's cards and this year just send to those we'd received from the previous year. If anyone else sent us a card and we received it in time, we'd send them one. We sent out about five less than we did last year and received fewer cards than we ever have. I haven't gone over all of this year's cards yet, but we'll likely be making another big cut next year. We've been moved over to the cheap card list for a couple other family members. We haven't seen them in a couple years so I don't know if that's the reason or if they concocted some other grievous offense in one of their drunken gossip orgies. One of them not only sent us the cheap card, but didn't even sign it. The same person sent my parents an expensive card lined with fake jewels, lace and ribbons with a fairly lengthy but generic note inside. A few others added us to the "wait and see" list as we didn't get their cards until the 22nd or 24th, while my parents got them much earlier.
For the record, this is far from new behavior, although we weren't caught in the cross-hairs until a couple years ago (that is, if you don't count the time a couple of my aunts told my mother that if they ever found out I was sending Christmas cards to my godmother, they'd cut me out of the family). My sister was one of the big targets before that. She spent many years getting the cheap cards or having her name misspelled, then, for the first few years of her marriage, she had several of them address the cards only to her--using her maiden name, no less--and not mention her husband. Another cousin doesn't get cards from several of the family, although they do send cards for her kids to her mother's house.
Does anyone else's family engage in this festive yuletide ritual, or is it just in my neck of the woods?