The first year that I sent my own holiday greetings, I hand-wrote individual letters to everyone. It was before our marriage, before our parenthood, and before my career burnout. And even then, it was too much.
I love a good handwritten letter, and I still send them – mostly to my best friend of several decades. My holiday gift to her every year is a handwritten letter at least once monthly in the coming year. She hears from me regularly via more modern communication modes, but the letters are for savoring.
I’ve tried to find a midpoint between personalized communication and mass communication for this time of year, and for the past 8 years it’s been an electronic greeting that I make using photos from the past year, with a short greeting, saved as a single page pdf, which I email. The personalized aspect is individual emails, or, in some cases, paper cards with a few paragraphs written by hand. Everyone gets the pdf; many get a longer than usual email; some get the cards (those who don’t have email, and those whom I know enjoy paper greetings).
The electronic greeting works for us for multiple reasons: it saves paper; there’s no garbage; the recipient doesn’t need to decide whether to store it; it is frugal; it includes photos in better resolution than our home printer would manage; it saves a time in addressing envelopes; and we can decide everything about the format and message.
The first year that I did this, I wondered how people might react (I must not have been 40 yet). Honestly, I think a few of my friends who do the photo cards every year are still a bit scandalized by our routine. But now I have ceased to care about things like that. They can think whatever they like. To me, the important thing is the connection, not its format.