We’ve had to relearn how to write Christmas cards now that we live in America. How can so simple an exercise be so different in the two countries?
Well, firstly, they’re not Christmas cards; they’re Holiday cards. That’s because there are a lot of non-Christians here, and it’s mono-religionist to assume that everyone celebrates Christmas in this oh-so-politically-correct part of the world. This also means that the seasonal greeting is Happy Holidays, not Merry Christmas.
Secondly, cards can be sent out at any time from Thanksgiving to New Year, offering seasonal greetings for any festival in between. The cool thing about that is that if you don’t get cards out in time for Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa*), you can still send them in January. That’s a whole load of wriggle room.
Thirdly – and this is the part that’s taken us three Christmases to work out – people here don’t send cards with cute wintry scenes. Instead, they send cards made of photos of the family.
For some reason that I haven’t sussed yet, cute wintry scenes are wrong. Yet it would be odd in Britain to send a card made of photos of the family. The only solution we’ve found is to send photo cards to friends in America, and wintry scenes to friends in Britain. That’s one of the idiosyncrasies of straddling two worlds.
* Kwanzaa is a festival created in 1965 specifically for African Americans. You won’t have heard of it if you’re not American.