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The DOs And DON'Ts Of Digital Holiday Greetings

The best holiday greetings you can give are offline, but that isn't always possible. Here's how to avoid the worst digital-holiday-greeting faux pas.

Posted on December 19, 2012, at 2:42 p.m. ET

DON'T send an e-card.

Assuming we're talking about individuals and not companies, sending an e-card as a holiday greeting reads as the laziest possible greeting one can give. It is worse than sending a simple, regular text email whose only connection to the holidays is its subject line. E-cards are highly impersonal (many limit the length of the message you can send) and frequently garish to look at. Plus, there's just something depressing about so much cheer being injected into something you never even touched. For special occasions, it's best to be a little old-fashioned.

DO send a paper card or, if you must, a personal email.

Whenever possible, send your close friends, family, and other important connections a tangible card — and make sure to write more inside it than just your name! New Year's in particular is a meaningful time to strengthen relationships, and expending a little extra effort in that direction can go a long way. In cases where sending a card isn't possible (though I'd argue a slightly late card is better than a timely email), send a little holiday catch-up email.

DON'T post stock holiday jokes as your Facebook status — especially not ones like these.


This is stupid in a way that I'm hoping is mostly self-explanatory.

DO, if you want, post a brief and friendly holiday greeting as a Facebook status.

If you want to extend holiday-related well wishes to people you maintain some level of interest in but with whom you aren't close (like most your Facebook friends), a Facebook status is a perfectly fine (if slightly annoying, in great quantities) way to do just that. It's nice! Being nice is nice.

DON'T send holiday mass texts.

Don't text people you would never otherwise text just because this particular day has reindeer/candle flames/confetti/an aura of sentimentality hanging over it. This serves no purpose other than to a) reestablish some form of weak contact with people you don't care to be in contact with, b) put people in the awkward position of deciding if/how to respond and c) gives the people you texted who are closer to each other than they are to you a reason to resume gossiping about you. ("Why would he care if I had a good Christmas Eve? As if.")

DO send personal text messages to close friends and/or family you won't see that day.

There's a good chance you won't be with some of your closest friends and family on the actual, official holidays, and sending these people a text is a nice, quick, effortless way to remind them that you're thinking of them and can't wait to see them again when you're no longer marooned in your childhood twin bed.

Relatedly: DON'T text your ex on/during the holidays!


Ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends seem to have this weird compulsion to, once their relationship has been terminated, commence behaving as each other's personalized calendars. Why? Don't do this. The holidays are too emotionally charged. Sending a text to your ex on a holiday comes off as both a safe (read: passive-aggressive) and selfish plea for attention, whether you personally want it or because you want the other person to want it from you. (Exceptions granted for exes who are truly and uncomplicatedly friends now, though I probably don't believe you.)

DO head to (or similar) for reenforcement if you're thinking about texting your ex on New Year's.

We all have moments of weakness, but don't give in!! If you're thinking of texting an ex this holiday season (or responding to one that dirtbag sent to you), send an S.O.S. to a friend, or let the good people (or, well, the people, anyway) of the Internet talk you out of it.

Finally, please DON'T "Elf Yourself."

Or if you must, at least promise me not to post it to Facebook. It's like, I don't want to watch this, but I can't NOT watch it, you know? I don't even know these people.