What are the modern manners for sending Xmas cards? After how many years of not receiving a card back, should we cross a name off our list? And is it becoming a dying art? As overheard in a cafe: “Do you send cards?”. “Only to my gran. She still expects to get one.”

Bless, a card sent for the benefit of the recipient. It’s a rarity. Because as with Xmas presents it’s less about what they would like to receive, and more about what you want. Choosing how to send season’s greeting is often about us, not them.

Not doing Xmas card this year? Prefer to decorate your house with lights, and text instead? Fair ‘nuff.

A text costs nothing, all address book contacts get it with a simple press of a button. A one-to-many broadcast, shows you care but doesn’t look that great on the mantelpiece.

Such a passive communication can lead to passive aggressive behaviour. Our heroine sitting in front of a pile of cards, year after year, a grim frown of concentration as she vows to treat others as she would like to be treated herself. Except it’s not reciprocal. I send a card. I get an email back. Next year, I send a card. And get a text on the day.

Do what you feel happiest with. But don’t send a card hoping the hint will be taken. They may be wondering why you don’t respond with a text, as they’d prefer. Why don’t you get the hint?

The average household in America will mail out 28 Xmas cards and see 28 cards arrive in their place.

Interesting to note, there’s no mention of whether it’s the same 28 people swapping cards. Or is Uncle Joe stewing for the fifth year of not receiving one back? And feeling bad at getting one from the couple he met on holiday in ’87?

Back in the days of 3 channel TV, my mother would process the post. Before being entrusted with the job of carefully adding a card to the display, each would be recorded in the family Xmas card planner. You can still find them at specialist stationery stores, such as K Two. A record of incoming and outgoing cards was kept from the end of November, updated every year. That book, with its crossings, is the only way of finding out if friends or family had died. And preferable, I guess, to a ‘failed’ sent text.