Is sending Christmas cards a joyful ritual of reciprocity or just plain creepy?
In the world of e-mail and social media, it is far easier to confirm that a card from a random stranger really is just a card from a random stranger
People used to send more seasonal greetings cards in times gone by, but in December 1974, Phil and Joyce Kunz received a particularly bountiful crop. Some were simple offerings of “Happy Christmas” but others contained long letters. There was also a complaint from the police.
Phillip Kunz, a sociologist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, was not entirely surprised. A few weeks earlier, he and his colleague Michael Woolcott had posted nearly 600 cards to strangers they had picked out of the phone book, adding a return address for “Phil and Joyce Kunz” or “Dr and Mrs Phillip Kunz”...