I don't send Christmas cards anymore.

Even the "anymore" part is a wild exaggeration.

So I guess I have no right to complain about the cards that other people send.

But please. Can't we just agree on this much? Those dreadful e-cards do not count this time of year!

They are totally inadequate as conveyers of good wishes for the holiday.

Too impersonal. Too cheap. Too easy to zap with the delete button.

And honestly, how merry a Christmas am I really being wished by someone who just loaded his whole contact list into the "To" field and clicked on the word "Send"? The sentiment is almost certainly insincere.

"Thinking of you this sacred holiday season."

Oh, sure you are!

You're thinking of me and the 417 other people (including 12 duplicates and a couple of listings for yourself) who happen to live on your address file. You can't possibly be warm all over for all of us.

I know what you're saying. You're saying those old-fashioned Christmas cards weren't perfect either. The overwrought sentiment. The dreadful artwork. OK. And the new e-cards are more environmental, I'll give 'em that.

But say this much for the old kill-a-tree holiday cards: At least you had to go to trouble to send one.

Either you ordered a batch of them back in November, which shows some impressive organizational skill. Or you went to the Hallmark store, pawed through hundreds of cards that were way too gooey, finally plucked one that wasn't totally embarrassing and paid a couple of bucks on your way out.

It may not be Santa coming down the chimney. But it's a whole lot more than clicking on a mouse.

Greetings of the season. Delete, delete, delete.

Ellis Henican is a columnist for Newsday. Readers may send him e-mail at henicannewsday.com.