I have always loved Christmas cards, both receiving and giving. Most years I have tried to send out some sort of handmade creation or, in years when time forbade that option, I have still taken huge pleasure in the choosing and writing. So it is very weird that this Christmas just gone – I did not send ANY cards at all.
This wasn’t so that I could make some grand statement about paper wastage and saving the planet. Nor did I ping out a ‘Happy Holiday’ email declaring my intention to donate the cost of cards and postage to a worthy charity.
It was simply because, when limbering up for the festive marathon, I realised that the things on my to-do list and the time available were so far removed from ever matching that something had to be crossed off. Christmas cards it was.
It didn’t seem like too much of a big deal when I made the decision “Yay! No cards to write! More time to stress about stocking fillers, menus, fairy lights and sky plussing everything in the Christmas Radio Times!”
The reality was not so easy. Every time I heard the soft ‘pfft’ of new post landing on the door mat I felt fresh stab of guilt.
All these people had found time to send cards.
I had not sent cards.
I was a bad person.
Each glittery missive was met with extra delight and gratitude (not counting the acquaintances who just sign their names, the typed address of the envelope being the only clue that the card was meant for us. Seriously who does that?), and every round robin newsletter was read and re-read, treasured like never before.
As for those lovely folk who added a hand written message of news (and no, ‘Hope to see you in the New Year’ does not count), well they were practically elevated to hero status.
So, on balance the time saved was not a big enough pay off to offset the Christmas card angst, and next year normal service will be resumed. Something else can be chopped from the list – I’m the only one who eats the Christmas cake anyway so what’s the point of all that soaking, stirring and feeding with brandy when I could be potato stamping holly leaves onto cardboard?
In the meantime, as I have been clearing away the decs and cards, I have kept to one side all those that included an extra message and promised myself that they, at the very least, will receive a new year’s note in return. A small gesture of festive atonement from the Christmas Card Grinch of 2017.
Happy New Year Everyone!