Sleigh Bells Ring, Can You Hear Them Yet?
Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 9:20AM
Louise in Holidays, Rant

Despite Nordstrom’s much appreciated holiday notice:

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the fact remains that there are exactly 52 shopping days left until Christmas. That ain’t a lot of time.

In fact, this week marks the one year anniversary since I left my full-time gig in Nashville. I mean, come on. A year? It feels more like six months. Why is it that the older I get, the faster time goes? I remember painfully ticking off the days of eighth grade, s l o w l y as I inched my way towards the Middle School Mecca: High School. How is it that the same amount of time is now gone in the flash of a mascaraed eye?

Meh.

That’s not what this post is about though. Apologies for the side bar.

This post is about Christmas cards. Christmas cards is my thing. At least is was my thing. I used to love sending them out and getting cards in return. I spent serious time and money on them too. I didn’t just go to Target, buy the cheapest cards and slap my name on them. Oh no.

I’m the kind that writes the letter. That’s right, the Dreaded Holiday Letter. Go on, you can admit it here. How many of you dread getting one of those from your friends or family? I know more often than not, I get one and I see the long-ass paragraphs and size 8 font and I want to stab myself in the eyes.  Most of these are all about the kids. Little Betty Sue is kicking ASS in her ballet class. Poor Bobby’s baseball team ALMOST made it to the state finals and boy, was that last game a nail-biter!

*YAWN*

I mean, I’m really happy that my friends and family have happy and fulfilled lives, despite my snarkiness here, but man, put a little effort into your writing. You people are my friends because you’re exciting people. You have fantastic personalities. You’re so much better than those letters. Oh, and those photo cards you get done at Costco that are pre-printed and all that? If you MUST do those, please send one that includes YOUR face and not just your kids. I mean, I haven’t seen YOU in forever. I don’t know your kids. I’m happy they are healthy and growing like weeds, but I want to see your ugly mug too.

My letters? They rock. I’ve been told so on MANY occasions. One year I wasn’t able to send them out and I got several inquiries, nay demands, for said letter. When a friend found out about this blog, he wrote me an email saying “Holy shit! It’s like your Christmas letter EVERY DAY!” So much like this blog, they are meant to be tongue-in-cheek and I will occasionally drop the f-bomb. Generally, the letter is on one side and the opposite side of the letter is a collage of pictures I’d taken throughout the year of places I’d been, events that occurred, drunken debauchery. You know, the norm.

So here’s how it goes: I have to write the letter (no small task) and then format the pictures with snarky little accompanying quotes. I have to print on both sides. A full 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of pictures plus letter takes up a shit-ton of ink, just in case you were wondering. I then sign the letter fold it up, sign the card, argue with The Candyman over the course of a week for him to sign his name too, stuff the envelopes and address them all. I generally print out the address labels and return address labels so this saves a little time.

The cards? Oh yeah, the cards. I OBSESS over the cards. I don’t really like to send funny Christmas cards. And I don’t like them to scream of Christmas either. I generally go for the “holiday” card, one that has a statement about peace, love and happiness during the holiday season and all year long! I try to take my non-Christian friends into consideration in my holiday card selection. 

In Christmases of Past, I’ve sent out a crap load of cards. Basically if I know you and like you, you get a card. Even if you’ve pissed me off, you get a card because I try to put petty bullshit aside during the holidays. I try to be that good person. 

Last year I basically went through this process twice. Since we moved in November, I sent out change of address cards to EVERYONE. Like over 100 of those damn things went out. And I DIY’d those suckers. I basically did the exact same thing for the Christmas cards, just sans the DIY on the card part. Quick math on this: 100 cards = 100 stamps. 1 stamp = $.44. Total cost of POSTAGE ONLY = 100 x .44 = $44.00. I mean, all you brides know this shit because you obsess over your invites and the weight and the dreaded possibility of extra postage and returned invites. You get this, right? So the fact that I did this TWICE last year, included the letter with all the printing and ink-suckage and the cost of the cards and the time to do it…you get where I’m going here, right? No small task is the holiday card from T30SB and The Candyman.

Here’s why I’ve brought this all up. Last year, after sending all this shit out twice in two months, after all the work I did, I got 26 cards in return. Yeah, 26.

Now hold on. Don’t go railing on me about the Christmas spirit and how it’s all about the giving and not the getting, blah blah blah. Yeah, I’ve already been through all that. Even talked about it at great length (much to his dismay) with The Candyman last year.

The reality of it is that it hurts my damn feelings. I’ve been sending out these cards for years to people across the country and around the damn world. I’ve put a LOT of time and effort and money into these cards for a long time and lots of people don’t send them back or even acknowledge the receipt. I even get a few “return to sender” from people who moved and didn’t even tell me.

I’m probably too old school. I’m too sentimental. The thing is, I used to enjoy the process. As I signed the cards, wrote little notes to my friends and put their address label on their cards, I thought about them. I hoped they were well. The process made me happy because in my heart of hearts, I hoped that they were thinking of me too. I hoped that they remembered that one night at that one bar where we did that fun thing. I thought about Betty Sue’s dancing and Bobby’s little league team. I didn’t just send a Christmas card, I sent them my thoughts, my feelings and a little of my heart. While I was snarky earlier about the picture cards and the size 8 font, I do appreciate those cards because of the time, effort and money that went into them.

Because of all the effort I put in last year and the horrible feeling I got in return, I made a declaration to the The Candyman. I said I would not, could not, should not do the massive Christmas card thing again. I actually kept the Christmas cards I received and noted on my address label template who sent me cards. Those 26 people got highlighted. Those are the people who will get cards this year. I will make exceptions for certain family members to keep the peace or who I know can’t afford to send them. I’m simply not going to make the effort again because I don’t want to feel as badly as I did last year. I don’t want to feel like a chump; sending out heartfelt good tidings with a deafening silence in return.  I refuse to put myself through that for another year. The Candyman totally has my back on this one too because he hates to sign his name on shit.

I’m going to try to stay strong on this. I get weak when I see the Christmas card aisle. I get sentimental and forget how bad I feel after the fact. I make this declaration here: I will not be swayed by three dimensional cards, heat-transferred foil pine trees or 100% recycled paper and soy ink. No. I. Will. Not. You 26 people will get the letter and the card. If I get something from someone that is not on that list of 26, you will get a return card and you get highlighted for next year as a recipient. A little distant from the original Christmas spirit? Perhaps, but all’s fair in love and postage, right?

Article originally appeared on The Thirty-Something Bride Wedding Blog (http://thirtysomethingbride.com/).
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