It's early December and once again I am faced with the same dilemma: do I or don't I send out Holiday cards?
I know, I know, it's a difficult decision. I mean, all that writing. All those stamps. All that envelope licking.
It's always around now that I get a bunch (and send out a bunch) of random emails from folks asking for addresses:
Hey Everyone! Please send me your current mailing addresses. I have surprises for you! (wink)
No there is no surprise. It's December. It's time to clutter peoples mailboxes with holiday cheer.
Quite simply it's a pain in the ass to send out cards. I recall my mother grumbling as she painstakingly wrote out dozens upon dozens of holiday greetings, half of which were to folks she disliked but quite simply had to keep the tradition going on and on and on.
So when I moved into my own place after college I grappled with the choice to be or not to be a card sender. I was living across the country and thought that a holiday card from me would be a lovely way to let friends and family back home know I care... as if me visiting them all a week after receiving my card wouldn't simply do the trick. No. No I had reiterate that sentiment with with dancing reindeers tangled in Christmas lights drawn on a floppy folded piece of paper with the printed greeting "Hope your holidays are merry and bright!"
As the years went by, I continued to send holiday cards. Once a person starts sending cards, they can't stop. I mean people are expecting my cards, right? If I don't send a card to someone I sent one to last year, won't they be insulted? Do I have to send to all my old friends? What about my new friends? What about my neighbor? Can't I just walk over and wish them a happy holiday?
And then comes the issues of what cards to get? Do I want to go serious and meaningful or silly comical? Will my relatives think a half-naked Santa card is funny? And what about the greeting? I celebrate Christmas, but must I get a non-denominational seasonal card out of respect for my non-Christmas celebrating friends?
And then there is the obligation felt when receiving a card that you must return the festive favor. It's sort of like when people leave MySpace comments in hopes that you will follow suit.
And the paper! Good God, what about all that paper we waste. I mean what are we suppose to do with all those cards come December 26th? Why isn't Greenpeace leading the campaign to stop such a wasteful practice?
And the letters! Oh my, those update letters from people whom you haven't spoken to in years but luckily get a long-winded, play-by-play of everything they, their kids, their parents, their dog and their best friends are up to. And don't forget all those cutesy photos of their babies in Santa hats.
And! And! And that's it! I'm not sending cards this year. I don't mean to sound like a Grinch but I think this year I'll simply call those I love and wishes them a happy and healthy holiday. I will take that $40 + I spend annually on cards and stamps and donate them to a charity. I will promise to recycle every card (and envelope!) I receive, rather than hastily throw them in the garbage.
Better yet, maybe I'll direct them all to this site and have this blog post serve as my Christmas card.