I hate them. Okay, okay I’ll explain. I love the theory behind them, I just hate the internal conflict I get mired in when I think about them. You see, I love GETTING Christmas Cards.
They’re all hopeful and lovely and bear a message worth sharing. They’re full of sunshiney revisionist versions of the last year written with crazy combinations of pronouns listing a bunch distorted facts from the people I know and love. They often are accompanied by a photo that has been handpicked from the dozens of more realistic shots that were taken that presumably seamless day when the kids were forced to wear sweaters in 80 degree weather. Said photos have been known to have been PhotoShopped to look “just right” and are occasionally stunning color-coordinated montages of familial bliss. The letter and photos do not bother me in the slightest - I love ‘em. In fact, I especially love trying to read between the lines to imagine that the honor student is chronically constipated, that the cute dog pees everywhere, that the majestic pinetree in the background of the picture is actually down the street from the cramped apartment and then- at the end- I add ten pounds to the mom craftily hiding at an angle behind everyone. I’m evil, I know. I am, of course, exaggerating a bit. Sometimes the letters are rather accurate representations of things and the photos really look like the family would if you ran into them at the local multiplex, but it is rare. Most folks try to put their best foot forward (or at least what’s left of their foot at the end of the year). This year I actually got a family’s Christmas message that was refreshingly candid. Nothing huge, just an acknowledgement that their now-middle-kid did not appreciate the arrival of the new sibling this fall and the oldest kid pulls the fire alarm at the church. You could tell that their nerves were frayed and they were willing to share it. I loved it.
Anyway, each year I eagerly await the mail carrier’s little treasures. If the envelope is not bill-sized and has a hand written address on it, I’m all about tearing it open to see what these folks have been up to (or are willing to talk about) and just who cared enough to keep me on their list for another year. Now, why would anyone NOT keep me on their list? Perhaps it is because I. Never. Reciprocate.
Here’s the part where I admit that I HATE even thinking about sending Christmas Cards. My hate of sending them spills over and negates enough of my love of receiving them that the net effect is “I hate Christmas Cards”. I hate that I have a huge list of people I care enough about to *think* about sending a card to but that nothing happens with the list except that it grows annually. I hate picking the cards out because I hate trying to find one that accurately reflects my personal esthetic (what a snob!). Note: If you suggest I make the cards myself, I will in turn suggest you do something rather unsavory. I hate paying for them because I am cheap. I hate the thought of then paying FORTY ONE cents to mail them because I am old enough to gripe about stuff like that. I hate trying to think up something to write inside because I assume that people will be disappointed with “Love, the Buckets” and wish that I would have written “the letter”. I hate writing “the letter” because every time I’ve tried sitting down to write “the letter” I’ve read it back to myself and thought “who are these people?!” The traditional tone with which one writes “the letter” is too saccharin to be realistic – no one would believe I wrote it. I hate that then I think “Ok, Whatser… why don’t you write something people WOULD believe you wrote?” and then I hate that my answer always has to be “’cause your mom would kill you and your grandma would roll in her grave if you sent out Christmas cards with swears in them”. I hate that. THEN I hate that if I did write a letter that seemed to work I’d feel like maybe I should figure out a picture to go with it, afterall Kiddo IS a handsome guy and getting bigger and people might want to see that he is in fact surviving being raised by me (though the two black eyes from me dropping him *publicly* on his face last week would be an incriminating visual at the moment). Then I hate that I can’t think of a single reason why I would want me in the photo but if its just a photo of Kiddo, or Kiddo and Daddio, then people would (accurately) think that maybe I let myself completely go and look just horrid right now. And then the fantasy that I’m maintaining in my head that involves folks who don’t know better thinking I must be looking HOTT would be shattered. I can’t abide that right now. So then at the end of this exhaustive and utterly foolish “reasoning” session with myself I conclude that a) I am shallow and b) I just hate Christmas Cards.
But please don’t take me off of your list.
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