December 2017, present day
Should I still be sending Christmas cards? Based on the number I receive, the answer would be a resounding ‘no Kate, why don’t you instead spend your time trying to remember how the washing machine works or how to thread your overlocker?’ However, each year, I buy them, plan them, stare at them, feel dreadfully guilty about them and then dash a few off on Christmas Eve that eventually land in the letter boxes of bewildered folk all over town at some point in mid-January.
30 years ago…
Somewhat wistfully I recall being younger and getting a card from almost every girl in my Grade 6 class. Some even had puffy stickers attached. All had bubble writing of some descript. I received so many one year I had to go for the string them up between two drawing pins route given I didn’t own a mantel. These days, no string is required, I can simply hold my two lovely cards and still make a toasted cheese sandwich unencumbered.
Only last week, I drove past a house where someone had proudly added their Christmas cards to their venetian blinds, carefully slotting their images of Christmas bells and snowflakes towards the street for the world to see ‘I have six friends who like me and still believe in Christmas, good quality paper stock and Australia Post’ this little window screamed. Are these little darlings so rare now as to be precious or some outdated thing from the past that we should let go of like leg warmers or Ace of Bass CDs? (This is clearly a joke, why would any get rid of those things?)
I saw this ad on Air Tasker
I need Christmas cards along with envelopes written for clients. I’ll pay $50 per 100. Prefer someone close by & has to have nice hand writing.
Is this what anyone wants to receive? A generic Christmas card written by a stranger earning less than a Nike seamstress and posted by what one would assume must be my IT guy? (Who sends 100 cards? And for what purpose? And while said ‘contractor’ may in fact possess ‘nice handwriting’ – I assume this to be someone who makes love hearts on top of their letter Is – it is clearly not his handwriting and thus confusing and bizarrely inauthentic.)
The pros of sending and receiving Christmas cards
But picking on Mr Outsourceit above doesn’t solve my conundrum. I like the satisfaction of sending a lovely card that I have carefully selected or printed with a whacky photo. I enjoy popping a great pile in the post box and thinking of them floating towards the houses of people I’ve been meaning to see more of and haven’t quite achieved it. I love sending a thoughtful message to a person who’s important to me. And I love thinking about people getting something in the mail other than the Scientology brochure or a reminder about an overdue gas bill.
On the other hand, I dislike holding a pen for any length of time these days, staying up past midnight, clearing off my kitchen table to find a suitable card writing space and digging out addresses from old notebooks or worse texting people to ask what their address is so I can send them a message in a different format. And paying ONE DOLLAR for a stamp!
Do people like getting cards? Or are they secretly relieved that it’s dropped off a bit? Is it one less thing to worry about? Or to feel inadequate about? Or are you outraged at people like me who can somehow find time to watch The Only Way is Essex but can’t find time to drop you a line once a damn year?
Or should I just stop asking the internet ridiculous questions and just get cracking on those cards?
Special thanks to Karen and Deb. Lovely ladies who remember me each Christmas and keep sending cards despite my tardiness!