Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Christmas Card Blog...(suitable for printing and hanging from that Card Clothesline thingey you have hanging over the fireplace)

I give up...

I am a complete and utter failure at Christmas cards.

For the record, let it be known that I tried.....very hard....to mail out Christmas cards this year.

....OK, I tried........maybe not very hard...

...Ohhh-kaaaaay...............maybe I just THOUGHT about sending them out, but never actually went out to buy them.

It's the thought that counts, right??

Yeah.......I'm not buying that either.

I used to be really good about mailing out cards at the holidays.  I would go to the store nice and early to find just the perfect card to buy in bulk.  Nothing too flashy nor too generic...something with a little style--but wasn't garish...and I'd take care to read each of the messages, looking for just the right sentiment.  Some years I'd go with a whimsical card, sometimes something outright hilarious, other times serene and thoughtful.  But come the first weekend in December, I was ready.  I would sit down at the table (while my Christmas cookies baked in the oven) and go through each entry in my address book, writing a lovely handwritten message in each card to each recipient, addressing and stamping each envelope when finished.  I would then drive down to the nearest post office and drop anywhere from 50 to 140 cards into the mailbox and congratulate myself on my timeliness, thoughtfulness, and preparedness.

Yeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhhh......did I mention that was "USED TO"??

This year, not only did I not even bother to buy cards, but I discovered that I also misplaced my address book in one of the numerous moves I've gone through in the last 2 years.  So if you weren't already in my phone's address book, I truly have no idea where you live any longer (and let me put it this way...I have my mother's address in my phone.  that's it.  period.).   And then there's the whole receiving cards thing.  Referring back to the many residences I've occupied in the last 4 to 5 years...lets face it....the post office is probably still trying to deliver cards to me from 7 homes and 5 years ago!

On the one hand, I feel awful that I didn't send out any cards this year (along with a current "Change of Address" notification), but on the other hand, most of the people that I would correspond with I can find daily on Facebook.  So if I post an all encompassing "Merry Christmas", "Happy New Year", "blah blah blah" type of message...does that count at least a third of what taking the time to mail out a physical card is worth?

Probably not.

I guess I could go to http://www.hallmark.com/ and send out e-cards to everyone I know.  They have some rather cute designs and I think all of their cards have music and some type of animation--you can even personalize them with pictures and more elaborate messages for a small fee.  But somehow that strikes me along the lines of the Facebook post.  While slightly more meaningful because it's slightly more labor intensive, it still strikes of being rather impersonal and generic.  I know it's the socially and environmentally sound thing to do.....but clicking "Send" just doesn't have the same gratifying tongue-numbing effect that licking the better half of 150 stamps and envelops brings.

I envy those people that come up with those "Letter from the family..." types of things.  You know what I''m talking about.  All printed up on lovely paper, adorned with pictures and clippings...it's a recap of so-and-so family's experiences and accomplishments over the past year.  I love the little insights into what The Smith Family has achieved throughout the last 11 months.  But they can sometimes make you feel a teensy bit jealous in a "look at my life" kind of way.  Although I guess it can also be considered a good guideline.  Think about it:  they kinda help you get a general idea of where the bar starts that you'll have to exceed next year in order to qualify to send out your own letter at year's end.  I mean, as happy as you are  that Uncle Joe got early parole and that little Floyd FINALLY passed the 3rd grade (after only 2 times, even!!)...is that REALLY the kind of thing you want going up against the Smith Family's trip to rescue pandas and other endangered animals from, y'know, panda-cannibals in some far off village you can't even pronounce that then earned them a Nobel prize nomination?  I think not.

So here I sit...December 21st.  Not a single card purchased, written, sealed, stamped nor mailed.  And even if I found the last minute strength to rush out, buy cards, email everyone asking for their address, then haul butt to fill them out, race off to the post office and drop them in the lovely blue boxes...there's just no way they'd make it to their destinations on time.  The US Postal Service is good....but they're not miracle workers.  Besides, I'd feel guilty adding to their last minute workload.  I mean, I admire the commitment to delivering despite snow, rain, heat and gloom....but these people have families to get home to; they do not need to be hauling my little envelope up 3 flights of stairs to a studio apartment at 6pm on Christmas Eve just because of my lazy butt!  (Course I'm sure their accounting department would dare to differ...34 cents, after all is 34 cents....times 150 cards equals...something.  Oh forget it...  My blog--No math).

So for those of you wonderful people out there that normally would receive a Christmas card from me...please accept my deepest apologies for a complete lack of energy and utter procrastination.  I meant well....the planning phase was successful, implementation left something to be desired.  Meanwhile, don't be too surprised if you receive an email anywhere from February to mid-July asking for your address; it'll just be my attempt to rebuild my address book throughout the year in preparation for next year.  Next year I'll be at the store before Thanksgiving stocking up on cards and stamps and I'll plan out a weekend to bake cookies and write out all of my lovely sentiments and greetings.....maybe I'll even try my hand at a "Letter from the family"....

....unless Uncle Joe gets thrown back in the slammer for violating parole. 

Then I'll just stick with "Happy Holidays and all the best for the New Year."