It happens every year like clockwork. I sit down with myself and have a very intense conversation regarding the family Christmas card. Why do I do it? Does the end truly justify the means? Does anybody really care? I mean really?
I even write the stupid letter, despite popular opinion that in general these letters are at best worth skimming through to the end, and at worst, not so much. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make my letter fall into the former category. The editing process in and of itself is brutally time consuming and beyond exhausting, but I am fairly confident at the end of it all that my mom will definitely (probably) read it in its entirety.
Let’s start with the paper. You can’t print off your masterpiece on a plain white sheet of paper, unless your goal is to put it on the fast track to your recipient’s recycling bin before they even finish unfolding it. “Nice touch with the office paper. Maybe next time you can scribble your heartfelt message with a brown crayon on a piece of notebook paper and not tear the edging off for that extra special touch asshole.”
Once you buy the paper that both compliments your family’s personality as well as the contents of your very personalized letter, you will spend hours attempting to format it to ensure the words fit perfectly amongst the snowflakes and wintery backdrop you’ve carefully selected, only to realize that the fucking snowman’s left boot at the bottom right hand corner of the page is obstructing your wishes for a happy holiday season. Change font, edit margins, drink a bottle of wine, and finally decide to decrease font size to a degree in which only a Christmas elf’s eyes could read without a magnifying glass on a good day. Increase “Happy Holidays” to 20-point bold font and call it a day.
Let’s move on to the actual photo now, shall we? Selecting one picture always seems like the simplest route, right up until the moment you realize that after combing through your photo files for several hours you do not have one single picture of your family that is suitable for even a spot on your own refrigerator. “Seriously? How can we not have one single picture from the whole entire year that doesn’t make one or all of us look like a bunch of dysfunctional rejects?” You decide one picture is not the path for you and begin frantically arranging, cropping, and rearranging the perfect collage that will scream above and beyond everyone else’s on the wall, “How adorable! Just perfect! Peace on Earth indeed!”
Okay, so your letter is done, your photo cards have been delivered to your front door, and now it’s time to turn your attention to the godforsaken address list. Inevitably a handful of your friends have moved in the past year, surely for the sole purpose of making this process even more miserable for you. You consider removing them from your list altogether for being such inconsiderate pricks, but remember tis the season to be jolly so decide to put the leg work into figuring out where they actually live now so they aren’t so unbelievably disappointed and thereby cancel Christmas as a result of not receiving your card.
With the address labels ready to go and your entire monthly paycheck transferred over to the U.S. Postal Service to cover the cost of postage, now begins the last and least enjoyable leg of this ridiculously mind numbing journey. Stuffing the envelopes. Of course your stupid letter doesn’t fit inside the envelope provided by the photo company without your pathetic attempt at origami. Fold, refold, and then mistakenly fold the fucking photo card in the process. “Great, Buddy’s face has a crinkle in it now. There is no excuse for me to be alive!”
Last but not least, you begin the licking. Half way through, your husband’s concern for your pale green complexion prompts him to suggest that maybe you should consider using a damp sponge. He decides to temporarily move out based on your nonverbal response alone and you carry on with your own undesirable method just because you’re that damn stubborn and apparently not all that smart to boot.
Shortly thereafter, the Victory March ensues. You take three trips carefully walking the perfectly stacked piles of perfection down to the mailbox, choosing to ignore the fact that you clearly do not have this many friends in real life and furthermore question what the hell it is you are really trying to prove here. Instead, you slowly raise the red flag which symbolizes yet another extraordinary personal accomplishment while singing “Joy to the World” in your head as you proudly proceed back into the house.
You return inside with a rejuvenated spirit, immensely comforted by the thought of how much joy your time and effort will inevitably bring to others in just a few short days. “Ahhhh, it was all worth it. Tis the season for giving.”
Approximately seven seconds later, the reality train makes an unwanted stop at your front door to very rudely remind you of the inevitable fate of your precious little project that took weeks to complete.
Here’s the deal. I enjoy receiving Christmas cards from my friends and family. I display them on my wall for all to admire and adore. I do my part as a gracious recipient, but I don’t make the rules. As such, in the blink of an eye, the holidays are well over and any reminder of them makes you want to puke. It’s just simply time to move on.
With a heavy heart, it happens. The time, the money, the coordinated outfits, the stuffing, Dear Lord, the licking! It all comes back to you in a wave of raw emotion, “It’s too soon!”
For a brief moment you are convinced that you are way too caring and not strong enough to go through with it. You have a conscience. You feel guilt, heavy guilt when it is warranted. You’re not proud of yourself, nor can you say that you’re not just a little bit disappointed in the fact that you know full well where your precious holiday greetings wind up at the end of it all.
I can’t take it anymore!
I THROW ALL OF MY CHRISTMAS CARDS AWAY AND I KNOW THAT YOU DO TOO!
No hard feelings.