Christmas Cards as a Corrective Action

November 26, 2006 at 4:02 pm 10 comments

We are about to hit one of my favorite times of the year!  I’m not talking about the festive lights and music, the good food that warms you from the inside out, or the anticipation of gifts to be received.  I’m talking about the weeks where you are almost guaranteed to find something in your mailbox besides the usual bills and advertisements.   Christmas Card Season!!!!

I love everything about Christmas Card Season.  I love going to the stores and picking out the cards I’ll be sending out.  I love updating my Excel spreadsheet and printing out the address labels (using an old crappy Lexmark color printer that only sees action during this time of year).  I enjoy handwriting individual messages to all the recipients.  Usually that task takes place at home in front of the TV, but in 2004 I wrote a number of Christmas cards in hotel rooms and airplanes.  No matter where I am, it is a dedicated time where I step back and think about those who’ve meant so much to me through the years who through distance or circumstance are no longer a part of my daily life.  And, of course, I enjoy the thrill of receiving cards back and I enjoy hanging them like trophies in the dining room. 

Another thing that makes me smile is how my husband accepts and humours my love for Christmas cards.  It’s not his thing, but each year he’ll patiently append “& Sean” to large stacks of cards.  Now, he does see some gain in my affection for Christmas cards.  Occassionally someone will include money which we both end up profitting from.  And, in 2001, Sean was able to successfully exploit my love of Christmas cards to shorten the forgiveness lifecycle.

So here’s the scene.  A group of six of us had long been planning to see The Fellowship of the Rings on opening night.  We got a count of commitments and purchased our tickets days in advance.  We also had plans to meet at Red Lobster for a nice meal beforehand.  The work day came to a close and the plan looked in order.  Sean went home and walked the dogs.  While he was there, he found that we had received a mind-boggling 5 Christmas cards in a single day.  A record!  (In subsequent years, we’ve killed that record).  The celebration was short-lived, though, when Sean annonced he didn’t want to go to film anymore. 

“I’m just not motivated to see a movie,” he reported.

So the rest of us called around to find a replacement for Sean’s ticket.  As luck would have it, people tend to work late at CCS and we managed to snag Eric Goad to take Sean’s place on short notice.  We moved on to Red Lobster, where during a conversation I thought of an idea for a Christmas present for Sean’s youngest brother, Bret.  We had been struggling with what to get him (as we often do), so it was exciting to at least have an idea to work with.  When I called Sean to tell him about it, that celebration was short-lived as well.  I noted an awful lot of background noise.

“Where are you?” I asked.

“Sharkey’s,” Sean said.  It’s a local bar.

“Well,” I snapped, “I’m glad to hear you are motivated to go out to a bar!” and then hung up the phone.

In retrospect, I bet that helped solidify my infatuation for beautiful, gorgeous Legolas.  Afterall, not only is Legolas stunning, if he had to renege on plans with me, he’d certainly have a better reason.  He’d be out saving Middle Earth…not going to the same bar he goes to every single night. 


“I will see a movie with you, Vicky”

After nearly 3 hours, the film and my exposure to Legolas was over.  With no more eye candy to distract me, my fury really started to sink in.  There was a strong indirect relationship between my anger and my distance from the house.  The closer to home I got, the angrier I grew.  Memories of past infractions surfaced, were tallied and tailored as ammunition.  I was ready to let Sean have it.  And I didn’t care how he was going to apologize, I was fully poised to snub any such efforts.  I wouldn’t even acknowedge it.  At least…that was my plan.

As soon as I came in the door, I saw a horrifying obstacle.  On the breakfast nook were some beautiful roses in a crystal vase.  I probably could have persevered if my only opposition was roses.  BUT….leaning against that vase were all five of the newly received Christmas cards.  Sean had placed them strategically and it was a very good strategy at that.  In order to get to the cards, I would have to acknowledge the roses. 

Sean knew the cards would be the first thing I’d go for, regardless of mood.  He knew I wouldn’t be able to resist them.  And he knew the cards would end up being more important than any gratification a grudge could give me.  Him knowing that about me and knowing the full appeal of the cards…. that may have spoken more than any bouquet or apology could.

Anyway, Sean ended up being forgiven. 

And I– I got my Christmas cards!  :) 

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Katie  |  November 26, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    I’m a Christmas card writer, too. I sent of my first two cards yesterday! I love thinking about the recipients finding them amongst the bills in their mail box.

    Reply
  • 2. Clint  |  November 27, 2006 at 10:08 am

    I kinda think they are a stupid waste of time, but then again so is much of Christmas. :)

    I am actually *offended* when people who never bother to email me (or RSVP to an evite) bother to send me a card, which is a much higher level-of-effort than typing up an email or taking 3 clicks to RSVP to evite.

    It seems completely and utterly unsincere, like they are merely fulfilling a contract-of-tradition that they unwittingly signed up for (by being born, apparantly), to make themselves feel good about “spreading cheer”.

    But a purchased card with some corporate-generated platitude printed on it, because the sender couldn’t actually think of anything to say themselves, is to me an utter waste of time, money, and effort, and is only *symbolic* of having a real conversation or interest.

    Bah humbug! :)

    Reply
  • 3. tgaw  |  November 27, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    I may be a Christmas Card snob, but I’m not too much a fan of the ones that have the senders’ names pre-printed inside the card. So you get a stock card and then “MR. AND MRS. SO AN SO” imprinted inside.

    That seems like they are really just going through the motions. It doesn’t matter who the card is going to. Their effort and thought is merely putting the card in an envelope and sticking a stamp on it… and paying the corporations. :)

    Reply
  • 4. Carolyn  |  November 27, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    Oh, D’oh. Several years ago, I got a CD for a card creating program for my computer. So, sometimes the cards I create would have my name imprinted. But I believe I also would sign. I can’t remember for sure though.

    I like that create-a-card program though. It comes with several pre-printed messages and several different styles to choose from. But you can update the text to be whatever you want. So sometimes I would edit what it says (especially when it didn’t have a complete sentence or didn’t make sense in some other way. :)). I think a couple of times, I liked the picture on one card, and the text message on another, so I switched them around.

    Reply
  • 5. Clint  |  November 27, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    @Vicky:
    Yea. Now imagine if the cards came with a scan of your signature! And on pre-paid envelopes. hehehehehe…..

    @Carolyn:
    I don’t think it’s nearly as bad to have your name imprinted on a card *you* *created* *yourself*, even if it is from a corporate-generated software package (grin). The fact that you chose your own card, words, and printed it yourself implies a far greater “delta of effort” than the delta of effort between signing one’s name and having it only imprinted. Even if you didn’t sign yours, yours represent more work to me than most people’s.

    I should probably sit in on your card creation more often…. I just let Carolyn create them, and then I just sign them. Much like Sean. :)

    Reply
  • 6. tgaw  |  November 27, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    Carolyn, I agree with Clint– making your own cards is different.

    No store bought card could ever match that “Don’t Count the Miles Between Us…” card you sent me many years ago when I was homesick!

    Reply
  • 7. Carolyn  |  November 27, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    Aww! I love you too!

    Reply
  • 8. Carolyn  |  November 27, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    I still have that one saved on my harddrive. I just looked at it, and I had a completely different thought of what it looked like, and I had forgotten all about the personal note inside.

    Reply
  • 9. cards  |  November 21, 2007 at 6:49 am

    I love your blog! I dread having to write all of those cards this year!

    Reply
  • 10. Christmas Card Patterns « TGAW  |  July 17, 2008 at 10:12 am

    [...] 17, 2008 I love Christmas Card Season. I love writing Christmas cards and I love receiving them as well. So…. it turns out I had quite a collection of Christmas cards to sort through with my move. [...]

    Reply

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