Christmas Cards as a Corrective Action
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!