Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How do you dispose of a friend aka The Death of the Christmas Card

Who sends Christmas cards?   Anyone?  Not virtual cards that sing Jingle Bells with an animated reindeer but real paper from trees type of Christmas Cards?

Okay, the first thing you want to do is correct me.  "We don't send Christmas Cards" you say, "we send Holiday cards."  They must be non-denominational.  They need to include Kawaanza, Hannukah, Waldorf fairies and Christmas.

Still, who sends Holiday cards?

Perhaps its just me becoming unpopular.  In the old days [aka the 1980s] when I was a kid, by now the mailbox would be full of cards.  I would collect the stamps from England, from Swaziland, from Australia and open the cards from everyone who had even the most tangential relationship to my family.  We would hang up a string in the living room and hang the cards on it.  Sometimes they would have treats like bookmarks or letters in them.  After Christmas we would cut them up and make scrapbooks out of them, or collect them in old chocolate boxes.

The cards were lovely.  They had embossed angels and silver foil inlays and shiny stars.  Some had pictures of old English villages with carol singers.  They had peace doves spouting words in many languages.  They had illuminated letters and bold wishes for peace and love and joy.  They were happy and generous and just plain pretty.

So far, this year we have received ONE CARD [thankyou Corlie].   And next year I probably won't get that card either because of what I am going to write next.

The few remaining people who send cards, send pictures of their family printed into cards.  Its like a kind of photographic swap meet.   I am sitting at my desk right now doing it too.  I send out photo-cards of my family and you send me photo cards of your family and then we all hope we remember each other until next year.

These photo cards of your family are pretty but they are not something I am going to store for posterity but I can't throw them away either.   In Indonesia I was taught that it is very bad luck to throw away a photograph of someone.  Its quite dangerous.  Its like throwing away your relationship or casting them into peril.  So what do I do with the Holiday cards with all our loved friends kids on them, our family nieces and nephews?

Surely you've felt it?  You try and throw away a photo and the smiling faces stare reproachfully out from the recycling.  You wonder if its okay to recycle them - isn't that like Shredding them?   I end up stacking them someplace for long enough that I forget and later dispose of them suddenly, like the pickled plums you really didn't like but never throw out of the fridge until, finally, you are allowed because they have grown mold and are entering another phase of their lives which is obviously better performed in the yard waste.

The only people who send me real cards are our real estate agent, our financial adviser, our insurance company and the guy down the road who keeps trying to get me to make a financial plan (with him).

Anyway, if you get one of my Holiday Cards I hope you enjoy it for a little while.  I will survive if you recycle me.  I will still send you one next year.  And if you send me one I shall string it over the fireplace and appreciate it because it is one of very few.  But I will dispose of your card eventually and hope you forgive me.


LynnK said...

I do like to send very clever, creative Christmas cards... which means I only send them out every few years, because how creative and clever can I be every year? I'm now racking my brains for something memorable. Brynn has volunteered a Christmas drawing she did on the iPad in less than 3 minutes. Frankly it looks OK in a kid-drawing way. I just hate the idea that I'll spend hours and dollars sending out a three minute effort. So I applaud any card you send out, and hope I remain on my friends' mailing lists, despite my sporadic efforts.

By the way, love that I can now post more easily! Thanks for the change.

Shannon said...

I know what you mean about effort. I have done 10 and it took about half an hour... plus there was that trip to buy stamps and all that time updating my friends postal addresses (because we keep emails not street addresses these days).

So, I think your bi-annual approach is wise. You won't lose any distant Real friends if you remind them that you exist every two years and you will have enough money to buy them a coffee if they ever come to town.

I always make my forrin friends a priority for cards because they forget me otherwise.

Mommy and Daddy said...

I still send Christmas cards. I always send them out the Monday after Thanksgiving. Like you had stated in your post I too used to get a ton of cards 5-6 a day in my mailbox. It was so exciting! This year I have gotten two. I like getting an actual card in the mail rather than a greeting on line. It will be sad the year that no Christmas cards come in the mail.

Shannon said...

I am glad I am not the only one who has received almost no cards. I have still received only ONE (Corlie). Seriously, when I wrote this post I thought they were in the mail but apparently They are Almost Dead.

Shannon said...

PS. I haven't received cards from the Financial Advisors this year either. Is it the economy?

I have received 2 email cards.