Sunday, December 8, 2019

Getting carded

One of the things I really enjoy about the holiday season (other than sugar cakes and Christmas cookies) is getting Christmas cards.

One of the things I really try to avoid during the holiday season is addressing and mailing Christmas cards.

I guess I just don't have the patience it takes to sign, address and stamp the 50 or so cards we send to our friends, family, co-workers and, in some instances, annual acquaintances.

There's still plenty of Christmas cards that need to be signed...
 (I use the royal "We" here. Because Christmas carding has become such a torturous obligation for me, Kim is the one who really does all the work. When the first week of December rolls around, she makes sure we have Christmas stamps on hand. The cards were already purchased months earlier so we're not caught off guard when the season rolls around. She has a handy check list nearby to make sure we haven't forgotten anybody, or that we don't send one family two or more cards. Kim is my hero).

The one assignment Kim has given to me is to write short notes to my brothers and my two oldest and dearest friends inside the Christmas cards we send them. I don't mind doing this, although I have noticed that my handwriting has really deteriorated over the years. I used to have beautiful penmanship, especially for a lefty, since my words didn't slant in the wrong direction and I mostly was able to avoid lefthander smudge.

But now, it seems, all that is a distant memory. I find myself leaving out letters. Each line of my personal note usually tracks uphill or downhill, and I don't know why. I dot not only i's and j's, but occasionally e's, y's and c's. It's like I can't help myself. Maybe there's some medication for that.

Anyway, I feel bad about my lousy handwriting. It's embarrassing.

In the old days, when I was younger (How is it we were "younger" in the "old" days? I'm approaching septuagenarinism – shouldn't these be my "old" days now?), I not only enjoyed getting cards, but sending them off, too. There was a time when I would Scotch tape each card we got to a door frame in the living room, where the tree was. It was a unique and colorful way to decorate the room.

I know I'm sounding Scrooge-like, but I'm going to bet I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm going to bet that if you're a boomer, and because time seems to fly by faster the older we get, it seems like we just finished addressing all those 2018 cards. What, it's here again? I just sent you a card.

I'm not sure when Christmas carding began. Some suggest it's the invention of Hallmark, but it seems it's actually a Victorian custom that began in England around the 1840s (see here).

I know, I know. You're thinking, "Well, if that's how he feels about it, I'm not sending him one next year."

Please, don't feel that way. I still enjoy getting cards. It's tradition, and I love tradition.

There, I just solved my own problem. Next year, Christmas carding will be a labor of love.

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