Please welcome guest blogger and friend, Lisa. Lisa is a full time mom and wife, part time Marketing and Public Affairs professional, part time beer and wine drinker and full time funny friend. She strikes a great balance where it matters most, so if her Christmas card comes late…or… **cough**…never…we’ll give her a pass this year! In her free time, Lisa enjoys relaxing drives on Route 128, hawking Girl Scout cookies, and working the crowd in the preschool pick up line. Wait, that sounds wrong. Never mind. She’s funny…read her post! Oh, and I hope your holiday cards are in the mail!
Is December 23rd too late to mail your Christmas Cards?
Some of my cards, and I reiterate SOME, went in the mail this morning.
I dropped them off in the industrial sized mailbox, shut the lid with eyes closed, purposely avoiding any sight of the posted daily pick up time, and walked away with a stern – there’s your holiday cheer – ho, ho, ho!!
Christmas comes at the same time EVERY year. Same date even. No fluctuation like Easter or school vacation. It’s 12/25 year after year. So why is it that Christmas cards seem to be one of the last-minute stress factors of the season EVERY year? And EVERY year you tell yourself that next year (at the same time, of course) that you’ll be more organized.
You’ll get that family portrait taken.
You’ll make the cards early and have the envelopes address and stamped BEFORE Thanksgiving even.
And every year, the cards start pouring in and instead of feeling the holiday joy — you feel panic– complete and utter panic. I have to do these cards NOW. And they have to be good – really creative and fun!
My husband senses the panic and calmly says, “Just find a great family photo–we must have something we can use.”
Of course, all of your photos from the past year are either still in the camera or hidden somewhere on the computer. And you hear your mother’s nagging voice that pops up at every family function.
“Let me get a photo of the 4 of you together — it’ll make a great Christmas card.” Wink, wink.
So you spend a week digging through your digital photos only to realize that you don’t have a great shot and now you’ve just blown a week of precious holiday prep time with your nose buried in the computer, when you should have been decorating, shopping or doing something else that has been foolishly labeled ‘holiday fun’.
So you make an executive decision:
“We’re not doing Holiday Cards this year.”
There, I said it out loud. Decision made.
It’s December 15th and we’re just going to enjoy the holidays. Back to making those cute homemade gifts (’tis the season to be jolly).
And then the cards start pouring in.
Some of them are great — there’s our old neighbors, wow have their kids grown, and look, our college friends had a new baby –she’s just 2 weeks old and –oh!–they managed to get their professionally done cards out on time.
Others have some of the worst photos you’ve ever seen. So my husband says, at least.
“Come-on, we must have something we can throw on a card – and it’s be better than THAT (my cousin’s son kissing what appears to be their German Shepard wearing a reindeer headband?)
So you spend yet another few days digging through photos and come up with a brilliant idea:
“We’re going to make New Year’s Cards instead.”
There, I said it out loud. Decision made.
It’s December 20th and we’re just going to enjoy the holidays.
Back to last minute shopping (Joy to the world!)
New Years cards will be a nice change!
Isn’t it about wishing people well for the season and the whole new year anyway?(or should we just admit out loud that it’s a brag fest of “my kids are cuter than yours” vs. who has the better vacation photo vs. whose wife has gained the most weight and husband has lost the most hair?).
And the cards keep pouring in…..
“Look! It’s your mother’s second cousins from Charlotte – so nice that they always remember us. And his 87 year old godmother from Florida – she’s a spry one isn’t she!?”
And here comes the panic again!
She’s 87 and cannot only manage to remember who we are – but get a nice, hand-written card to us — in plenty of time for us to enjoy it!
What if she doesn’t know that we’re going to send New Year’s Cards?
Will she think we forgot them and don’t wish her happy holidays?
Will she think they didn’t make the list?
Oh the horror!!!!
And now you’re in a real dilemma.
What to do? It’s Dec. 21st! Are we too late? Will sending cards now look like an after thought? Or an oops, I got theirs so I must send them one?!?
If we do these right now, at least a few of them will get there at least a minute before Christmas.We’ll just do the necessary family and old people who we only communicate with once a year.
And then, you remember where the real panic comes from as you look at THE LIST.
Where do you draw the line?
Who is considered family and ‘close’ friends?
Who is old enough to get a card?
Do you blow off all of your neighbors and in-town friends because they see your kids all the time anyway? Or do you blow off the out-of town, out of touch people you only communicate with once a year via Christmas cards?
The Christmas card list started with your wedding guests from 10 years ago. Add in the friends you have made along the way. Co-workers from each job, friends that your kids have made, neighbors, etc. Not to mention, the mailman, teachers, the bus driver and, in Janet’s case, her favorite kid from the supermarket deli.
Now you’re sending cards to more people than you actually see or speak to in any given year. (Fa la la la la).
So you dig though the pile of cards the thoughtful ones have taken the time to send wishing you a happy holiday season, instead of just a ‘day’. And you get some helpful comments….From the kids.
“Mommy – who are these children, do we know them?”
“No honey, you don’t.” And neither do I.
“Will we meet them some day?” Maybe some day (more likely no, and I’ll probably never see their parents again either).
And from your husband?
“Greetings from Tennessee – who the heck do we know in Tennessee?”
My college room mate’s best friend from high school that was in her wedding with me back in 1997.
“Seriously – have you seen her since?”
Nope. And probably never will again.
And about the beautifully crafted card that folds out like an accordion to display three formal portraits of the family with six children and one dog dressed in matching outfits for each season?
“Who are these people – -that guy looks like a dork. Do I know them?”
“No, I used to work with her many years ago.”
“When? Have you seen here recently?”
“My first job out of college – before I met you.” (love of my life for the past 16 years now).
“Well, is she a good business contact?”
“No. She’s now a super religious housewife that home school’s her children.” (not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you).
“And she still sends you Christmas cards? That makes sense.”
“No it really doesn’t make any sense at all, does it?”
And neither do 3/4 of the people on this list.
But then again, this tradition of holiday panic doesn’t make any more sense than putting a live tree in your house, decorating it with shiny accessories and food and expecting your children not to touch it, right?
It’s a tradition, damn it.
So, you hastily order a cheesily designed on-line card that you pay out the nose for. For a brief moment that holiday cheer fills your soul before you realize that it will be ready in exactly 24 hours at 6:23 pm on 12.22. Translation: three days before Christmas.
It’s okay – at least we’re sending them this year! “It’s the thought that counts!” , you exclaim proudly as you open the box to see:
An overly dark photo where your husband’s eyes are closed and you look pregnant. Nice!
Not to mention that you spelled your oldest child’s name wrong and listed your youngest as age 2 (she’s now 4 1/2). Whoops!
It’s hideous. And will be late. For those who actually made the list — very late. Not exactly the card worth waiting for.
But sadly, it’s better than what you sent at the same time last year!
Happy Holidays everyone!