Today, I received my first Christmas card. I don’t know whether to applaud this person’s brilliant organisational skills or wonder if they’ve a desperate need to be liked?
I’m now morally obliged to speedily send a card back in case delaying a reply will lead to their traumatic meltdown.
But when is the best time to send a Christmas card? Send too early and you put someone on a guilt trip; send too late and people may feel you didn’t care enough, had completely forgotten them or only sent out of obligation. All are probably true.
One of the worst things is getting unexpected cards from your unknown co-workers. So, you walk around with pockets full of blank mini cards that you secretly write out in the toilets before reluctantly handing to them – or you create them a rubbish card from items in the stationery cupboard?
Most packets of cheap cards have a rubbish, generic “Season’s Greetings” message inside. So, in order to stop people thinking you are Charles Dickens, you’re obliged to add the words “Have a great Christmas.”
Similarly, with cards inscribed with “Merry Christmas”, you have to write “And a Happy New Year,” just in case people think you didn’t want their happiness to last more than a day.
Small children often make personal cards using school materials and present you with something disappointingly made of card, crepe paper, crayon and messy glitter and, much as you love your children, you secretly wish they’d produce something decent to put on public display because they’re supposedly being supervised by responsible adults with teaching degrees.
If I don’t receive a card back from someone for 3 consecutive years, I ponder a “3 strikes and you’re out” policy, as the following year, I harshly consider if their friendship is worth more than the value of my 2nd class stamp.
With younger generations now sending Christmas greetings via email, Facebook or other social media, the stressful days of sending traditional Christmas cards may eventually, disappear completely.