Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Christmas Cards Are (Almost) Done!!

Even for someone who loves to write as much as I do, Christmas cards are a bit of a chore.

Over the years we have amassed dozens of friends in many countries on four continents, most of which we have contact with only via the annual Christmas card. Most of these get a card with a short handwritten note, but some of our oldest and closest friends also get The Letter - the three- or four-page magnum opus that covers the adventures of Bilbo and Agnes for the past year. And by the time you combine the card, the letter, and a photo, the postage to someplace like, say, Germany or Australia becomes a pretty significant line item in the holiday budget.

The Letter isn't handwritten, unfortunately...I just don't have that much time any more. So I write The Master Letter to my old friend Toni (whom I haven't seen in almost 30 years, and who always wants to know everything), and then word-process it so that it's customized for each other recipient and just contains the things I think they'd be interested in. I understand the people who send out the mass-copied-one-size-fits-all holiday letters, but I just can't do that - if I'm going to send you a letter, it's going to be as personal as I can make it, and contain the things you (probably) care about hearing. And this all, of course, takes time.


This morning I have a stack of cards about six inches high, many of which will cost different amounts of postage based on weight, distance, the phase of the moon, the relative percentages of various ethnic and political groups in Mr Obama's incoming administration, and the molecular weight of the ink and the glue on the stamps...which means I have to go to the post office and stand in line with six thousand of my closest friends to have them weighed and the correct postage calculated by postal employees whose ability to move slowly is exceeded only by the heavily medicated zombies of the DMV. AARRGGHH!! This year I put a postal scale on my Christmas wish list, which may help in the future...but that, of course, doesn't help me now (yes, Mike, I know I could just go out and buy the stupid postal scale myself, but then I'd have one less thing to complain about).

But they're mostly done...I just have to address a few more to some of our friends and relatives in Germany, and the chore is complete for another year...

...then I can start wrapping and packaging the gifts that need to be mailed.

Just shoot me now, and get it over with.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

You are much more ahead of the game than we are...our tree isn't up yet :(

fiona said...

I'm in front of you in line at the PO today. Instead of a letter, this year I bought these new "record a message" cards and had the kids send greetings. It was no more expensive a
lot less time consuming and the kids had a blast doing it!

Mike said...

"The Letter isn't handwritten, unfortunately...I just don't have that much time any more."

I know what you mean.

TWINKIE said...

I can't imagine the days without computers. Even typewriters seem like a chore with their back spacing and correction tape.

Merry Christmas!

Leslie David said...

OMG, The Letter! Last time I was down to Florida I tried to teach my mother to put her paper address book online so she could use it for mailing labels for The Letter (which goes with The Holiday Cards), and if she got really creative, use the merge feature.

I quit doing holiday cards years ago--it took too much time and I really can't be bothered. My mother's response to my suggestion that she not do The Letter and The Holiday cards was, "I have to; if I don't people will think that we're dead." I guess that's a valid point when you're 85. I know the last time I spoke to a high school classmate's mother, the first words out of her mouth were, "Are your parents still living?"