05 December 2008
Further proof, if any was really required, that I am out of my mind.
Despite not being into the religious part of the holiday (heck, the material part isn't all that interesting to me either) I do enjoy the holiday season for a number of reasons: people tend to be nicer in December, my birthday is in December, I love finding unique presents for my friends & family, I enjoy the orgy of cookie baking.
For many years, I've sent a ton of Christmas cards. Since I came back home from Sweden, it has been a way to keep in at least vague touch with a worldwide network of friends. Because many of those friends are not Christian, I've always been careful to find a message that is kind of neutral as far as mentioning Christmas/Hanukkah/Eid, but I want to at least let these people know that they're in my thoughts.
As the years have gone by, the list has changed, grown, expanded, and it now encompasses more than 70 names, in 4 countries.
People, this is insane.
I worked on the cards this week, and while it isn't an ordeal, it is a lot of work. I cheat by NOT addressing the invitations by hand; you can't read my handwriting anyway, so what's the point? Usually, I order cards in August-ish, they get here in October-ish, and I send them out over Thanksgiving weekend. When I order cards, I have them printed with a message from DH and I, and have our return address imprinted on the envelopes. This year, sometime around April, I stumbled across a bunch of Product (Red) Christmas cards at a Hallmark store that were 90% off. I bought all they had, figuring it was far cheaper than what I normally did and since I was working on commission at the time, it seemed like a good idea.
Amazingly, when it came time to send out holiday greetings, I actually remembered that I'd already bought cards, and was even able to find them in our storage room. Wonder of wonders. I could not find my pre-printed return address labels, but that's OK, I made more.
I use a mail-merge to print out labels for the cards, and once this was done, they sat around for a few days until I got to them. When I started slapping labels on the envelopes, there were more than a few names that made me stop and go, "huh?!". These are people that I used to work with years and years ago, or old high school friends that I have not actually spoken to in years, or even in one case, the children (well, adult children, but still) of old neighbors of my parents. Come on! This is patently silly.
DH refuses to have anything to do with the holiday card insanity; he won't even sign the ones addressed to *his* family. It is a fight I'm not interested in having, so I just leave him out of it. But he always asks if I've remembered to send out cards to a few old friends of his and a business contact or two. Yes, they're still on the list. When I was going over the list with him, there were one or two people that he raised his eyebrows over; again, people we have not actually spoken to in years.
So in my infinite wisdom, I've decided that this is the last year for more than about 20 people on that list. People I still talk to, fine, they're staying. Relatives; well, can't leave out so much as a single cousin or there would be hell to pay, so they're staying too. People that I have some semblance of a relationship with, even if it is just inside the computer, they're staying. Old co-workers from 4 jobs ago: gone. High school friends whose parents still live in town but they never bother to call when they're around: gone. People that I sent cards to out of a sense of obligation (i.e., I sent one to their best friend, so I should send one to them, too) also: gone. People that I send cards to that I don't actually like: gone.
Wow, that was liberating! Sad, too, but incredibly freeing.