My Love/Hate Relationship With Christmas Cards

Letters pieces that spell out the word Christmas

Retailers break out the decorations earlier and earlier every year and yet somehow it sneaks up on me every year. And every year I manage to feel like I’m terrible at it. Sure, our lights are up and the house decorated,  the dinner planned, the shopping is mostly finished, the annual party now a memory, but there is one glaring omission from that list. And every day I get another reminder from a friend, a different friend or relative each day, who has managed to have their shit together better than I.

And so goes my love/hate relationship with Christmas cards.

I love getting the mail in December because I know that sooner than later there will be something other than junk mail in my mailbox. And then the first one comes, sometimes before December, and despite my excitement, my heart sinks just a bit. Is it that time already? And sure enough, there it is, that perfectly dressed, perfectly posed family on the front of a card from one of my uber-organized friends.

I love getting those Christmas cards; I love seeing the smiling faces of my friends and family looking out at my from that piece of card stock. I love reading a snippet of what the year brought. Each and every one of those cards brings a smile to my face. And then I die just a little but inside.

Why? Because that’s the first reminder of many to follow, that once again, I’ve done nothing this year about sending Christmas cards.

It’s not like me. Anyone who knows me knows I love cards and notes. Love them. There is something about surprising someone with a handwritten note once in a while that I just love. It’s such an easy way to brighten someone’s day: thank you notes, thinking about you notes, notes because I love you, notes just because – all of them are my thing.

But Christmas cards, Christmas cards are my nemesis, not because I don’t want to send them, I desperately do, but every year that dang task gets me. Why?

Picture of Christmas Card

It’s not putting together the list, it’s in an excel spreadsheet updated throughout the year. It’s not sitting down and writing them. Yes, that part is painfully time consuming…but I actually enjoy it. It’s not  even finding time to do it, I would make time to do that.  It’s the dang picture, it trips me up every year. We are TERRIBLE about them. I can’t tell you the last picture we took with all five of us in it. The reasons vary: hubby hates family pictures, #1 is hardly around, and when he is, he’s not dressed up, #3’s idea of dressing up involves a collared shirt with athletic shorts…no coordinating outfits here, I’m lucky if I can get us all in the same dang place at the same time. Cute, coordinated and camera ready? Good luck.

Sure, I could send a traditional holiday card, one without a picture, but who does that anymore? From our stack this year, I’m going with no one. Even if I wanted to, I can rarely find one that feels right for our family and believe me, I’ve looked.

So here I sit on Christmas Eve morning hating the fact that once again, no Christmas cards have been sent. And no card means no family update has been shared. And this has been a year in our house… hubby quit his job, we bought a house in Costa Rica (timing = not great, btw), we lost our dog, then my Dad, #3 started 4th grade and #2 his senior year (I did get his senior picture done but was a struggle), hubby started a business (or two), I got published a couple of times…lots of happenings at our house, most of which those outside of our immediate circle know nothing about. And at the rate I’m going, they never will.

So what you say, you didn’t get Christmas cards out, who cares?

I care. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. I care a lot, waaaaaaay more than I should. Why? Because cards are my thing, cards are a part of who I am, cards are my way of showing love, of showing gratitude. Not sending a Christmas card feels totally unnatural. And worse, it robs me of an opportunity to say hi, to share my thanks for being a part of my life and to send my love.

So my dear friends and family, I know your empty mailbox likely meant nothing to you, and I’m working on it meaning less to me. And I’m not giving up just yet – how does a New Year’s card sound?!?!!?

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