So....Christmas. Over for another year and like most years, I'm thinking about it all with my usual sharp and penetrating insight. Right now that's being aided by generous shots of Amaretto creamer in my two mugs of coffee and I have to say that the liquid version of the creamer is MUCH more potent than the powder version. I'm slowly working my way up to just pouring in the real thing and THEN you'll get some insight !
Christmas cards are my topic today. Should that be 'is my topic' ? Told you the Amaretto was potent.
I'm never quite sure about sending cards and for once it's not a matter of cost. Mostly. I think it all started for me when boxed sets came out and often the cards in boxes look like they were printed on paper recycled from paper already recycled from old toilet roll tubes. Often there is no message at all inside as if the producers couldn't even be bothered with 4 lines that rhyme in any way at all.
Then companies like Hallmark stepped in and now we have cards FOR everyone FROM everyone. On my visit to one of their stores in the Sebring Mall, I came across some gems in with cards for every possible member of a family from the acceptable mum, dad, son and daughter to the slightly less acceptable lover, mistress, bit on the side when the wife is off shopping at ASDA.
There were cards you could send to a priest. The bible reference inside was Luke 11:28 so I think someone was having a wee laugh.
Not to be left out, there were cards for pastors too and even nuns got their own cards. If I was wanting to send a card to Uncle Bill, my seldom mentioned Franciscan relative (my dad's brother so to speak) , I'd have been out of luck. I should start a campaign calling for equal Christmas card rights (rites ?) for monks.
"A Monk Isn't Just For Christmas" That's catchy.
Just in case you're not sure of the role that your religious friend plays, there were cards for a generic religious participant. Maybe these go to the nice people who hold open the church door or who pass along a bag full of money during Mass when I can take out a bit of spending money for the week ahead. What ? No ? You put money IN ?
Going further down the unlikely recipients for a Christmas card list, we come to hair stylists. Yes there are now cards for the person who cuts your hair ! Why did I never think of sending mine one ? Well because I'd have to open it myself as I cut my own hair...sorry...hairs. Still plural but only just.
Then there are the ones created specifically for one section of humanity to send to another section..........like babies to their babysitters. I kid you not. Kid....baby...gettit ? Oh never mind.
You can now send a card to a co-worker. Now is it just me or don't you think if you were friendly enough to send a card to a co-worker, you'd just send a 'normal' one. The best one of these 'job' type ones was a card specifically for an administrative assistant ! What about the administrator ? Nothing for them. Move along to the next window please.
Leaving humanity aside, there were cards for dogs to send to cats and vice versa. But as animals aren't allowed into stores, I fear those will never sell.
I could go on but you get the point....or maybe the pointlessness of Christmas cards. I mean how often do we even read the prose/poetry inside these things ? We look to see who they're from and then panic if we haven't already sent them one. We rush to 'the recycled box' and if there is time and the post office workers aren't on strike, we post one back asap and hope not to get anymore like that.
I'm sure there must be 'late' cards like you get for birthdays.
"I'm sorry that I missed Christmas but here's a card to show you I was thinking about you in the first week in January." That sort of thing.
There is no doubt that getting a nice thoughtful card from someone you've not heard from for years can be uplifting and bring distanced friends and relatives together again. It's when you sit down with a megabox of discounted cards (70% off on Boxing Day last year) and a printout of every contact you've ever made in your life next to it, that I begin to wonder what it's all about.
"Never got one from that sister of yours so we're not sending her one this year. And Uncle Norm ? He ran off with the Philippino au pair and Auntie Marge is still in pieces...so let not do either this year, eh ?"
Is it all a commercial rip off by the card companies ? Sure. Do we really need a card from anyone wishing us a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays ? That's my question today. And while I chew it over, I'm off into town to get my "Thank you For Sending Me A Christmas Card" card. For my gas meter reader, y'know.
If I get a card from my undertaker next year, then I'll know the Christmas card business has reached rock bottom - or at least 6ft down towards it !