This year I have gotten far fewer Christmas cards than I normally do. Maybe it’s the divorce, maybe people aren’t sending them out this year, maybe… Scratch that. Actually, I don’t really care why there are far fewer Christmas cards this year, I’m just glad there are far fewer Christmas cards this year.
You see, for being the greatest Christmas fiend this world has ever known, I hate Christmas cards. No. Actually, I loathe them, abhor them, and despise them.
It’s funny, really… because all the years I was married, I insisted on sending out Christmas cards. Every. Single. Year. Without fail. It didn’t matter if we couldn’t afford it, it didn’t matter if they weren’t sent out until Valentine’s Day, it didn’t matter if I couldn’t find decent pictures of us… we were still going to do it, and we were going to be happy about it, and people were going to like them, damn it!
But it didn’t occur to me until just this morning that all these people I sent Christmas cards to probably hated getting them as much as I do. Don’t get me wrong… I love my friends and family. I’m glad that they’re happy and healthy this holiday season. It’s just that… I don’t care enough for you to send me a card all about it. I mean, I can Facebook stalk you. You don’t need to send me junk mail just to prove your point.
The thing with Christmas cards is… well… aren’t they more of an excuse to brag about how awesome your year was. OR, in some cases, complain about how horrible your year was? Either way, they seem like a sorry excuse to garner some attention and be all, “Look at me!” when you might not have the availability of a Facebook page.
Look, I have this stack of Christmas cards sitting on my desk from both good friends, and decent acquaintances. Some of them include full-page letters informing me of all they’ve been up to this year, which, c’mon… if I’m being honest… it’s going right in the trash. The full-page Christmas letter is nothing more than blatant self-promotion. And honestly? I don’t really care about what you’ve been up to. Unless you got married, had a kid, adopted a pet, or became insanely filthy rich overnight (because now I need further details of these life-altering events by which to judge you)… I really don’t care. It’s a snooze fest. Your foot surgery? Your trip to Europe? Your new job? Yawn. First of all, if we’re good friends, I probably already know about these things, and I don’t need a year-end recap and review session. Secondly, if we’re not good friends… I’m sorry… I just don’t care. Why do people insist on sending these insipid things? They’re silly and pointless. Seriously. Next year, save your time and money and skip it. I hate to say it, but we’re all pretty self-absorbed, and you’re right… we really don’t care that much.
Then there is the stack of photo cards. Here’s the thing: Nobody thinks your family is as beautiful as you do, and no one thinks your kids are as adorable as you insist they are. I’m glad you’re proud of them and want to show them off… but again… as cute as they might be, I’m not going to all-out “SQUEEEE!!!!” when I open the card. The best you’ll get is a half-assed, half-hearted, half-grin and it goes back in the envelope and onto the stack with the others. I used to hang up all the photo cards on the refrigerator door, but then it just got ridiculous when you couldn’t open the fridge without encountering an avalanche of mail. Plus, a lot of the faces on those cards… well… let’s just say they’re not always super cute… I don’t really want to look at them on a regular basis. I mean, c’mon people. At least put a little effort into the pictures you use. There must be SOME half-way decent pictures of you and your progeny. Use them! Why do you insist on putting the most unattractive photos on your cards? Are you trying to be funny? Because clearly I am not getting the joke, and now I’m just feeling sorry for you instead.
Before you jump all over me and tell me what a horrible, heartless person I am… think about it. Deep down, you know you’ve had these same thoughts yourself. People have had the same thought about my Christmas cards, I’m sure. I’m sure there have been plenty of utterances of “Oh my GAWD, Get over your cat already! Must he be in EVERY Christmas card?” or “Huh. I don’t get it. How did he end up with her?” or “Wow… that’s a really crappy picture of both of them…” or “Really, you guys? That’s the best picture you could find? Are you suffering from a liver disease?”.
Yes, I realize I’m a bit jaded this year and so every letter and photo of happy Christmas contentment hurts a little more than it has in the past. And the thing is, as much as I complain, if I were still happily married, you bet your butt you’d be getting a Christmas card. And when I’m happily married once again (fingers crossed) you can bet your butt you’ll be getting them once again. Because at Christmastime, I guess we all have something to prove… like how happy and healthy and blessed we are. And honestly? If I wasn’t getting this ridiculous stack of Christmas cards, I’d be all like, “What the hell?! Stupid jerks can’t send me Christmas cards anymore? What, I’m not on the list now?! I hate you and everything you stand for…”
I guess what I’m trying to say is… Actually, I have no idea what I’m trying to say. I guess the clutter of the ever-growing stack of Christmas card is just really starting to piss me off. And maybe I’m reading into the whole “Purpose Behind A Christmas Card” a little too much. 20% of the population probably has good intentions behind their Christmas cards… you know, like spreading Christmas cheer. And here I am, all tearing them down for it. Sorry about that, peeps. But honestly, there’s a small part of you that agrees with me, isn’t there. Deep down? Just a little? You don’t have to say anything… just nod your head. I’ll know what it means.
This snail-mail version of Facebook that comes around once a year… this silly competition to prove our worthiness in the eyes of others… this attention-seeking waste of time is kind of counter-productive to spreading Christmas cheer, isn’t it? Maybe we should all save some trees and stick to feeding each other baked goods at this time of year. Fat and happy. That’s the goal, right?