On Thursday evening, I wrote out my Christmas cards. I know it’s really early but we’re now past Thanksgiving so it isn’t obscene.
This year I rather did a cull of my card list. This is something I’ve always resisted but I realised that I was sending out nearly 120 cards (insane and unsustainable level of wifework). So people I haven’t seen or heard from in over 5 years aren’t getting a card – this is against the spirit of Christmas, I know.
As it is, I’m sending 62 cards within the UK and 7 overseas.
The thing is, I really want to just put them in the post now but don’t want them to arrive before 1 December (even that is a bit early). Perhaps I’ll post them on Tuesday. Or perhaps today. I use second class stamps (why does second class exist? I can’t work it out) so they should take a bit longer to arrive.
Yesterday, I posted all my Christmas cards (except for three, which I’ll hand out to people over the next few days). I love doing my Christmas cards, although I often find it rather bittersweet. It’s the time when I go through my address book, crossing out old addresses and updating it for new ones. Sometimes I’ll come to a name of someone who I haven’t spoken to for a while – and then I’ll realise that it’s actually been five, eight, ten years. I don’t like culling someone from my Christmas card list; I don’t think it’s in the spirit of Christmas, which is probably why I send so many cards.
From time to time, I will decide not to send someone a card. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think of them fondly – there are plenty of people who I would love to catch up with, even after so many years – but there are lots of new people in my address book to whom it makes more sense to send a card.
My address book is a bit messy these days – there’s been so many (various) house moves that it’s become a bit of a mass of crossing out and corrections. I’ve bought a new address book to replace it – but I probably won’t get round to filling it in until next Christmas.
One of the great pleasures in sending out Christmas cards is actually going to the Post Office and buying a load of stamps. I think this comes from when I was little – sending letters was what grown ups did. In particular, I get quite a thrill from sending a lot of letters abroad.
Today, I had quite a long chat with the guy behind the counter (instigated by him, I’m not completely batty). I don’t think he was all that impressed by my stamp buying (he does, after all, work in the Post Office) but he did tell me a long, rather rambling story about how he was going to teach the world to be at peace and harmony with itself. I think he’s just about to retire.
Having done my Christmas cards this year, I found this article in The Pool – it basically says that this sort of thing counts as “emotional labour” and that it is left to women far too often. This is true. I remember a friend complaining that, whenever a colleague’s partner had had a baby, she was always the one asked to buy the office gift as she was the only woman – even though she was childless at the time and hadn’t the faintest idea what to get.
However, as I am the one who actually, really cares about the Christmas cards, then I think I’d better keep hold of this job. Until I decide I’ve just about had enough of it.