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December 18, 2006 / Meredith

There! That’ll Show ‘Em!

It’s only one week until Christmas and I’m just finishing up my Christmas cards. I find it remarkable that I’m even sending them this year, so don’t judge my tardiness. However, I also find it interesting that lots of people I know don’t even send Christmas cards … ever. OK, I can understand why the Jew doesn’t (I send him one anyway), but it seems so unusual to me that people, lots of people, don’t send Christmas cards.

While I think giving and receiving Christmas cards is one of the season’s simple pleasures, there are people like, let’s call her “Mildred,” who take the whole Christmas card business way too seriously. She comes from the old school of hand-writing notes in each and every one of the cards she sends out. A nice tradition, if you have the sensibilities to keep things simple and concise. Mildred doesn’t believe in simple and concise when it comes to Christmas cards. If someone sends her a card that simply says, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” along with their signature, she is offended to the point where she will punish them by not sending her card to them. It is quite obvious to her that someone who doesn’t write a detailed description of everything that has happened to them throughout the past year doesn’t care enough about her to deserve one of her cards.

On the other hand, Mildred hems and haws every year over how much effort she will put into the Christmas cards she sends to others – the others that deserve one, that is. Even with her dwindling list of deserving recipients she complains about having to write all those letters and notes, by hand. She doesn’t understand that greeting cards are designed to express the sentiment she is trying to convey without her having to come up with and write the words herself. She doesn’t understand that Christmas cards are merely a gesture of goodwill and remembrance. She doesn’t understand that if she wants to send Christmas cards, no matter how simple or detailed, it should be done with a happy heart, and if she can’t do it with a happy heart she should just chuck the whole damn project!

So with the example of Mildred to my benefit, I send out my simple, yet beautiful cards to those most near and dear to my heart. I don’t take any pride or shame in the number of cards I send out. I don’t generically send the same letter to everyone I know, sharing the same news, in the same way to each and every one of them. I send a card to those I like and don’t send one to those I don’t like. Christmas is a time of cheer, not of toiling over who is worthy to receive a card, or over the content of the enclosed note. Christmas cards (or lack thereof) should not be used as a punishment or reward from the giver. They’re Christmas cards, for crying out loud.

For all of you who don’t send cards because you choose not to, I’m going to send you one of mine, just because I want to send you one. For those of you who include a ten-page hand-written letter in your card to me, I will send you one of mine with the one-phrase sentiment I usually include in my cards. To Mildred and all those out there just like her I say, lighten up. Don’t judge people on something so meaningless as a Christmas card. And don’t think your Christmas card carries a whole lot of weight with others.

Remember, Jesus is disappointed when you use Christmas cards as a weapon.

The End

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