|Christmas postcard date unknown, circa 1900. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
But the epitome of my anality might be my system for managing Christmas cards.
I have an Excel spreadsheet that tracks every Christmas card we’ve sent or received for the past few years. Well, actually, for the past 22 years. One of my great disappointments, and something that I can never go back and change, is the fact that I didn’t do this for the first 4 years of our marriage. What was I thinking? How did I manage my Christmas cards back then? Did I, gulp, write it all down on a piece of paper?
For each person who we sent or received a card from in the past 22 years, I have columns for last names, first names, street address, city, state, and zip. After that I have a column for status – either active, inactive, or receive only. Then, for each year since 1990 I have two columns – sent and received. I put an X in the appropriate column(s).
We (and when I say we, I mean I) have some loosely enforced rules about whom we send Christmas cards to. For example, if we’ve been exchanging cards with one another for a while and you skip a year, that’s okay. You are forgiven (we are not a monster after all). But if you skip two consecutive years, that’s it. No card for you! However, we have granted several exemptions. My good friends and lifelong bachelors, David in Las Vegas and Louie in Cleveland, each get a free pass. Old people who simply can no longer manage to send out Christmas cards get a pass. Kim’s college roommates, Becky and Dawn, who just aren’t Christmas card type people, are each lucky recipients of a lifetime pass. We’re going to keep sending these people cards every year whether they like it or not. After all, they cannot employ an automated spam folder for snail mail, now can they?
|Queen's Christmas tree at Windsor Castle 1848, adapted for Godey's Lady's Book, December 1850 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
I do consider the big picture once in a while. Must we continue with Christmas cards, at least in this way, indefinitely? First, I’m a modern, tecky guy (for someone my age). Isn’t there a way to accomplish this using online tools instead of the post office? I haven’t done a lot of research on the matter, but it seems unlikely that sending a virtual Christmas card would create such a warm, fuzzy feeling on the receiver’s end. This may not always be the case, but I think it is for now.
Second, I have to ask myself if all the work associated with sending out Christmas cards is worth it. How many people would think less of us if we didn’t? But we have such a long history (well-documented, at that) of sending cards that I hate to lose our momentum. For many people on our list, this is the only time we communicate with one another all year. And I must admit, it’s kind of fun to receive as many cards as we do. I assume, however, that if we stopped sending cards we would stop receiving them. So, for now we are forging ahead, but I can’t guarantee that at some point in the future we won’t let ourselves off the hook.
Incidentally, you may wonder why a blasphemous heathen like me sends out Christmas cards at all. Well, it’s because I choose to celebrate a secular version of Christmas. If you are a fellow atheist who thinks I’m selling out by participating in a Christian holiday, get over it. If you are Christian and you don’t feel that I have the right to participate in what you may consider your holiday, well, Christmas makes me happy. End of story.
Now back to the topic at hand...
I’d like to know your thoughts on Christmas cards. Do you participate in this age-old tradition? How do you make the job easier or add more depth and meaning to your holiday correspondence?
And finally, for all of you who enjoy Enjoying the Ride, whether you are in my Excel spreadsheet or not…
May Peace, Joy, Love and Good Health be yours during this Holiday Season and throughout the New Year.
Season’s Greetings from The Sturgeons!