First Posted: 12/17/2010
Every year around the end of November, I buy a box of Christmas cards with the intention of getting all of them mailed to my loved ones long before I receive any in the mail.
And each year they sit on a shelf, untouched until Christmas is near, when I frantically realize I still havent done them. While the reminder has been in my planner for weeks, I continuously erase it and move to a later date.
Its not that I dont want to write messages of cheer, and its not that Im lazy. Its just that Im avoiding what I know will be an ordeal that will take hours to finish.
It is embarrassing, but in the spirit of being honest, I will tell you why it takes me so long to write some light-hearted Christmas cards.
In order to get my perfect message crafted, I do rough drafts of what I will say on each card. Actually, not just Christmas cards birthday cards, thank-you cards, any occasion. My college roommate, Lesley, who effortlessly scrawls her perfectly casual messages on her cards each year, always makes fun of my obsessive-compulsive card-writing.
But let me tell you, my cards are top-notch. There are no store-bought messages with a single signature below being sent from my home.
If an occasion is important enough to honor with a card, and I care about that person, I want the card to accurately reflect that sentiment.
I believe its important to put a personal touch, like an inside joke, or mention an event coming up that we are going to, so that the recipient doesnt think I sent the same message to everyone. I know when I get a card like that, I feel special, and I want everyone who gets a card from me to share that feeling.
Choosing my cards is also time-consuming. Im picky. They have to be simple, yet cute. They also have to have something unique. This year, mine are light blue, with a small snowman on the front. The snowmans scarf is a green ribbon, so it makes the card a lot more visual and interesting.
The cards message has to be something that I am OK with sending to anyone on my list. It cant be too religious, or too light. Sending Merry Xmas to a relative who is religious wont go over too well. On thank-you cards, it cant say Thanks if Im sending a card to say thank you, I want it to sound sincere. Cards that are blank on the inside always work best. This year, mine say Warm Winter Wishes.
Then I have to decide to whom to send cards. Family and close friends are obvious choices. Then theres the awkward in-betweens. Co-workers, for example. If you give a card to a co-worker or two, you risk upsetting others who feel left out. Also, nobody wants to be the bosss pet, so getting my boss a card is usually out of the question. Unless I need some brownie points, then it is a great idea, along with some cupcakes.
By the time I am done sending out my Christmas cards, I wonder how in the world I turned something that should be joyous into a stress test.
But when I hear someone say they liked their Christmas card, it makes it all worth the time spent.