Countdown to Christmas…Christmas Cards

Let us not beat around the dick on this one: the only (and I mean only) reason why I send out Christmas cards (on the rare occasion that I do) is because I feel an obligation to do so.

Not because I enjoy spreading holiday cheer.

Not because I get gads of cards in the mail and want to return the act of genuine kindness.

Not because anyone told me to.

In fact, people tell me not to all the time. A few years ago, I sent out these really expensive, plantable cards. Didn’t hear from anyone that they actually planted them. Last year I sent out no less than fifty Christmas cards. Can anyone guess how many I got in return? Those motherfuckers were handmade. Required extra fucking postage, due to the size and shape. They each had a personal, handwritten message.

All fifty. All. Fucking. Fifty.

I got two.

After that, a lot of people told me that I shouldn’t waste my time and money. My husband’s grandfather yelled – I mean yelled – at me just about a month ago not to waste my money on Christmas cards this year. He told me that I have better things I could be doing, like watching Turner Classic Movies (his suggestion) and knitting scarves for myself to wear the three days a year the temperature dips below 55 in California.

And it always starts out the same way. Every year. First it is almost natural and common knowledge (to myself) that I won’t be sending out Christmas cards. It isn’t even really a thought in my mind – I am that inherently against doing it.

Then my dad goes through his list of people that are getting cut (after two years with no return card, he cuts the person…my Uncle Ken will not be happy this year after getting slashed…). He always does this in front of me, and I always start to question whether or not I should be doing cards.

I don’t want to. But I start to think that I should.

Somewhere after there I’m in Target or CVS or even the grocery store, and I see boxes of cards. Man, the really pretty ones are only like $7 a box. I feel kind of like a cheap dick for not even doing just that. Or I go to Michaels and I see those boxes of make-your-own-cards kits. They are so cheap! And I mean I don’t have any projects to do right now (which is always a lie I tell myself to try and justify this obligatory feeling I have, which I just don’t get…).

The next thing I know, I’m addressing cards, standing in line at the post office to get holiday stamps, stressing over what to write in the cards to people I don’t know very well or (more often) cannot stand the thought of. And I’m going on my annual search for people’s addresses that I have never, and will never, take the time to document anywhere so that I can stop having to ask.

I hate myself so much for so many reasons, and this is just another one of those reasons.

Then I see things that come in the mail, and I feel like even more of a jerk. Like I did today. I’m still procrastinating on doing cards – I mean I have the postage and the cards, I just…

This year – so far – I have gotten three cards. That’s one more than last year, and there’s still time. Who knows, I may get four. I got one from my aunt and uncle, one from my cousins, and one from a blogger I have never even met in real life. It had a bookmark. And lots of glitter. Glitter that got all over my pants, and made them look a thousand times more awesome than they would have otherwise; which is still on my pants right now and makes me feel like a jerk for not wanting to do cards. (Because if someone I have never even met in real life can take the time to send me this envelope of glittery awesome, surely I can take the time to stop procrastinating and send out these stupid cards I have sitting over there – staring at me, on the dining room table…right?)

So I don’t want to do cards, but I do them anyway out of an obligation that I cannot pinpoint; and I feel like a jerk because other people do them so nicely and willingly and you don’t hear them complaining, while here I am complaining every step of the way and being very open and honest about the fact that I don’t even want to fucking do them.

Still with me? Maybe all this griping is why I only got two cards last year.

Here’s where I think my real problems are with Christmas cards: I expect some in return, and rarely get many (if any at all). And why should I, with this kind of an attitude? Moreover, I feel like I have to include a letter or an update. Like my Christmas card is supposed to include this not-so-humble brag about how wondrous my and my family’s lives are. You know like that stupid Christmas jammies video that went viral the other day: those people basically did nothing but brag about their wonderful lives for the whopping three minutes of the video, and for it they are now Internet celebrities.

I don’t have much to brag about. Certainly not enough to brag for an entire three minute video. Or a half a sheet of paper. If I were to write a Christmas letter it would say something like: “Husband at the same job, nothing changed with the under 18 crowd, we took a couple vacations around California and to Chicago, and I hate my life because I do stupid shit like this Christmas letter.”

Do you send out Christmas cards? What about a Christmas letter? Is your Christmas letter full of back patting and outlines of all the awards your kids have won? Or is it about your back pains and hemorrhoids, like my grandpa’s always used to be about?

More importantly: should I send out Christmas cards this year?


  1. LillianC

    I send out Christmas cards to my family with the annual wallet-sized photos of my two sons. I tried doing the Christmas letter for a few years, but given that my kids are both special needs, the news tends to be depressing and/or involves a lot of medical jargon, which tends to take the shine off the holiday spirit. I am one of the few in the family who bothers communicating with other branches, so I understand your ambivalence.

  2. atkokosplace

    Nope…I don’t send cards. Not out of lazy or obligations to send them…I just stopped sending them about ten years or so ago. And in the past I didn’t send them to get one back. I stopped for a few reasons and one of them being to just get a card with a signature bothered me a lot. I would send them with my own words and whatnot and to get a card with just a name seemed so impersonal that I would much rather not get a card. My close family (four of us) make our cards. We get quite creative and we keep them all…some are really art pieces and that is fun/special.

  3. maidennamebasinger

    Sending out cards is really the only thing I like about Christmas. But truth be told, if I didn’t have a bajillion stamps laying around in random drawers of my house, no one would get a christmas card from me….except my my dad and grandmother. But I always cheap out on cards (Michaels has nice boxed sets 70% off) and then I always feel crappy when I get these pretty glitter covered, decorative foil, die-cut cards from people in my family that I’ve never met.
    I do not waste time writing down my family’s achievements. I mean, how would that go? “Well…M got super drunk for the 5th time this year so we kicked her out. J2 is still struggling with his anxiety that is apparently triggered by his whore mother. Oh yeah, and we’re super poor so everyone’s having a shitty Christmas.”
    I just sign them, “Love, The Jenkins” and be done with it.

  4. Quirky Chrissy

    I send them with the expectation that I’ll get about 40% back, but I send them because they’re fun for me. Brian dropped yours in the mail this morning, so expect at least 4.

    My mom often sends cards only in response to cards she receives. Depending on how busy she is.

  5. BulgingButtons

    Yes! Please send them. Better yet, send one to me and you will get one back! Ok, just kidding, I’m not setting up an online card swap (been there, done that, wow… it’s a lot of work!). Here on my thoughts on the whole Christmas card thing: . I have receive two. One is from my fiance who lives in the same house, but he mailed it so it totally counts! Merry Christmas.

  6. Michelle

    *two.. dang I need to go to bed! 😛

  7. Michelle

    I send a Christmas card with a picture of my kids on it.. This kills to birds with one stone.. I sent a card and a picture of my kids to all extended family.. it gets everyone off my back for a little while. I do not write anything personal in it. It is pre-printed with all of our names.. done! 😉

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