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?

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Reasons the B(itch)’s a Grinch

Is anyone surprised that I dislike Christmas as much as I dislike Thanksgiving? …or as much as I dislike anything, I suppose…

I can be a bit of a negative nelly; although, I prefer to consider myself realistic and just very anachronistic. But in recent years, I have noticed that my vehemence towards the holiday season has gotten considerably more impassioned, more negative you might say – so much so that I have even considered not celebrating them. I feel I have some good reasons though.

#1 Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus, not gifts. Need I remind you all of the Macy’s bag nativity scene from my experience at the mall last week? Nothing disgusts me more than the blatantly materialistic consumerism that has taken over the people in our culture. Maybe it’s just a California thing, but as the years have gone on Christmas has become less about the meaning of Christmas and more about what did you get me?

#2 Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus, not food. I totally get that food is good, and nothing is more fun than getting together with friends or family (or even just your dog) and having a nice meal. But for Christ’s sakes (no pun intended) – Christmas is not not not about eating! Last year I was at the in-law’s for Christmas Eve and by the time we left, I had seen so much food consumed that I (myself) felt ill, despite how abstemious I had been in my portions. For these people, special occasions (and especially Christmas) are all about the food that is going with the day, but this is and never was the meaning of most of the holidays that are being celebrated. It’s disgusting to see how many people in this country gorge themselves on so much food – especially people who may not even really understand what Christmas is supposed to be celebrated for – while others much less fortunate go without. It’s almost sad how easily people forget when their oversized bellies begin to growl.

#3 People are a bunch of ungrateful assholes. Today I received four different emails from Bath and Body Works, Urban Outfitters, and other trendy, bullshit retailers who don’t seem to understand the meaning of “unsubscribe from email list” – all of which contained variations of the same message.

This is such horse shit! I know it’s nothing more than an advertising technique, but why is it that people returning crappy gifts they are totally ungrateful for has become a cutesy cliche? People are such ungrateful jerks! If you hate the gifts others give you, chances are they feel the same way about the Hello Kitty toaster or tasteless sweater that you get them every year – so why not save the ungratefulness and make a donation to a needy charity instead?

Oh … I know why. Because people are even more ungrateful when you give donations in lieu of a gift. This year we gave gift baskets to everyone with wine and a donation card that had been made to a local literacy foundation. A couple of the people we sent these to, though, actually complained – actually complained to us – that they had sent us a list of things they wanted. Jerks.

#4 Family events are stressful. I’m sure a lot of my faithful blog followers love spending time with their overwhelmingly large families at the holidays; I, myself, am even cooking for my grandparents and parents this year. But pretending like family events are always a walk in the park is just about as childish as thinking that rainbows really come from the assholes of unicorns.Families are great, but they are also not – which oftentimes makes family events stressful. If you are anything like me, your family events usually come laced with gossip, drama, too much alcohol, more gossip, more drama, gossip’s transcendent partner, shit talking, and people waffling between judging others and pitying them. I’ve said this before: there is a reason there are so many jokes about how much bull shit family events can be. Because for the majority of people out there, they are.

#5 Most modern Christmas movies make me want to gouge my eyes out so I never have to see them again. Home Alone was awesome. Charlie Brown Christmas will always be one of my favorites. A Year Without a Santa Claus is an awesome work of nostalgia and art. But Santa Buddies? Barbie Nutcracker? Arthur Christmas? And if it isn’t these terrible children’s Christmas movies, it’s Lifetime, ABC Family, and Hallmark shoving bull shit Christmas wish movies down everybody’s throats. And I know I’m going to be in the minority on this one, but The Christmas Story on repeat for 24 hours on TBS every year is annoying. The movie isn’t even that good.

So I’m jaded and snarky, and I hate everything – okay? It should come as no surprise, then, that this B(itch)’s a Grinch. I’m sure if you counted the number of times I used the term “bull shit” in this post, you would be concerned by my excessively foul mouth. In the end, I really do believe that “bull shit” is exactly what Christmas is – not because of what it is supposed to be, but because of what it has become. But if you really got down to it on my reasons, I think you’d have to admit that I’m right…

As for me, alongside being a Grinch, I also don’t believe in scarring children for life because of my own idiosyncratic beliefs. So I’ll be playing the game on Christmas Eve – cooking the pork shoulder, baking the pumpkin pie, and placing the Christmas presents so carefully under the tree that they all are opened in the order that makes the event all-the-more exciting. But on Christmas Day, this B(itch) is off the clock. She’s enjoying a day to relax; a day when it’s quiet and she doesn’t have to go anywhere in particular or pretend to be something she’s not. She’ll probably stop by a local eatery that chooses to be open for lunch, because there are a lot of employees out there that actually volunteer those days because they need the extra pay. This year on Christmas, faithful blog followers, you should all take at least a minute to do what you want and to be grateful for the things others before us have done. And if Jesus ‘aint your thing, at least remember that Christmas could also just mean it’s time to get our heads out of our asses and be good people.