If you've been paying attention, it should come as no surprise to you that I send out Christmas cards. I have a whole system. I make a list, write a brief personal message in every single one, and write a holiday greeting on the back of the sealed envelope for all the postal workers.

I've noticed in the last couple of years that I no longer seem to be sending cards to single persons, but rather persons and their spouses, who I usually only know minimally. In a couple of cases, I have to add names of children, too. Luckily for me, there are still a few single persons on my list, and I imagine them scowling at all the pairs on their own card lists.

This year, I've had to put my will to the test. See, I've been buying cards at yard sales all year long. The only possible way I can justify this kind of, well, hoarding, is that I will send these cards out to people, which will make them happy. I'm not a pack-rat, I'm actually a very nice person. Of course, when it comes time to send out the cards, I go through them, saying to myself, "Well, that one is really neat. Can't send that out. And this one is beautiful, don't want to get rid of that." If I followed that inclination, I would end up buying a 20-pack of cards at Big Lots, and if I had three left over, they would go into my stash.

But no, I must be strong. There is no point in keeping a bunch of old greeting cards. Unless I plan to display them or something, they're just going to sit in my drawer, not making anyone happy (except for me, Me, ME!). I even have a 20-pack of cards that I bought after Christmas last year, but I'm not going to use it. Because the time has come to make good on my justification for buying all those cards in the first place.

I never realized before just how convenient those 20-packs are. You only have to pick out one card and you're done with the selection process. You pick out something that matches your personality and won't offend anyone and you send out the same thing to everyone. But when I'm choosing out of my card stash, it's like shopping for an individual card for each individual recipient, albeit at a store with a very weird and limited selection. I sometimes feel the urge to explain the card choice in the personal message, as if the people who receive cards from me don't know me well enough to just dismiss it as totally in line with my character. Maybe I'm at the point where I can do any bizarre thing I want and no one will even bat an eye. Some of the cards are relatively normal, of course, and I imagine the people who receive those assume I bought a 20-pack of regular cards. These are the people who are not ready for the fact that I buy secondhand greeting cards. I like to break people in gently, lest they scare easily.

To go along with my complaint about couples, I will admit that I am signing some of the cards from both myself and Josh. Not all of them, mostly just the ones to our families. I'm signing his name without even attempting to disguise my handwriting, so it's pretty obvious who is in charge of holiday mail. He has been in no way involved in the Christmas card process. In fact, I'm only assuming he echoes the sentiments I write in each one. Maybe he actually doesn't wish his grandmother a Merry Christmas, for whatever reason. I realize that it's standard for one half of a couple to not be involved in the process, but it still seems sort of false to me. I wouldn't want someone to write my message for me.

But what do I know? I write greetings to the mailman on the back of cards I buy at the estate sales of crazy card-hoarding ladies.


prairiesings said...

This is funny. I was just writing about your cards today and almost when off on a whole tangent about your second-hand greeting card purchasing. Then I remembered I was supposed to be writing a belated Thanksgiving post promptly deleted most of my tangent.


Sandra said...

Always embrace tangents on your blog, Tina. Tangents can be cut out and then expanded to become whole new entries. 8)