I Love You But I Hate Your Christmas Card
My to-do list is choking me to death.
It wasn't until I became a real "professional" that I began my love/hate relationship with lists. I think it was when I was underwater at my corporate admin job. This job was easy in the sense that one did not need to be a genius to do it, but difficult in that there were so many tedious things to do and track. As a creative type, I find that I need lists. Actually, I truly couldn't live without them. Without lists, the hall lightbulbs would never get replaced, the zucchini bread would have no zucchini, and the kids would never have the right mouthguard for football practice (oh god, mouthguards. I could write a tome.) or the correct reeds for band practice. Sans lists, I would never remember to put on Wallace's tick spray or schedule my next dental appointment. And that's just the quotidian stuff. It's to say nothing of the higher-level lists - those that remind me to schedule social media posts for my new business and keep my writing practice on track., or those that remind me which character has which backstory and which tax forms have yet to be obtained.
Although we are all in the center of a truly unique holiday season, and although we undoubtedly have fewer hostess gifts to buy or ugly sweaters to pull out of storage, I don't think we're any less encumbered by lists. Somehow, in all the monotony of 2020 existence, we are inexplicably still quite, quite, very busy.
Which brings me to your Christmas card. And no, I don't actually hate it. I am grateful you thought of me and happy to see your smiling face and interested in your year in review. I love to receive personal mail and your name and address on the upper left hand corner brings me joy. You usually pick a beautiful theme for your card and I appreciate the little detail of the Keith Haring Christmas stamp! I do! This is not a bah humbug, I swear.
I think what I hate - or resent, maybe - is the collective point at which we have all arrived. The point in time in which, both thanks to the Information and Technology age AND in spite of it, we have long lists of friends and family with whom we feel obligated to share our holiday joy. Thankfully! It is easier than ever to get a family photo because our cameras are ALWAYS with us! Happily! We can have our cards delivered to us and don't have to pore over the pitiful selection at Duane Reade! Miraculously! We don't have to handwrite a sentiment because there are very many websites who enable us to do it for us PLUS! Unbelievably! Said website will also beautifully frame our aforementioned easily-obtained photo AND keep record of the addresses of our family and friends, obviating the need to look at our electronic list each year!
And yet. Somehow our intention of spreading "hope and joy!", "warmth and love!", and the"wonders"of the season feels like, almost like, kind of like - junk? mail?
Hoo boy I know I have stepped in it here. This is extremely rude what I'm saying. Who do I think I am to be denigrating holiday cards in WHATEVER form they come in? Have I sent YOU a card? Am I handwriting detailed accounts of the state of my union and enclosing a photo of my family that I had printed at an actual processing center? Well, no. No I am not doing that. Or, I am sort of doing that.
I have only sent about 10 cards out this year. My list is about 4 times that long. I am having my kids help me make little drawings for the front and I am writing a few lines inside. It will probably take me another month to write to everyone and no, I have not included a family pic. Nor have I written anything that tells you what I've been up to this year. I am no holiday angel. I am not any jollier or more full of the Joy of the Season than anyone else.
The one thing I have done? The thing that I'd like to see myself do more of in 2021? The thing that's hard to do when you were born a people-pleaser and when your mother has handwritten sentiments - sometimes pages long - to all of her 50-odd friends and family by the first week of December each year?
I have taken it off my list.