Friday, December 11, 2009

Holding All The Cards



I have never been one to receive a lot of Christmas cards. Maybe because I’ve never sent one; not one, ever. Oh, I’ve purchased cards, even signed them with inspirational and personal notes. “I saw this quote from Walt W and thought of you…” or “As Emily D once wrote…”

But one cannot just buy and sign cards, one must send them as well. Aye there’s the rub, as William S has said. And mine languish in the desk, facing an unhappy Memorial Day of discovery and disposal.

My popular friends, on the other hand, practice the rule of reciprocity and reap the rewards, with Christmas cards four or five deep, straddling those show-offy strings that stretch from one room to the next. They accompany this garish display with a little disingenuous grousing -- 'Wherever will I put all the cards that are sure arrive tomorrow?'

One year I received a career-high of fifty Christmas cards, and that was only because so many people worked for me, plus I padded the count with anything received via professional affiliations such as Radio Shack and my dental hygienist. Most years the tally is far more modest.

Join me, and let’s blame my childhood.

The parents made a huge deal out of Christmas cards, and maintained a mailing list the size of a Dickens novel. Card selection started around October when they’d visit shops and flip through albums full of samples. For all that, Dad and Mum made pretty much the same choice year after year -- someone on the card would be drunk. For example, Santa in a martini glass singing “Bingle Jells.”

(Ah, what can I say? We Bugge's are a simple people who don't mind a shot of eggnog now and then.)

As a family, we would spend days addressing hundreds of envelopes by hand. This was to add the personal touch; strangely, I always thought, since the cards were embossed with a pre-printed “From the Bugge’s.” on the inside. But I think I get it now. The envelope said we cared, the card said we had money.

Virtual Christmas greetings offer an alternative to the card-challenged such as me, but even those need an address. Maybe I’ll just do a general post. You know, recycle the picture from one of the cards I received this year, and maybe add an inspirational message.

"God bless us everyone.” I saw this Charles D quote and most particulary thought of you.

49 comments:

  1. I don't recall ever receiving a Christmas card from a car dealership but I probably got one or two over the years from plumbers. Along with calendars of chimpanzees dressed up as french maids, bankers and ... plumbers, etc., etc.

    These days I don't receive cards at all and, perversely, that makes me feel sort of warm and fuzzy.

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  2. This is actually kind of stressful for me. I feel like a social outcast because of the dirth of Christmas cards we get. The worst is when do send cards (kind or irregularly) and then two days later you get one back, and you know you didn't even make the A list of cards to send. You only got a tit for tat card.

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  3. na haumbaug! cristo rendition carpool!

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  4. If Wayne knew about Margaret's "tit for tat" thing he might have gotten on board years ago. Never mind, now that I think about it, he's more into the "tit for tit" angle.

    Go ahead and email me your address. I'll won't enjoy Christmas if you don't get one of mine!!
    V

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  5. I'm not sure if anything will be able to top Kenny Mac, but then, he's been spending way too much time in Boston. Obviously.

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  6. Great subject again, Karin. I wonder if Tiger will be sending out cards this year. Maybe just 13 or so.

    I never send cards, either, but I did in 1994, and you inspired me to put it on my blog today.

    And how about those Christmas letters that people send out? My friend, Steve Medley of the Yosemite Association, may he rest in peace, used to send out the best Holiday Letters. He'd say things like, "This is the year we finally got rid of our green Danish modern couch." or "This is the year that Jane got her dream of a swimming pool. So now, instead of our house being a sweltering hell hole, it's been transformed into a sweltering hell hole with a pool."

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  7. MERRY CHRISTMAS KARIN



    Please don't consider this a card.

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  8. This is a Christmas card of sorts for you, Margaret. You may not get a lot of Christmas cards but very soon you can get some Colin Firth. NPR (who?) did a review of "A Single Man" based on Christopher Isherwood's novel. His character is gay - but it's Colin Firth! For Christmas!
    And thanks, KB. I'm putting this one up....somewhere.

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  9. Your Dental HygienistDecember 11, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    Merry Christmas. You are due for a cleaning. Have a Happy New Year.

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  10. When I was a kid my parents used to get a card each year from a friend who didn't believe in buying cards. He bought a bunch of plain envelopes. He would then cross out the name of the person he'd received a card from, sign his name, and send it on to another friend in a new envelope. It wasn't because he was cheap - he just liked to share the wealth.

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  11. wv mutgothe

    My mutt is goth/goethe.

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  12. Ah,the tale of the Christmas cards. The best ones are the Christmas letter telling us what the writer has done the entire year. Fun stuff.

    Mrs. DL still handwrites the envelope and adds that little specialpersonalized statement on each card.
    Me, nada.

    I purchased the damn card so as to not have to write anything. Afterall, I just paid nearly $6 for a Christmas card with some sort of Christmassy wit by a professional writer. anything I add would diminish the sentiment.

    Still, I see this as money wasted sillyness, Another Hallmark holiday.

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  13. This was once my pride and joy. I'd spend all year plotting the perfect photo, hand tinting it, selecting hand-made papers and vintage ribbon and putting the whole thing together.
    These would go to 100 of my dearest friends.

    This year? I got nothin'.

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  14. Paula: Thank you. Regarding Colin Firth. I have such mixed feelings. It's hard to think of my secret boy friend as gay, but also, he's my secret boy friend and I feel I must support him. It's complicated.

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  15. I heard that NPR interview and thought of Margaret too. I think I may have to see it.

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  16. Why thank you, I'm so touched that you thought of me.

    When I grew up I thought sending Christmas cards was what you were "supposed to do" and then after a few years of it, I realized I was only doing it because of the "supposed to" and not because I liked it. I finally stopped cold turkey, and I like it.

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  17. Ddub and Rob, you're such guy guys. Earl, too.

    AKA Pierre, good to see you, where've ya been?

    And now Margaret, with her secret boyfriend and all those complications.

    I think if I print all these out, I can start that string across my livingroom wall. So long as visitors don't look at the text too closely.

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  18. Maybe you just chose the wrong deck of cards for the happy days!

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  19. Oh the only reason I send them is so all my friends can drool over my cute grandchildren!

    Mr. E, I on my way to your place to see "my card".

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  20. No cards surely are better than the over-abundance of cards with a two page mimeographed letter about the husband's health (prostate, ulcers, cataract surgery), the wife's new car (a Mercedes this year!), and the smartest grandkids in the world (one has been accepted at State U.!). Maybe I should have bought a Toyota?

    You slay me everytime, Karin!

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  21. Karin,
    I visited your Tiger Tale. Where were you that you didn't notice?

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  22. Margaret, not to worry. From the audio snippets they played it appears that Colin's character is clearly tragic and misunderstood. He'll still be your Secret Boyfriend.

    ev wamon
    'Cause I'm a waaa-aaa-mon, W-A-M-O-N!

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  23. I'm going over after the tree lighting to tee pee your house.

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  24. I like your card. Yours is in the mail. Really.

    GG

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  25. I haven't sent Christmas cards for years. Then, I switched and sent New Year's cards when it was less hectic and I could take the time to send a personal note with each one. Now, I'm not doing either. I'm choosing to save a tree.

    That's my story and I'm stickin' with it.

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  26. Hey, Mme, when you tp the house, can you clean the rain gutters as well? God I'm drenched. Lucky I didn't spend all my money on christmas cards and postage.

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  27. Karin, hope you stay dry tonight.

    The British are Xmas card crazy and we do indeed hang them on strings all round the house. I realized that Americans don't send as many when my VISA card was rejected as I tried to buy all my cards at Hallmark. Apparently, a purchase of $80 at Hallmark is "an unusual spending pattern."

    By the way, I find it hard to source cards with good local photos that show how lovely it is here, so I keep hoping someone will make cards of their photo/s (with Shutterfly or such) and sell them. Oh, and please could someone sell a calendar of local views? My relatives are tired of the Sierras.

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  28. Some years I send them. Some years I don't. This year, I'm on the fence. I wonder if Santa will still find me.

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  29. Looks like you've hit yet another nerve, AH--from proud senders to hissing scoffers and everything in between.

    I don't send, and I sure wonder about the thinking of all those people who do it your parents' way.

    On the other hand, sometimes I actually enjoy those page-long letters, depending on the person they're from, of course. What those senders choose to include can be almost as much unintended character study as simple info.

    What's especially interesting here is what our somewhat vigorous interest in this says about us. The wonder of our species continues to make me wonder. Deep . . .

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  30. P.S. Note that my idol, Mr. Earl, keeps hitting triples, which are more rare and impressive than home runs. And more tasteful--a little restraint shows character.

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  31. No Bellis, I didn't. Just hope this stuff stops long enough to let us wring out Altadena a little bit.

    I didn't know you were British! Can we meet for coffee so I can wallow in your accent?

    Banjo, I've never heard "restraint" and "Earl" used in the same sentence before.

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  32. Boy, we sure needed the rain around here! Especially in Aug & Sept...

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  33. Between you and Margaret I'm starting to feel bad....real bad. The ugly truth behind Christmas card giving revealed.

    For years I sent them. Worse yet, most years I made them. Now I know that if you receive them a few days later it was only a gesture of reciprocity. Hmmmm Current count is up to four; one is from my insurer. I guess I'm no longer on Longo Toyota's A list. Must mean my warranties up.

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  34. AH, what can I say. Judging from your card it looks like you did much more than a little work on your house. Credit availability must bee easing up.

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  35. Great idea, to recycle old post cards.

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  36. I'll bet Ashley's card from Visa Carbon was particularly impressive...

    I wouldn't know, of course.

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  37. Fantastic post !! Your each post is interesting to read !! Great..Unseen Rajasthan

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  38. To card or not to card...if you get mine a day or two after you sent yours, never fear, it's not reciprocity...it's procrastination!!!

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  39. Yeah, I'm with Laurie, what kind of holiday greetings do CarbonCard holders receive? I'd expect at least appropriately costumed carolers, but if there's a happy ending involved, hell, they need to lead with that 'benefit' in the mailer.

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  40. What are you waiting for----the Lexus card?

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  41. I remember once long ago, doing a linoleum cut and hand printing it.

    For the design, I turned a drawing of a reclining nude, bare breasts and all, upside down and added wings to her. My friend in New York still has one, framed on her wall.

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  42. Shanna once tread dangerously close to crafting.

    Stay in the Fine Arts Shanna! Don't poison yourself with ETSY.

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  43. I needed this . . . right in the middle of sending mine (printed labels, not hand addressed!). This year, I had a great online coupon but miscalculated and ordered half as many as I meant to. So, if you're not an out-of-town relative, you're probably not getting one this year.

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  44. Ahem, Ms Havisham, if I may be so bold: wtf? "craft"?? What an insidious and slimy little snub. It's well known that serious artists often send their close friends handmade objects of art as special gifts. Gifts, meaning, free of charge, that is, _gratis_. What on earth does that have to do with Etsy? Seriously, you need to hang up your critical hat and get a life.

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  45. What is ETSY?

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  46. arf! in the cold light of morning withdraws the above comment as mean-spirited. Sorry!

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  47. Not to worry, Arf. Posts are pretty much dead after a couple of days.

    Is Arf a code? Is your real name Fra?

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  48. Thanks Hiker. Ya, it could be short for Fra Angelico. But no, it's the first half of how Little Orphan Annie's dog provided punctuation to that comic strip, "Arf! arf!". I could't really see calling my character arf! arf!, but "arf!" seemed reasonable.

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