Saturday, December 20, 2014

Canceling Christmas (Cards)

This is exceptionally lame. But, then again, it’s been that kind of year.

First, we’d like to thank all the family and friends who had the decency, organizational skills, and mastery of time to send us holiday cards. We truly appreciate each and every one.

Appreciate may be an understatement; We celebrate each one. Cards arrive each day and the kids line up at the kitchen counter next to the fresh pile of mail for the chance to open one. They revel in it. After all, it’s not often that we get mail addressed to the whole family.

“Is this for me?” They say with excitement.

“Yes. … It’s for all of us,” is our standard reply.
The kids consider it an honor to open the envelope and be the first to hold the card, often pictures of other families, or joyous Christmas scenes, or ornate designs sent from relatives in Scotland. Then we take the card and display it in a special place – the mantle, or the decorative basket (that's not a euphemism). One year we used the cards to make the shape of a tree on the “school art” wall.
We love getting holiday cards.

So, here comes the lame part. I don’t even want to say it. Honestly, I feel like I’m a failure as a parent and a person, but here goes … We didn’t do a card this year.
I know, I know. The shame! Trust me, we’re feeling it.
What can we say? It’s been a tough year. We meant to do it. We started talking about it in November, fretting that we didn’t have one good family photo for this year’s card. Then time kept slipping away, and with just a few days to go till the big day, we did the math on how long it would take for Snapfish to produce the thing, then send it to us, and for us to turn it around and get it out the door.  We figured most people would get the card by Presidents’ Day. So, we've pulled the plug on the 2014 holiday mailing.
It just wasn’t in the cards this year. (Sorry for the bad pun, too)
We got close, though. I even stayed up late one night designing a potential card. 
In PA, there's a section of US 222 that was only partially constructed
for many years, earning the nickname "The Road to Nowhere."
Likewise, this is "The Card to No One."
The whole episode got me thinking that the holiday cards thing -- as nice as it is -- can really be a hassle. Sure, it’s a great tradition. But it’s a hard one. Think of all the hours we each spend keeping lists up to date, worrying about photos throughout the year, designing cards, addressing envelopes and licking stamps. It also brings with it a lot of pressure, and has become a form of artistic competition among friends.

Rather than societal guilt for not doing cards, we really should give special recognition to the people who actually get them done.
So here's to everyone who got their cards done this year. Most of you, anyway. I hear that a lot of famous people and big-time elected officials, who often have thousands on their card lists, hire companies to do the whole holiday card design, mail merge and distribution.
If we ever get ridiculously wealthy, that’s what I’m gonna push for: outsourcing our Christmas card duties.

Then again, as long as we’re ridiculously wealthy, I’d also get someone to come in each night to do the dishes. Because who really wants to do dishes after a big meal when you’ve got four kids to put to bed.  … Oh, and laundry. We’d definitely get a laundry service. Heck, someone could actually move into our basement and do that full time. We could just send food down in a basket every so often.
But that’s it: just laundry service, dishes after a big meal, and the whole Christmas card thing.
And maybe someone to assist with bedtime occasionally -- our kids are awful at going to sleep.
Anyway, back to reality. As it stands we are not ridiculously wealthy this year, nor are we terribly organized. And for that reason, we didn’t do Christmas cards.
We’re very sorry. We don’t think less of any of you. Hopefully, you don’t think too much less of us. But when you don’t get a card from us this year, know that it’s not you, it’s us.

Happy Holidays?

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Josie639 said...

I love you Ruddy! I ordered our 40 on Monday night & addressed all last night, only to come to the reality i need 60 more. SERIOUSLY! 60! So the lucky 40-immediate family & a few friends will get a card. That is better than the 20 i sent last yr.

Unknown said...

My wife, last week, while looking at all the cards we received: "We should do family holiday cards this year!"

Me: *Staring at her with disbelief*

Wife: "Ha, just joking!"

Cort Ruddy said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Joann. We usually do about 60, and it's never enough. Could do a 100 ... or, we could do zero like this year. Ha! Wishing you the best.

Cort Ruddy said...


It was my wife who talked me out of it. Our deal was she wouldn't do teacher gifts (another stress inducer) if I'd forget the cards.

Thinking of you and yours, Oren. Take care, my friend.

Kevin Zelenka said...

We did them this year again...and I was actually on top of it, rather than scrambling around at the last minute like usual. I've been doing them locally at Walgreens for the last 4 or 5 years. You design them online, and they are done that just go pick them up and grab a couple books of stamps. Once you get home you put them in your desk drawer so they won't get pawed through by the kids, and then forget about them until the 28th of December when you find them while looking for the power bill. You then send them out to everyone who sent YOU a card, thankful that you chose a "Season's Greetings" design, instead of a Merry Christmas one, so it doesn't look belated.