It's amazing how cathartic it is to say it out loud. I flipping HATE writing Christmas cards. Almost as such as I hate washing windows and more than I hate plucking my eye brows. Each of these tasks give a certain sense of satisfaction when it is complete, but it's the 'doing' that gets me.
I will never be one of those people who are super organised for Christmas. I'll blame the fact that I work full time, but I think I'd be the same if I was Home Alone all day. (Notice my Christmas film reference there, Ho-Ho-Ho). I can't deal with anything Christmas related in November. I'm more of a post 8th December kinda gal.
Selecting Christmas cards is the first dilemma. Last year, I was organised enough to make a small forest worth of handmade cards, with marbled paper Christmas trees. Even if I say so myself, they looked good. I spent nights assembling them with my children (even though I ended up doing most of the work). I had that rare, but lovely, domestic goddess moment. Of course I didn't make enough in the first batch, so I had to make some more. That was the bit that got me, pulling all of the bits out for a second time.
I couldn't face an assembly line of card making this year, so I headed to the shops. The balance between buying half decent charity cards for grown ups and cheap 'n' nasty for the children. I never buy enough of the good uns and end up sending the cheap 'n' nasty to some of the grown ups who deserve better.
Then there's the packets of cards that you buy that look okay. When you get home, you realise that the quality of the paper is rubbish - not much better than the paper hats out of Christmas crackers. I feel like a cheapskate. You beat yourself up for not spending an extra two euro for the super deluxe version.
Then it's off to the Post Office for stamps. Of course, you should do this in November, so sometime when it looks quiet. You could be clever and buy two euros worth from the machine outside the PO every now and then, spreading the cost and eliminating the stress. Do I ? No !!! I wait until there is a queue down the street and around the corner, a day after the recommended date for 'late date for posting'. When I get to the end of the queue, I ask for two books of stamps and the nice man says 'that will be e34 when you are ready love'. Good job I am leaning against the counter - e34 ! Maybe I don't need two books .... But I can't take the risk of having to queue again, so I take the two and do a quick tot of the cost of cards and stamps. I thought of the nice pair of boots I told myself that I couldn't afford ...
Then it's of home to write the flipping things ... except I do everything I can to avoid writing them. I even consider washing windows. When I get down to it, I try to write something other than the obvious greetings. I imagine the recipient taking down last years card (that no doubt has been carefully minded, being hand made 'n' all and comparing, saying 'She wrote the exact same thing as last year, how lazy is that ?!' I write notes, saying that 'it's been too long' and sincerely stating that 'we must meet up' soon.
My little girl, thrilled with her new found writing and spelling skills, offers to help write the cards, her kind little face looking at me. I feel guilty as I say no. I can't bear extending the pain any longer than necessary. I remind her that she did a great job writing all of her own cards for her school friends. She seems happy with that and says she will hug me instead. Have you ever tried to write a batch of cards, being bear-hugged by a seven year old ? I still have a crick in my neck days later.
My hand writing is TERRIBLE ! I attribute this to three things
1. A dodgy pen - as cheap 'n' nasty as most of the cards I bought, which either runs out of ink half way through writing a card, or smudges on the card.
2. Lack of practice. Other than signing my name on documents and scrawled 'to do' lists and ramblings in notebooks, for my eyes only, I don't really do much hand writing these days. I re read my cards and find them largely illegible. I fix up the letters and make a big mess of the whole thing.
3. Writing while being bear-hugged by an amorous seven year old.
There is no order to my card writing. I have an address book, which is terribly out of date. Most of the addresses are in a notebook. The rest are scattered through the seven notebooks I have on the go at the one time. Each year, I have to phone my mother to seek out a few addresses. The same addresses as last year. I write them on a lone piece of paper, with the intention of transferring them to the afore mentioned address book for next year. The paper ends up shrivelled in the bottom of my handbag and then the bin, without any transfer of information to my little black book.
Here's another big issue - my friends and family keep moving house ! 364 days of the year, this isn't a problem. It kinda takes something away from sending cards when you had to text the recipient a few days previously asking for their address. It takes that 'OMG, a card from Lucina. What a surprise !' away. I have been REALLY lazy on a few occasions, sending cards to my friends parents address, hedging my bets that they will visit their folks sometime over the holidays.
I broke the back on my card-writing the other night. I posted a big batch the following day, delighted with myself. Now there's a few people who I THINK I sent a card to ... but did I just THINK it, or actually SEND it ? Did I make a list and check it twice before I sent the cards to avoid this problem ? The hell I did.
Then there is cards that I don't send, to people that I have made my mind up that I will DEFINITELY see over the holidays. I can hand deliver. Chances are, come January, that I will have a batch of cards sitting there, never delivered. The expensive charity ones. I probably wrote 'best wishes for 2015', so I can't recycle them next year.
I could just save myself the hassle and go for the group text or Book Face option. But it's not the same, is it ? I love getting cards myself. I love reading the cards that the children get. Hanging the christmas cards is an important part of our decorations. Also, it's nice to think that someone thought of you, especially under a highly pressurised situation like Christmas !
Today is Saturday. Christmas is on Thursday (I'm just reminding you incase you weren't aware). I still have cards to write. One of them to send to England, if only I had an address. The last minute cards will look like an after thought. But believe me, I've thought about it plenty. I really should step away from the laptop and get card writing ...
But I notice a stray eyebrow that needs seeing to first.