Girls Write Out
Monday, November 21, 2005

I have a confession to make.

I hope you won't think badly of me. I'm pretty sure my friends and family already do, but that hasn't changed anything because I feel pretty strongly about my decision.

It has to do with Christmas and that lovely tradition someone three hundred years ago with too much time on their hands came up with. Somehow this tradition has survived years of progress, growth, and ever-increasing busyness. What I can't figure out is WHY?

I'm talking about the sending of Christmas cards, of course. That annual chore that's on the must-get-done list of every American woman--and let's face it, it's the women who do it. We go out and buy three boxes of cards, spending 35 minutes and fifteen bucks on the just the right one. Then we add it to our to-do list, and later squeeze the chore into our already jam-packed seasonal schedule of shopping, baking, wrapping, and decorating. Fa la la la la.

We sit down with The List. Every woman knows what that is. It's the list of friends and family who've sent you a card in the past five seasons. And each year when we get a card, we scan The List to see if they're on it. Because if they sent us a card and we don't send them one , we are on their Blackball List, heretofore stricken from their List forevermore.

So we spend time keeping The List up-to-date, we spend time addressing and licking envelopes, affixing stamps, running to the post office and breathing a sigh of relief when we get to cross the chore off our 3-page holiday to-do-list. In defense of our ancestor who started this ritual, I'm sure it actually meant something at the time. The holiday correspondence likely included a long, thoughtful letter that some distant family member was grateful to receive. But let's face it. These days in our rush to get everything done, we've whittled the correspondence down to a greeting card with our names on it. (And don't think Hallmark doesn't appreciate it.)

Now let's advance two to three days. The recipient receives your card in the mail. She opens it and reads (maybe) the card. She sees your name at the bottom. She smiles. She throws card in trash--or maybe, if you're lucky, she sets it out somewhere with the other 68 cards she's received and waits until after Christmas to toss it.

My confession? I don't participate in the annual tradition. So go ahead and string me up with ropes of Christmas lights, flog me with strands of garland, and whack me with a giant plastic candy cane. Or better yet, give yourself permission to cross this one holiday task off your list now. The world won't end, your family and friends won't shun you, and who knows? You might just find yourself with a few extra minutes to sit and contemplate the real meaning of Christmas.

Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:28 AM  
  Comments (11)
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At 10:17 AM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

LOL, Denise....I don't send cards either. Well, not many. To my really good friends I don't see or talk to except once in a blue moon. So, I only send a handful of cards, normally picture cards so they can see how the girls are growing up.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Ron Estrada said...

YOU are my hero! My wife and I have been labeled the family Scrooges because we've dwindled gift giving to our children and parents. We're not even buying for each other this year. I've been conjuring ways to give her something really special without spending a dime. As a writer, I think I can pull that off. We're almost to the same point on the cards. It's crazy what we've turned this celebration into. I should post on my blog an article I wrote called "How the Grinch Should Have Stole Christmas." I think y'all would like it.

By the way, if anybody calls you Scrooge, simply ask how many gifts Scrooge bought for friends and family after his conversion.

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous julie said...

Denise, I tried not sending cards one year and the guilt got to me. I felt like I had to say to people, hey, I didn't cross you off the list--there just wasn't one!

Truthfully though? I love getting the picture cards. I keep those forever, although not in an organized-creative-memories woman way. I just pile them up in the Christmas baubles box and look at them when decorating the tree each year. Anyway, I'll probably never stop sending cards again. I mean, why should I deprive people of seeing how cute my kids are getting???

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Rachel Hauck said...

Denise, I understand! But I send cards. I even write the, yikes, anual letter! I know, crazy. I do.

I have half dozen college friends and another dozen family memembers that I really look forward to hearing from. I note when I don't get their Christmas letters. Most of the time, they respond to mine, so I know it's effective at keeping old friend in touch. At least once a year.

I don't send them to friends or family that I'm in contact with all the time.

But, thus, the joy of Christmas cards for me.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Okay, a Christmas LETTER I like to get, Rachel. But I'm with Denise--a simple card with just your name on it is useless. I say BRAVO, D! Preach it, sister! LOL

At 6:09 AM, Blogger Camy Tang said...

Hahaha! I am not alone!

Camy thumbs her nose at her nagging mother...

I figure, if they're important to me, I'll email them during the year, not just impersonally sending a card (or even a letter) at Christmas.


At 6:09 AM, Blogger Camy Tang said...

Okay, I felt guilty. I confess, my mother does not nag me about Christmas cards.


At 8:49 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

I agree about the letters--even the newsletters are fun to read. It's the cards with a signature on the bottom that strike me as pointless.

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Bethanie said...

i hate cards that say "to such and such from me". how pointless is that? at least put a sentence saying, have a happy christmas and God bless you in the year to come... or SOMETHING!

i don't send cards either. i let my mother add my name to her cards, and my friends get nothing.

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

People, if you don't send Christmas cards, how can people comment on how fat you've gotten from last year? Would I deny my friends this fun? I think not.

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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