With the holiday season officially over the Anderson family has formally missed the accepted window for sending Christmas Cards (I refuse to call them holiday cards). I noticed this year many of our friends for whatever reason seemed to miss this window as well. We had less than half of the normal number of cards we historically have received. I am sure our lack of cards received this year had nothing to do with the fact we did not send any out.
The funny thing is we started with every intention of sending out cards. Frankly when you can get 100 custom photo cards with fancy envelopes from Costco for under $30.00 who would not send them out? My wife had our outfits picked out and the location selected to take our annual photos. She lined up a family member with a nice camera to come take the pictures and then starts the discussion over which photo to use. That's when the real fun starts. Comments like: I like this one but Nolahn is blinking, yes but my nose is shiny in this one, I look fat in all of them, what are those two doing in that photo, why did you have them stand together, what are they looking at etc etc etc...
After we select the best photo you know the one that makes us look like a happy family with no interpersonal issues at all. The kind of photo you would be proud to see hanging on the back of all your friends' front doors. I would dare say a photo that could win family of the year and the local Stepford Wives convention. Then have to select your "custom" card background on the Costco website. You try to select one that captures your personality but not on the front page so it is different from all your friends. You upload the photo and test the different backgrounds, upload multiple photos and try a collage option, after what seems like hours you go back and select the one on the front page because it works the best.
Then comes the joy of addressing the envelopes. Nothing like writing a 100 addresses to people you only see when someone dies, gets married or have never met because they are some long lost aunt on your wife's side of the family and your mother-in-law would be upset if you don't send her your annual Christmas photo. We smartened up a couple of years ago and created a mail merge list of all our Christmas card addresses. We are able to print out all the addressed envelopes in just a few minutes. This took the cramping hands and bad penmanship out of the holidays so that is a real perk.
After you have the addresses done and cards stuffed in the envelope you have write your Christmas letter. The letter you write to let everyone know how you are doing but only include the good stuff. You leave out the part how your son got worms at scout camp, or how your other son got fired from his job, or your daughter broke up with her stalker boyfriend and started dating his brother, or you got released from your church calling for apostasy. No we mention things like my son had some memorable times at scout camp and got close to nature, your son is looking at going back to school and is currently doing some consulting work, your daughter is in a new relationship with a family friend she has known for years, and that you got released from your calling and are anxious to see where you are going to serve next.
After they are stuffed and sealed you have to put postage on them and realize you don't have enough stamps. So you head back to Costco to get their discounted 100 roll of holiday stamps. While you are there you pick up a couple of take and back pizzas, bag of popcorn and milk for dinner because no matter what you are going to get these cards done tonight. You get home cook your pizza, drink your milk and stamp your envelopes. The job is done all that is left is to mail them and frankly that is a blog post in its self.
Some how this year we missed the opportunity to participate in this annual ritual of holiday spirit. I am bummed and think I am experiencing a twinge of guilt about not getting the cards out. However there is always next year and if not I suppose I could always send out a Happy 4th of July Card. I wonder if Costco has a custom card for that?