It’s Time For Sending Out My Holiday Cards… It’s Not Easy


Don’t laugh, but I’ve started addressing my holiday cards. I’m running late, actually, as my sister Pam addresses hers in between handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. We do it early because it’s a big job. It’s a big job for her because she has lots of friends. It’s a big job for me because I am detail-oriented bordering on obsessive-compulsive.

Selecting the cards is no problem. My daughter works at Hallmark, after all. It’s everything that happens after that. It’s a six-hour job.

I begin by going to the file called Rolodex on my laptop. I spent two entire days transferring all the little cards from my desktop Rolodex to my computer and regret it every minute. (Pam: What’s cousin Ron’s phone number? Me: Wait a minute while I boot up.) I could spend another day putting them in label format, but labels seem so impersonal for holiday cards. So I boot up.

A… Addams. Tom Addams and his wife, Estelle, have six children, so I am fairly safe sending them a happy, bouncy, cartoony card that screams “Merry Christmas!” in bright neon colors. I carefully address the envelope with their latest address and my return address. Yes, I could use a return address label but, again, labels. And, fingers crossed, this card gets to them before the one they are sending me that probably has their brand-new address on it.

B… Bonvenito. Sherry Bonvenito lost her husband this year, so it is a somber gray card with mid-century modern white deer on it for her. I include a note because I cannot imagine the sorrow of a first Christmas without your hubby. I am temporarily sad.

C… Now there is a decision to be made. Steve Carnes married a Jewish girl so they get neither a Christmas card nor a Hanukkah card but a wimpy Happy Holidays card that, to my mind, celebrates neither heritage adequately. Heads up, Hallmark!

And so it goes, on through the alphabet. Things are chugging along nicely until I discover that, once I’ve added in my annual newsletter, some of the envelopes are an inch too small. I trim the margins from my bragging but, still, no good. This was poor planning on my part, and I beat myself up for it while looking for bigger envelopes while agonizing over whether people will think they were an after-thought, getting a little card in a big envelope like that.

Fortunately, there’s not much time to agonize, as I have to choose cute little holiday stickers for the backs of the envelopes. There are the gold crowns that came with the cards, of course, but I have hundreds of others because I am an impulse buyer when it comes to sheets of stickers. I tell myself they’re for the grandchildren, but the grandchildren never get them until I’ve pulled off all the “good” ones for my cards. Also, I have to remember which card is in which envelope so I don’t send Santa Claus off to the wrong people.

This year I bought Sesame Street stamps. Another bad decision! Who gets Elmo? Who gets Cookie Monster? Do I have a flag stamp somewhere for the woman in mourning?

Worst of all, I’m a realist. I know my recipients will tear open the envelope, throw it in the trash with nary a glance at the sticker or stamp, toss the card in a pile and maybe, maybe read my newsletter while they’re in the bathroom.

But the deed is done, they have been wished a happy holiday — and fervently.