At the end of November, I decided not to send Xmas cards. This was for a number of reasons:
1) I have 275 people on my list. When taking into account sheer costs of purchasing cards this amount to £23.37
2) Add to this some 55 UK 2nd class stamps (£28.60) and 32 overseas airmailed cards (£70.40) and the running total amounts to £122.37
3) Include the amount of time that I miss out on work-wise whilst doing scribbling, sorting and posting cards. I shall use a standard -rate for ‘consultancy hours’ of £35 per hour. So, 275 cards x (@ 2 mins per card) = 550 mins (9 hours.) Add time spent at post office (20 mins) and we have some 9 hour and 20 mins – resulting in £323.57.
Final total amount of money ‘spent’ on the Christmas card production line amounts to £426.70
And when you factor in the (needless) lopping down of trees, cost of print, production and packaging for the cards themselves you can see that we also have a rather unenvironmentally friendly pastime going on here…
Chuck in the erosion of my mental well-being and the domestic arguments that card-writing induces (my other half refers to this as the ‘maryrdom factor’ – but he’s the lazy sod who has gotten away with not doing any – for 40-odd years…) and ultimately, the case against me sending ANY cards at all is overwhelming.
So I will be giving the money ‘saved’ towards our little project to help kids in Namibia receive reading materials (see the blog for May this year.)
However. There are a few exceptions to the rule who might well end up receiving a card from me and mine:
a) Orphans, widowed people, elderly folk and the vulnerable (’cause Jesus was really into caring about that lot wasn’t he? And seeing as though I’m far too often accused of being a martyr…)
b) Muslims (because despite what the far right may like you to believe – I do have some muslim pals who like to send me a Christmas card. Fab, I say! Deserves some reciprocation!)
c) Family at the other end of the country who we never get to see
d) Good friends overseas
e) People who send me a really nice, thoughtful card with a special message
f) Really posh and important people who would be horribly offended if I didn’t send them one and….
See! I’ve fallen for it again! Sodding hell.
Anyway. All I can say is this – if you DO enjoy writing cards then carry on with it. There has been the odd year where I enjoyed card-writing (although I was probably drunk) so yeah, just carry on keeping the Post Office alive. And if I receive a card from you – rest assured that it will duly be recycled into a gift tag for pressies to people next year (or even this year, if I’m bored and fancy a tinker with the crimping shearts.)
Oh – and the same rules as above tend to apply for the sending of birthday cards in our wee family. It doesn’t happen that often…(in fact my daughter has never received a card from us. She doesn’t seem to be that arsed about it, funnily enough.)
So am I saying that the whole greeting card-writing thing is redundant in my life? Not at all. In fact, over the last year or so, writing and sending greetings cards has become a lot more fun. A certain old buddy of mine (old as in ‘we met at Brownies’ not as in she’s a bit musty-smelling) and I have created a new and very enjoyable pastime. We hunt out the most horrible, old-fashioned and/or tacky cards that we can possibly lay our mitts on. We both get very excited about the hideous monstrosity which we expect to receive at birthdays and at Christmas time. The clincher this year was one that I had saved from 1978 (I kid you not…just ask my other half about my squirelling tendencies…) Even back then, as a tiny nipper just about to embark on the art of card-sending… I couldn’t believe how vile it was. Neither could my buddy when she opened the damned thing.
So although me and my pal’s families think that we’re both crackers, it’s definitely brought the joy – and certainly the ‘thought’ back into our card-sending. As well as spreading knowledge about dialect (oh come on – don’t tell me you don’t know what the word ‘fow’ means?!)
So if you don’t receive a card from me this year. Please don’t sulk. Or think that I don’t love you. I do. It’s just that I’ve decided to write to people throughought the year instead. Seems a bit more meaningful that way. It means that I can spend more time thinking about you, making a greater effort to reach out to people and putting more care and consideration into my written communication.
Well. That’s my bloody excuse anyway…