Maintain Tradition or Simplify?

Why Can’t I Give These Things Up?

Hand addressing Christmas Cards

I have seen the demise of the postal Christmas Card for many years. It seemed to start with the rise of e-cards. Everyone thought, hey, why not? I will just send an e-Greeting instead of a physical card. I am sure there were some altruistic thoughts of saving paper, saving stamps, saving money or whatever. The e-card is not entirely defunct; a few pop up here and there. The strange thing is that the few I do receive, I actually enjoy as they are from the same people, it is their MO, and that makes me smile.

Then people started just posting “social greetings” on whatever social media channel. You know, “from our family to yours” overlaid on some photo taken the night before. Or across a collage of past profile pics from FB. Yes, those. This year, it has gone a step further and I’m getting status updates in lieu of anything at all. They go something like this: “We are not sending cards this year but we still think of and love all of you blah, blah, blah.”

This is by no means a knock on people who go this route. In fact, I am freakin’ jealous. Why can’t I do that? It would be way easier. Instead, I have to search what used to be dozens, but is now hundreds of designs, pick a custom message, select the paper type, paper weight, corner type, glossy or matte, matching envelopes, pre-printed return labels on stickers and the list goes on ad infinitum.

Even those who are hanging in there with me on the physical mailed Holiday cards have gone to printing address labels. I envision their card labeling goes something like this.

  • Step 1 – Pour a glass of wine.
  • Step 2 – Mail merge a file with label layout
  • Step 3 – Top off the wine
  • Step 4 – Hit print.
  • Step 5 – Get a snack
  • Step 6 – Peel off labels and stick to envelope and put in mail. One bottle of wine and an hour at most. And voila – all done!

I, instead, design the card, have them printed and then proceed to hand label them all in my horrendous handwriting. I stress day after day about “getting them out”. I seem to hold a resentment over my whole family for them not being able to help me to hand address. It isn’t even that they are not willing. It’s that I am working off the same printed address list I used for my wedding 12+ years ago. There are additions, subtractions, retractions, name changes, front and back, arrows and some odd color coding system that I can’t even follow. Every year, I vow to change the process. Every year I do the same process. Every year I get so damn jealous of those who do not do it like this.

I know there is a person or two out there who appreciates my physical, mailed, hand addressed Christmas Card. I hope they noticed this year. Because it is the last. I swear. Never again. Probably. I think. Maybe. We will see.

Handwritten thank-you notes

I have been doing this bullshit since I was a kid. Thank-you note for everything no matter what. I have passed this torture on to my child. I get like 5 handwritten thank-you notes a year. They are my favorite things. I actually post them up on my wall and they make me smile. I love them and I’m so sad for this lost art. I have managed to somehow escape the TOTAL torture of this by passing it on my 10 year-old. She is forced to write them now and I figure, hey, if I can get an elementary school kid to sit at a table and hand write these cards, my thank you is “built in”. The torture is in me insisting Ella write them. To every single person. And she has to specify what the gift was and what she liked about it. None of this “thanks for the gift” bullshit. Not cool.

I know this is a good lesson for her in manners. I still send them when friends give me gifts, or do something kind and meaningful. They always make note on how I should not have, and don’t have to, but this is the one old-school thing I am not giving up and neither is Ella. I don’t care if she is 50. I will go to her house and make her write them. I used to get her the fill-in-the-blank kind and now she has to write the whole thing. Oh and address them all too (off that same dreadful address list I use for my Christmas Cards).

Gift-wrapped Christmas presents

I could probably get about 40 extra hours of sleep, or binge watch something meaningful like Shameless, if I would just give up wrapping gifts. I totally suck at it, and they do not even look nice. I waste way too much paper and I get mad. I could EASILY, just throw my gift into a gift bag with a few pieces of tissue on top and be done. I could have an assembly line with Ella. Insert gift, plop down tissue, place under tree. And those bags get reused like 60 million times.

Buuttttttt…. I simply can’t. Don’t know why. I just can’t. They take up a lot of space under the tree and isn’t part of the fun ripping opening the wrapping papers and throwing it all over the place? Again, I have no disrespect for people who do this. Once again, I am jealous of them.

I am constantly on a quest to simplify things, but there are some things I’m just not willing to compromise on and take the easy way out. Just can’t do it. Maybe someday. I know these are things I really should not give up. And that they are proper. Truthfully, I probably won’t. But I would be sort of proud if I did. Should I?

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