Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas card slackers

Published in The Long Island Advance
December 21, 2006

Well, here it is, just a week away from Christmas and I have yet to write or send a card. Last year I was so much better organized and very excited that I found Christmas labels in Staples. I was able to go to the website listed on the package, download their label program and print out beautiful seasonal labels for my cards. And this year, unless a miracle happens the cards are not going to make it out of my house.

Back in October while walking through Macy’s, I began to wonder how we got into the habit of decorating for Christmas before Halloween had actually happened. Yes, it was the week before Halloween and Macy’s not only had the beginnings of Christmas decorations hung, they were lit too! In retrospect I should have gone home that very day and written out my Christmas cards. I could then have mailed them a few days after Thanksgiving and would not be sitting here, thinking and writing about them now.

I like sending Christmas cards. There are people who say, “Why send cards to people you never see?” Those are the people I like to send cards to the most. It’s this one, tenuous connection to others that may only happen once a year, but at least it happens. Writing out the cards gives me the opportunity to think back to all these people and remember what they mean to me. There’s my friend Cathy in Florida, who I worked with in the old Loft’s Candy Store on Main Street when I was in high school, or old friends of my parent’s who made it from their Christmas card list, to mine and who although I rarely, if ever see, remember with great fondness. I get to think about all of them, even if it’s only one time a year while writing out their Christmas card.

And this year I’m being a slacker. I have no idea how we went from September to December without my noticing it. Not only do I have the cards, the labels are printed and the stamps have been purchased and yet I have resigned myself to the fact that they’re not getting into the mail this year. In my old life I would have felt guilty for weeks about this, in my new one I’ve given myself permission not too.

My little 4’ Martha Stewart, pre-lit Christmas tree is decorated and sits in front of my bedroom window…with all the bags of Christmas gifts, still unwrapped and strewn around it. I have not baked one cookie or made one chocolate covered pretzel and the Gingerbread tree kit that I bought a few weeks back, is still in the box. I have yet to finish shopping, am not really sure what’s going to be on the menu for Christmas Eve dinner and have no idea what I’ll be wearing.

Here are the things I do know. I know the shopping will get finished, the presents will get wrapped, and we won’t suffer for lack of cookies or chocolate covered pretzels when we can go out and buy them. Between my mother and I, we’ll figure out what’s for Christmas Eve dinner and I’ll be able to pull something from my closet to wear, even if it’s a sweater with snowmen all over it. And, most importantly, the world will not end for my friends and family if they even realize that Susan did not send them a Christmas card this year.

In my head though, I’m drafting a New Year’s letter. Possibly it might say something like, “Happy New Year! During the time leading up to Christmas I was researching 17th-century witch trials in England and how they related to the play Vinegar Tom, by Caryl Churchill. Now that that part of my life is over and has been turned in, I can dig out my Christmas cards and get an early start for 2007.”

So, for this holiday season I’ll take a breath and wish you all a happy one. Be it Christmas, Hanukkah or any other celebration, enjoy, be well, have a safe and Happy New Year and for those who are like me, learn how not to sweat the small stuff all the time. I’m going to start practicing that soon, right after I get out the cards I want to start writing for next year.

No comments: