Not 24 hours after penning my well reasoned treatise on some Yuletide traditions for which I caren't, I went to my mailbox and retreived not one, not two, but FOUR Christmas mass letters. Sadly, NOS's Christmas Pageant thing is tonight and therefore I will be deprived of the opportunity to give these the dinnertime dramatic reading they deserve.

Now, mind you, I am not angered nor am I offended by these. No, no, no...as Poppette might say...on the contrary, I derive much merriment therefrom. It is precisely to this admittedly less than innocent merriment that my beloved objects, with considerable vigor.

The source of this merriment, at least from the ones I receive, is the dull, plodding, so-this-is-Hell sort of Year In Review prose. Invariably, the multipage letter takes the reader on a perambulator ride from the late Mesozoic until yesterday noon, wherein Little Wilbur's special problem with marsupials and Little Mildred's arrest for embezzling other first graders are discussed in all their chronological order. We get recaps of every.single.event and, what's more, what everyone felt about every.single.event at every.moment.of.every.event.

There were also several photo cards of offspring looking very displeased in Seasonal Garb in what seemed to all concerned to be midsummer conditions. Perhaps I am alone in this and you, dearest Internet, receive photocards of children happy and smiling in woolens as the temperature drifts into teh snowy end of the thermometer.

Of course, I like seeing the pictures of my friends' kids just fine. "My, but Little Mildred is filling out that prison jumpsuit! Oh, how Little Wilbur has grown...what IS he doing to that wombat?" But when the photo becomes the card? I shake my head and "tsk" audibly. A grey area are those cards where you stick in the photo around some Christmas-ish border. They are not malum in se but they often fall apart in the execution.

Basically, my rule is that anything which smacks* of "This is such a bother...how little effort can I get away with?" is fair game. This is not to say that mass-producing one's Christmas sentiments is necessarily bad. I myself yield to no one in my capacity to mercilessly grind out the stuff. As discussed in my previous works, unless you are an A-List offline friend ::cough::Poppy::cough::, you've never gotten, nor are you likely to ever get, anything handwritten from me...let alone anything with an actual sincere sentiment expressed in writing; B-Listers are lucky to get a hand-signed something. (Although that may change next year, depending on how successful my scanner efforts prove.)

Poppy may well be right. Maybe actual cards DO suck and only stickshift and razor throwbacks such as Uncle Joke care. It certainly is easier to send cyber-cards, and in my book those have far broader margins of forgiveness. Maybe people do enjoy seeing their friends' children sweating like a polygraph subject in a sauna while wearing sweaters with reindeer and ski caps. I am resisting the temptation to scan and post these. We just got one with a 7 year old girl, whom we know well as a happy and healthy child, with an expression that can only be charitably called "a scowl."

Perhaps most everyone enjoys reading impersonal biographies that begin with the sender's double-helix and wrap up with "...and then I decided to mail this letter." If I were not concerned for my wife's feelings (or about her markspersonship) I'd write a parody of these and send it out. But I am a caring, loving human being with a heart. A heart that functions better without ordnance. So I don't.

But, rest assured that I am well-accustomed to being in the minority in holding these (and almost all other) views.


* Actual lack of effort is meaningless, it is perceived lack of effort which is well-nigh unforgivable.


shula said…
Bugger the heart, man.

Give us the parody.

Go on.
Stomper Girl said…
For me the best thing about Christmas cards is not the reading, it is the hanging them on the string across the kitchen as a form of decoration. And although one could do that by printing out the e-card, the likelihood of me ever actually doing so is tiny.

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