Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas cards go out today! (Finally.) Costco has the best deal on Christmas photo-cards, if you didn't notice, and we're gonna pick them up this morning and mail them out tonight, hoping with all our might that they reach their destinations before Christmas Eve, lest we suffer outright mortal shame. If you don't get yours, give it a week. If you still don't get yours, E-mail me your proper address, for crying out loud -I wasted a stamp!

BTW, this year's prize for First Christmas Card Received goes to the Harringtons of Oceanside, CA! Excellent work! They were expecting a child around Thanksgiving, and had the foresight to recognize that there would be no time in December for this foolishness.

I've always had mixed feelings about Christmas cards. There were the years I sent EVERYONE a card and then there were the years I sent NO ONE a card, followed by the years where I received none. Then there were the years I sent out "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings" cards, not wanting to offend anyone who didn't subscribe to any particular faith-based federally-recognized holiday. I can count the Hanukkah cards I've received on one hand, and I don't think they were sent to me from Jewish people.

For a few years, I sent out Christmas E-mails. Boy, that was lame. My sister really chided me for it, as she had nothing to hang on The Wall.

Now that I'm older, (and though not exactly wiser I am less stupdi) I really enjoy getting the cards. Most people I know have a Wall, or at least a Door or a Mantle or a Someplace to put all the cards they receive. I have one, too, and I love it. I especially enjoy seeing all the families and their kids and pets and seeing how much they've grown. Everyone picks a photo that they think is their family looking its best, or at least typifies their family sensibility. Last year, our Christmas card was a pic of us in our Halloween costumes, looking our best.

Checking out our own wall, I've noticed that there are a number of pics without the parents -just kids. We considered sending one with just the Little Ditchman looking super-cute, but when we received so many sans the other folks we love hearing from, we decided against it. I'm not sure why people choose to leave themselves out of the picture. It may be that they just couldn't find a good photo of everyone, or that their family is so big it's impossible to flip the shutter when everyone is smiling at the same time. "Ah, 2005! Yes, I remember that year! It was the one where we were all diagnosed with clinical depression because of that awful neck rash -medical costs forcing us to wear dated fashions... Little Billy looked great though!"

I've also noticed that fewer cards are going the politically-correct "Happy Holidays" route, and that there are more "Merry Christmas"s this year. Political Correctness seems to be losing the battle recently, having overplayed its hand. I've never really understood it. Are there people who are actually offended upon receiving a holiday salutation from someone of a different faith? If you wish someone a happy Your-Religious-Holiday-Here, are you not wishing them well? If a Buddhist wished me a "Happy Buddha Day" I would love it!

"Buddha Day" or "Visakah Puja" is traditionally Buddha's birthday. The holiday celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha on the same day, the first full moon day in May (except in a leap year when it is celebrated in June).

I would say "Merry Christmas" to this Buddhist, and I'm sure he would love it.

Then again, the Jehovah's Witnesses came by my house yesterday offering me a copy of The Watchtower. I turned them down and unwittingly wished them a "Merry Christmas!" They didn't exactly break out into "O Come All Ye Faithful".

If you're not a Christian and yet you celebrate Christmas and send out Christmas cards that say "Happy Holidays", that's cool. But since when is it poor form to express your own faith on your own religious holiday? I'm referring to Barbara Walters, of course, who got all in a lather about the president again.

Anyway, in our family we love getting the pictures, whoever is in them, whatever they're celebrating. It's nice to see that you're not the only one enduring time's wear, and it's good to see those with whom you've lost touch. I save them all in a nice red velvet Christmas box and pack it away with the Christmas stuff. I put it on the table and flip through the box once a year. I guess it's not so foolish after all.

The cards I chuck.