HAPPY HOL­I­DAYS! HERE’S A PIECE OF CARD­BOARD

PAUL SUL­LI­VAN PON­DERS WHY WE’RE STILL SEND­ING CHRIST­MAS CARDS

Metro Canada (Winnipeg) - - FRONT PAGE -

It’s that time of year again.

You know, when you think about send­ing Christ­mas cards to friends and loved ones, but as one Canada Post dead­line after another sails by, they stay in the box un­til next year, and they won’t get sent then, ei­ther.

I’m not ex­actly sure what keeps them in the box. There are plenty of rea­sons, even with­out in­er­tia. And in­er­tia’s good enough.

Some­one should start In­er­tia Anony­mous. But Christ­mas cards are hard work. First, you have to buy them, with all the de­ci­sions that im­plies.

Should they say Merry Christ­mas and of­fend friends who aren’t Christian, or Happy Hol­i­days and un­der­whelm ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the non- Chris­tians?

Should they be taste­ful or should you go all Thomas Kinkaid, opt­ing for fan­tasy frost and cozy kitsch and damn the tor­pe­does?

Should each pur­chase ben­e­fit the world’s chil­dren?

Should the cards be made of 100 per cent re- chewed pulp?

OK, we’ve got the cards. Now we have to find ac­tual ad­dresses that re­quire some­thing called “postal codes.”

Then we have to de­cide if we’re go­ing to sub­ject ev­ery­one to the an­nual State of Christ­mas ad­dress or just write a cheery greet­ing fol­lowed by the ap­pro­pri­ate num­ber of x’s and o’s. (Sign­ing XXXOOO on the bank man­ager’s card is ob­vi­ous and em­bar­rass­ing).

Un­less all three of your chil­dren gradu- ated this year from Har­vard Med­i­cal School, you’ll be hard- pressed to keep up with the com­pe­ti­tion, so it’s wise just to jot a thought­ful note, such as: “It’s been a long time since we got to­gether. Are you still alive?”

Once you’ve ad­dressed and writ­ten the cards, next come the stamps. If you’ve been out of the snail- mail slow lane for a while, you’re in for a shock: The price of stamps has gone up to a buck apiece.

This is a mil­lion per cent in­crease over last year, when it cost 63 cents. If you send out 20 cards, which you will do ac­cord­ing to a Canada Post poll, that’s $20 bucks for just be­ing thought­ful.

Of course, the dead­line for get­ting the cards de­liv­ered by Christ­mas ex­pired in

Oc­to­ber, which means you and your friends will be ex­chang­ing face- sav­ing Christ­mas cards well into April. It’s enough to make you give up and send images of creepy danc­ing elves to all your vir­tual ac­quain­tances via email, Face­book, Twit­ter, LinkedIn, In­sta­gram and var­i­ous other stress- in­duc­ing elec­tronic bom­bard­ments.

But de­spite all the non­sense that goes with the card­board ar­ti­facts, Bri­tons send a bil­lion a year, Americans 1.4 bil­lion.

And while that num­ber is down from 1.9 bil­lion in 2009, the gen­er­a­tion known as Mil­len­ni­als have shown a heart- warm­ing ten­dency to in­clude Christ­mas cards along with vinyl records, ro­bust fa­cial hair and ar­ti­sanal this or that in their quest for the lost authenticity of the an­cients. So I will per­se­vere. Start­ing with the box I bought in 2009, I pledge to send out cards in time for Christ­mas 2015. H0H 0H0!

PAUL SUL­LI­VAN

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