HAPPY HOLIDAYS! HERE’S A PIECE OF CARDBOARD
PAUL SULLIVAN PONDERS WHY WE’RE STILL SENDING CHRISTMAS CARDS
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!