Holiday cards: To send or not?

Dec 14th, 2011 | By | Category: Life Style

This week it’s do or die for holiday cards.

Every year the internal debate sounds something like this: “I will; I won’t; I will; I won’t; I will embrace this traditional ritual and use it to reach out to old friends; I won’t take on the unnecessary burden and expense; I will because I love how the yearly picture tracks my girls’ amazing growth; I won’t because I’ll feel too stressed about it when I’m already at my breaking point; oh, give it up. I will, I will and I need to stop wasting time on this anxiety if I’m going to get them off in time.”

Maybe that’s just me.

Vice President Joe Biden’s family holiday card from 2010.
(Special To The Washington Post)
For anyone else even remotely conflicted about holiday cards — or New Year’s notes or family letters (which bring their own complex struggle of will-include and won’t-include) the deadline is upon us.

An excellent compilation of the travails of this process was compiled by Baltimore writer and blogger Abigail Green and has been making the rounds among parents on Facebook. With Green’s permission, I’m reprinting her post below:

“How to Overcomplicate Your Christmas Cards in 21 Easy Steps”

1.    Forget what an ordeal the whole thing was last year.

2.    Get a great photo of the kids, purely by accident.

3.    Realize the photo is on your husband’s cell phone, so have him send it to your e-mail, then download it to your computer.

4.    Realize the photo is perfect except that one child is sporting a temporary tattoo — on his face. Spend 40 min. Photoshopping Finn McMissile off his cheek.

5.    Congratulate yourself on buying a Groupon for the pricey, high-quality cards you covet every year. After doing the math, however, realize that even with the coupon, 50 cards – plus extra postage for square envelopes (WHY?!) – is going to be too expensive.

6.    Decide to do an A list and a B list. The fancy card will go to family and good friends (the A-list), the B-list card will use the same photo but will be slightly cheaper. Do most people really care about card stock, anyway?

7.    In going through your address list to sort out the A and B lists, realize several addresses are out of date and the mailing labels are all formatted wrong. Get your Excel-whiz sister-in-law to help you reformat them.

8.    Spend hours researching B-list card options, only to realize that you have champagne taste and a wine cooler budget. And none of the wine-cooler card designs are cutting it.

9.    Finally decide on a slightly less expensive card, then spend a couple more hours tweaking the layout and formatting because the cheapo card web sites don’t have good user interfaces and won’t let you preview the card or compare multiple designs.

10.    Get all the way through this process only to realize the cheapo card sites don’t let you save your work and come back to it. Argh!!

11.    Repeat step 9.

12.    Get all the way through the process AGAIN, only to get to the checkout page and discover a random $5 “upload fee” and that the basic (cheap) shipping takes 21 days! ARGH!!

13.    Go rant about the cheapo card site on Twitter.

14.    In a web search to find out if other people are disgruntled with the site or if it’s just you, discover a special offer from said site that includes 20 cards and free shipping. Score!

15.    Repeat step 9; get all the way to checkout page only to realize that the design you’ve chosen doesn’t qualify for the special offer.

16.    Repeat step 9. Place order. FINALLY.

17.    Receive fancy cards in the mail days later. Gorgeous!

18.    Receive not-quite-as-fancy cards in the mail weeks later. Not too bad!

19.    Go out of your way to go to the post office with the shortest lines, only to find it’s randomly closed in the middle of the day.

20.    Go to print out address labels, only to discover your printer ink is low.

21.    Bang head on table. Vow – once again – to skip sending out Christmas cards next year.

— From Abby Off The Record

Do you send cards? Why or why not?

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