Listen - I had the best of intentions.
I think it was still November when I headed to the Big Box’s holiday cards section and spent 20 minutes poring over the vast selection, trying to decide which Dayspring message was most likely to spark inspiration in the hearts of the 30-some sent to my Christmas card list.
“Eh…too generic. Thomas Kinkade Way. Too heavy on Joyce Meyer quotes. Gah, my hands are covered in glitter! Now there’s a winner.”
I bought two boxes, just to be safe.
Strolling through the parking lot that November day, I felt pretty good and in charge of Christmas cards. I’d head straight home and pick a family photo out of the thousands that were sure to be in my virtual gallery, print it out in a one-hour photo at the corner pharmacy, hand-address the envelopes and be done at drive-thru pick-up! It was a foolproof plan.
Except I couldn’t find a picture of us all not being at Disney World eight months ago. So I decided to come back later, because it was still November, after all.
But then Thanksgiving came and went.
Then there was a disease.
Then there was The Frenzy aka Christmas Prep.
Even on Christmas Eve, I told myself I was going to get the cards out. I mean…did they even need a picture, really? As long as they’re postmarked by December 25th, I still look like a responsible human being, right? Besides, we still haven’t gotten our annual pass from college friends we haven’t seen since 2007, so I obviously wasn’t the only slacker.
But there was a polar vortex, and then we went on a post-holiday jaunt east, and then when we got back it was New Years and the blank Christmas cards were still sitting in a neat pile next to the gift cards and rolls of wrapping paper. Packed and sealed.
You know, I almost did it. I can save them for next year. Christmas cards don’t expire - people don’t check copyright dates (and if they do, they’re not on my list).
But at this point I was determined, and the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. By January, everyone is done with Christmas. They’ve taken down their decorations, thrown their paper in the trash and started Marie Kondo building their homes, which look stark and empty.
Outside it’s cold and gray and there are no holidays until Valentine’s Day, if that counts as a holiday. What better time to send someone a Christmas card — or any kind of card, for that matter — than when they have nothing to look forward to until spring?!
On January 5th—the eve of an Amish birthday, look it up—I wrote the letter I intended to include in the cards, along with a photo taken just days after Christmas of us all standing by a frozen waterfall in Connecticut. It was 60 degrees and I was in my husband’s winter coat and staring at the sun, but it involved all of us (except everyone’s feet), so that should suffice.
The message began: Dear Friends and Family, Happy New Year from Roys! We hope 2023 has treated you well so far, and now that you’ve put all your Christmas cards on your post-holiday cleaning spree, we thought we’d send another one your way, why? Because pre-Christmas cards are getting really old. Did you hear here first. (As we were busy.)
He proceeded to give updates on each family member—I won’t spoil it for you if you’re on the list—and I signed off with the generic “Cheers” because “Hope you have a merry Christmas” sounded so insincere.
It’s been almost a week since I wrote that letter. Shockingly, the cards are geared and ready to go. I was racking the nerve to go to the post office and pay the stamp bill.
I gave myself a deadline for Easter. We’ll see if I do that.
Abby Roy is a mother of three girls who make every day an adventure. She writes for her safety. You can probably reach her at [email protected], but responses are based on bedtimes and weekends.