Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The 13cm rule

1) Is it me, or are Christmas cards shrinking? This year I have received cards so small that I could barely make out the writing on them. They seem to have been made for and by tiny elves. I normally have three "levels" of Christmas cards, which are sent to people depending on how much I love them. So close family members get huge luxury cards, friends who I don't see much get smaller ones, and people from work get smaller ones still. But I have a limit. I won't send anyone a card that is less than 13cm in height and width. It's a passive-aggressive message of hatred. Or at least it is in my eyes. Why bother giving someone something if it's crap?

However, a small Christmas card pales in comparison to these other Christmas communication disgraces:

2) Not sending anyone a card but sending a mass email to everyone you know saying you have donated money to charity. That's just lazy and misses a crucial point about Christmas - which is about showing you care enough about someone to write a few words to them, lick a stamp and walk to a post office. Not acceptable.

3) Sending an e-card. I hate to break it to you but the 1990s are over. What might have appeared novel when done once, now just comes across as churlish and again LAZY. You can't hang an e-card on your mantlepiece. Sending them just makes you look cheap. Even cheaper than the "I've donated money to charity instead of sending you a card" person. So don't do it.

4) Sending a family newsletter. Arrrrrgh. This is the worst sin of Christmas. It basically says "I can't be bothered to acknolwedge you directly - so I'm going to send you the equivalent of Christmas junk mail - a mass produced missive to all my non-friends, just to let you know how far down in the friendship pecking order you have gone." If you hate someone so much that you can't even PRETEND to send them a personalised message, by cutting and pasting bits and pieces of a newsletter-type-email, and starting and ending it with a couple of paragraphs that have been crafted with an individual person in mind, then ask yourself - why are you contacting this person at all? Why not simply call it a day and delete them from your memory.

Because, in fact, family newsletters aren't really about showing that you care about someone at all. They are instead about boasting. One I recently received was almost like a parody of a family newsletter. It boasted about fabulous holidays spent with friends (all of whom probably got proper Christmas cards from the sender, and not an impersonal mass communication), amazing achievements (charity runs, grade 4 oboe - that sort of thing) and the amazing acheivements of their children (gifted of course and in the very best schools).

Christmas has gradually become degraded with negative qualities over the past few decades - commercialised, expensive, tacky, dragged out longer and longer, excessive. I am not religious at all, but the one thing about Christmas which I do appreciate is about being nice to people and showing them that you care. So send someone a proper card (13 centimeters!)


theguyliner said...

Haha I haven't been online for a while and so am catching up on your posts from the last month or so. You have been ON FIRE recently.

Paul Brownsey said...

If people are sending smaller cards, this may be because, above a certain size, you now have to pay Large Letter rate. A few years ago I was stuck with a lot of cards too big for the usaual second-class stamp, and while sending a proper card through the post may be the sign that you care, incurring Large Letter charges to show you care is going too far. So maybe people send little cards ro be on the safe side...

Re the dreaded circular letter: we once sent out a parody addressed to various people by name plus "all you other loners and saddos out there" and writing up my (fictional) conviction for indecent exposure and my partner's (fictional) penchant for stealing underwear off washing lines as enviable achievements and signs of our greater-than-anyone-else's happiness.

Anonymous said...

Was hooked by the title of this entry, then disappointed to find out it was about Christmas cards...