Oh Christmas Card, oh Christmas Card!

The light thump of letters landing in my porch is wonderful, but never more so than at Christmas (although it’s hard to beat the doorbell sound of a postman delivering a package!). It is lovely to receive any of them, but the ones that have a letter or a photo with them are ultra-lovely.

And handmade ones? They’re the best.

Yet every year it’s the same: mid November a Christmas card reminder pops into my head. It’s easy to push it aside, to focus on anything else. End of November the reminder pushes back in, but I push back, stronger. By early December I realise I can’t get away from it, so I pull out the tattered box with cards left from last year’s struggle, search out the stamps, my address book, and leave them all in a conspicuous stack somewhere.

Then commences the moving of the stack. It gets shifted when we set the table, sit at the breakfast bar, have a coffee. This goes on for several days.

And then, as deadlines zoom in, I weigh the decision: do I sit down and write and address them all, stamp and post, or do I leave it – perhaps donating a sum to charity in lieu – and risk that next year, there will be far less cards through the letterbox?

There have been a couple of card-sending-less years: that is how I know how silent next year’s letterbox would be. Mostly though, I sit down and write, always astonished at how scrawly my penmanship can be.

And here is the dilemma, I have realised: I cannot bear to send cards with a brief wish and our names (but I do that, though mostly for locals, who I will probably see and talk to over the season, or in the new year). I want to write more, tell a story, relate some of our news, give a picture of life here in Dublin. But there is not enough room, and the scrawl intensifies after only a few cards, and although I do love receiving them, I am just not comfortable with the newsletter thing (but I have done that too). And sometimes our news isn’t really very newsworthy, unless you’re my children’s grandparent.

Now that I know the source of my (okay, quite minimal) angst, I’m a bit easier at letting myself just scrawl a cheery note, and sign.

This year? Some are sent, and the stack is there, waiting for the Dublin ones to be signed and sealed.

Next year? I’m hoping for a cacophony in my letterbox.


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