Thursday, 10 December 2009

Happy Christmas!

I like to think of myself as a cheery sort of person. Most of the time. In spite of wicked rumours circulating recently on some blogs and on twitter, I'm not a grump. Well, not much.

And I love, I adore and get 'excited-as-a-kid-in-spite-of-spending-hours-and-hours-in-the-bloody-kitchen' about.... Christmas. Love it. Really enjoy every minute of it. Ok, ok... I can do without the shops putting up the tinsel in September. In fact, I can do without the shops at all. If I haven't bought the majority of my Christmas presents well before December, then they'll probably not be getting bought at all. And I like choosing presents. I can never, ever decide what I would like. But I get enormous pleasure out of trying to surprise someone with something that they've really always wanted. Or something that they didn't know they wanted 'til I bought it. (Actually, giving something really inappropriate can be a good game too. As my sister will tell you. But that's another story.)

Both Sarah and I sing in various choirs, so we're pretty busy at this time of year. And I love Christmas carols; I can't get enough of them. I was in the Liverpool Phil for years, and they did about twenty carol concerts each December and I loved them all.

But....

But...

There is one Christmas tradition I can't abide.

There is one festive custom that I cannot understand. No, not the endless one-off 'Christmas Specials' that festoon the television screen. Nor even the ubiquitous repeats of films that nobody really enjoyed the first time round but which are 'safe' for viewing on the one day of the year when everyone - from mum, dad and the kids to the maiden aunt - will be sitting round the TV together. I can even, at a pinch, understand why workers spend extortionate amounts of money on second-rate food and overpriced booze in the name of office Christmas cheer.

What I can't understand is this: the giving of Christmas cards to people you see every day. Or even people you'll be seeing on Christmas Day (or at any time over the festive season). The handing over of a piece of paper telling them what you could just as easily tell them to their face. I simply don't get it; cannot see the point. Don't get me wrong. I send out cards to all those friends and rellies who live far away, and for some far-flung friends it's the only contact that there'll be all year. And it's none the worse for that.

But to people at work? Or in your street?

No.

Anyone to whom you can wish a 'Happy Christmas' in person is in no need of a card. Just don't forget to wish them 'Season's Greetings' face-to-face.

So, my blog-friends. here's a card to all of you...



Happy Christmas!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got several thousand cards to write and envelopes to address. I think I may be gone some time...

31 comments:

  1. Dot, I feel rather like you about presents and actively enjoy trying to find things for people that they might actually like or find amusing. And cards, I confess I rather like them, whoever they're from, and best when festooned on ones living room walls like a kitsch collage of Santas and robins and reindeer!

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  2. I don't 'get it' either. Thanks for the lovely Christmas card.

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  3. Years ago I was in the pub (between Nine Lessons & Carols and midnight mass, I hasten to add - thirsting after righteousness) when a fellow-singer brought out a box of Christmas cards, began writing them and giving them out there and then. It was almost like a book-signing! I've never been able to take card-giving seriously since then.

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  4. Cheers for the card - all the better for being eco-friendly. Me and the trees salute you!

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  5. Glad it's not just me DJ! I'm the only one I've ever met who feels that way...But as you say, Steve, it's the eco-friendly future. I have thought of sending e-cards in the past, but at present it just seems a step to far. So, it's on with envelope licking!

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  6. Lovely card :)

    We don't do cards, every year we say we will and ever year we don't opps.

    Actually every year my husband says we NEED to get them done and buys some , then tells me to write them which i never do and he gets annoyed . This year i have told him to do it himself.

    Just don't get it either

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  7. Love the picture of Boston Stump. That would do nicely for my Christmas cards too.
    On the card debate, I always say I will just send to people I won't see, but then get a card in the post from a local friend and my resolve wavers so the whole ridiculous circle continues. I may stick to my guns having read this today!

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  8. I totally agree with you, Tim. The problem is that the schools (at least the primary schools around here) encourage this X-mas cards writing. They even have a special mail box to "post" them. Another problem is that my neighbours would be offended if they don't get our Xmas card. (Yes, they are so old-fashioned and a little bit petty too!) I tend to send Xmas emails but not everybody is happy about it. I do not have problems with my Italian friends and family, though. Italians don't send Xmas cards, instead they phone people to wish them Merry Xmas. So, you're lucky I don't have your phone number! Ciao. A.

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  9. I'm so with you on that. I hate writing xmas cards and every year I say I'm not going to do it and donate to charity or something instead, and every year I find myself scribbling some out in return from what I have received.

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  10. Glad you think so, Laura. We don't seem to get snow like that any more. Maybe this year...

    I know what you mean, Trish. We usually end up doing the same. It becomes a matter of offence otherwise.

    Oh, schools... don't get me started Antonella. They're dreadful. As ever, the Italians have it off to a tee!

    Let's make a pledge, Ang - no Christmas cards and all the cash to charity! With me?

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  11. I am so so with you on this one, infact we baked cookies and took them to the school instead of cards. I think they are a waste of trees. MadDad sends round an e-mail at work and then donates to the NSPCC. I only send to the oldies in the family!!

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  12. Happy Crimble and a Gear New Year
    From us to you

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  13. Christmas Cards are on their way out. Several people I know are not sending them this year because they don't see the point of them. I on the other hand have spent the last 2 nights making mine! I'm a sucker for a bit of tradition...

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  14. For years we didn't send cards at all, but gave the money to charity instead. This year we have been drawn in to sending cards, but I still baulk at giving them to people I see. Even question sending one to my father and parents-in-law, whom we will see at some point (though they live far away).

    Thanks for your lovely picture though! Hope you have a very cheerful Christmas!

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  15. Shall I tell you what's worse than that? People at work who write out cards there at their desk and then hand them out. In full view for everyone to see. Full of Christmas thought that is!
    I think we should all hand out Christmas kisses and hugs instead
    Here's yours x

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  16. I don't feel at all Christmassy this year but nevertheless have still driven an hour each way to the expat shop to pick up some cards (and some mince pies but that's another story).

    As for the youtube clip you sent me - how come I'm the only commenter - couldn't you have found at least a relative to post a comment? You have a lovely voice and deserve at least three comments :)

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  17. I really like that idea, MH. In fact, I might follow suit... no Christmas cards, a cookie instead. Who could possibly object to that?

    Thanks, Mal. I suppose a snow-scene isn't what you're used to, but I did here the other day there was an iceberg heading for Oz... you have been warned!

    Thanks Catharine! This seems to be striking a chord with quite a few people today... I'm relieved, if I'm honest! No-one else I've spoken to seems bothered by it. Oh well...

    Aw, thanks Tara. And here's one back: x. Happy Christmas!

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  18. Not Tim, listen up. There are lots of positives about giving Christmas cards and I especially like giving them to people I don't see all year because they live too far away, and it's great to be remembered by them too. I also like getting them from the neighbours, creates a sense of community spirit that can be easily lost. We don't give them to family as there is no point, but it's a Christmas tradition I think should stay. Now don't be a Christmas card grump ;)

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  19. Some people I know print off address labels for their cards. I know it saves the chore of writing them by hand but it feels so impersonal (maybe they have an excel spreadsheet of card recipients!).
    I'm all for madhouse's cookie idea!
    Thanks for the pretty card x

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  20. How lovely to see the Stump. Am off to Boston this weekend but don't expect it'll be so picturesque or snowy...

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  21. You missed me and my earlier comment out, Tim - and I was nice (sulks)

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  22. You're too kind (as always) FF, and sorry I missed your earlier comment - I think I must've been writing my replies to the others when you posted. Anyway, Joyeaux Noel as they say over there!

    I like giving them to people I've not seen all year too, Rosie. I think that's what Christmas cards are for. As far as community spirit goes, well... you might have a point. I'll try not to be a grump.

    I've got a confession, Make do Mum... I print out address labels for our cards. My fingers couldn't cope with all that writing. Impersonal, I know.... but it's the only way they get done!

    Well, well LGF. And what brings you here? You ought to drop in for a cup of tea (or something stronger). We're often hosting bloggers parties here!

    It was, and I'm sorry FF!

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  23. Sending Christmas cards to neighbours is about the only contact we have with them. The last time that I saw one to speak to was about a month ago and that was only because they had taken a parcel in for us. Maybe it is because we live in the country.

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  24. Well CW, I'm all in favour of anything that promotes a bit of neighbourly contact. And living in the country, well... that's different. But you don't send Christmaas cards to cows and sheep do you?

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  25. What a great idea! This Christmas card thing is a big tradition in hubbys side fo the family. Whatever it takes I guess!

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  26. That's fabulous - and I'm right there with you. Not a Christmas Card written yet. I used to write about 160, but now it about a couple of dozen. Lovely photo BTW :-)

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  27. Not big on your side then, Susanna? What a very enlightened family!

    Thanks Karen!

    I did actually think of making a (real-life) Christmas card of the image.... but then thought greener of it...

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  28. Thank you for the Christmas card. I'm with you - I can't get enough Christmas concerts (when I'm well enough to sing!) Love your comment about inappropriate presents, I was this close (imagine finger and thumb close together) to buying my dad a copy of "Mr Grumpy" this year as he's turned into a grumpy old man - I may go back and get it!

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  29. a lovely card thank you :) and merry christmas xxx

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  30. No I don't send cards to cows and sheep but then they don't send them to me either!

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  31. Thank you for the Card - Merry Christmas!

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